Homes of Christmases Past

The holiday season is all about nostalgia—from that ornament you can’t wait to unwrap to the highly anticipated dish your grandmother makes year after year.

The holiday season is all about nostalgia—from that ornament you can’t wait to unwrap to the highly anticipated dish your grandmother makes year after year. So, we couldn’t help but look back and reminisce here in our Home department as well. We are walking you through the Lynchburg Living holiday homes featured over the past five years. Enjoy taking a peek inside these festive abodes—and you may get a few ideas for yourself too!

A Cozy, Cottage Christmas

Laura and Woody Watts purchased what they have dubbed the “Summerville Cottage” in 2014. Since then, Laura—with lots of elbow grease from Woody—has slowly transformed the 1930s home into a French-inspired cottage with Southern farmhouse charm.

The Watts love all holidays (especially Halloween, that’s their anniversary), but decorating for Christmas is also high on Laura’s list. Her main goal is to reflect the joy of the season. As she told Lynchburg Living writer Jennifer Redmond: “I want to reflect calm but Christmas spirit, too.”

What We Loved:
While we all have a special place in our hearts for the traditional red-and-green color combo, Laura anchored her holiday décor theme in an elegant duo of blush and ivory. She added visual interest with texture and layering.

What You Should Try:
Don’t be afraid to break up a collection. Laura sprinkled various nativity pieces and vintage ceramic churches, originally owned by her grandparents, throughout their home.

The Christmas Elf’s Colorful Colonial

Carter Bendall’s intense interest in holiday décor dates back to her childhood, when her mother—the owner of a flower and gift shop—would take her to market in Atlanta to pick out ornaments. “From about third grade on, I did all of our Christmas decorations in our house … and I just loved it,” she told Lynchburg Living writer Charlotte Farley.

Now, not only does Carter fully decorate the home she shares with her husband Richard and daughter Lawson, she also enjoys being “The Christmas Elf” and helps others decorate their homes as well.

What You Should Try:
There is a place for tradition. You’ll notice a pause from the bright colors in the home’s den, which features a large green tree with gold accents and a nutcracker collection. Since the space is where the family spends a lot of time, it’s a more calming color palette. It’s also “where Santa comes,” Carter explained.

What We Loved:
The Bendall home is the perfect example of vintage meets modern. The bright colors—from hot pink to tangerine and everything in between—are layered onto antique furniture.

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Rachel and Wayne Beeler’s sprawling Georgian Colonial on Thomas Jefferson Road is a head turner anytime of the year—but at Christmastime, the brick manor with its wall-to-wall festive décor steals the show. “I love to help other people feel happy—that’s one of the reasons that I do all of this every year,” Rachel explained to Lynchburg Living writer Charlotte Farley.

The Beelers have come a long way since their first Christmas as a married couple more than 50 years ago. They celebrated in Oregon, where Wayne was in the Air Force. Rachel recalls a small tree on a table as their only decoration but said, “the truth was that we were as happy as could be with our little tree and just being together.”

What We Loved:
The Beelers truly love to share their Christmas spirit with others. In past years, they have invited church groups or women’s clubs to tour the home. Tours concluded with refreshments in a banquet room that seats 32 people.

What You Should Try:
No room is overlooked in the Beeler house. While it’s typical to focus on decorations in the main living area, consider adding some festive touches to a bedroom or bathroom.

A Dickens of a Christmas

Located on Madison Street in Lynchburg’s Garland Hill Historic District, “The Wilson House” is a glimpse into what the Christmas season may have looked like in the late 19th century. Bobbi and Randy Hurst bought the home in 2004. “We hadn’t thought of moving here until we fell in love with the house…” Bobbi told Lynchburg Living writer Heather Cravens.

While their initial focus was making the home livable (such as installing heat and air conditioning), they were eventually able to focus more on the home’s aesthetics—especially around Christmastime. Bobbi strives for period-appropriate décor as much as possible, so you won’t see the Hursts decorating before Thanksgiving, to make sure their
natural greenery won’t dry out before Christmas Day.

What We Loved:
Ribbons and bows were very popular during the Victorian era, and Bobbi makes sure they are prominent inside her historic home.

What You Should Try:
You don’t necessarily have to go all in or all out with natural greenery. Bobbi likes to add live greenery and boughs to her synthetic Christmas trees and garlands.

Oh Christmas Trees!

The holiday celebration usually begins in September in the Donovan household—that’s how much time they need to unpack 97 trees, hundreds of ornaments, and much more. “I’ve always been a Christmas fanatic,” Thomas Donovan said to Lynchburg Living writer Heather Cravens. “As an adult, understanding the true meaning of Christmas has only increased my passion for it.”

Thomas is actually the main Christmas enthusiast in their home, although his wife of 14 years, Sundi, is fully supportive of his passion. In years past, they have opened their home to invitation-only tours throughout the holidays.

What We Loved:
Each of the family’s Christmas trees tells a story—including “The Watson Tree,” named after one of Thomas’s former students at Liberty Christian Academy who raised peacocks.

What You Should Try:
If you have the room for multiple trees, try flipping one upside down. This Christmas tradition, known as God’s Trinity Tree, dates back to the 12th century. (The upside down tree is also very functional in small spaces!)


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