A forest of Christmas decor

Anderson couple’s eight trees, other decorations come home for holidays.

Article-20 A forest of Christmas decor

ANDERSON — It’s not hard for visitors to guess that Christmas is Vonnie and Jim Scott’s favorite holiday.

Every room in their charming north Anderson home includes a festive touch, from a delicate crystal Nativity set and a Dickens village to heirloom treasures passed down from previous generations.

As part of the design team at Open Gate Design & Décor, the pair often spends much of the early holiday season decorating the homes of other people with their son Eric, who owns Open Gate.

“That’s why we start decorating our house at the end of October,” Vonnie said. “I want to enjoy it. When I come home from decorating somebody else’s home, I want to enjoy mine all decorated.”

While Jim spent 42 years as the choral music teacher at Pendleton Heights Middle School, Vonnie has been involved in the gift and decorating business most of her working life. Her parents owned the Readmore store (which they later renamed The All Occasion Shoppe), a former gift shop on Meridian Street. She has also worked for Moneyhun’s Fine Gifts and Gaither Family Resources.

“Decorating has really been my life,” she explained.

Her vast experience is showcased during the Christmas season as the Scotts display eight Christmas trees of various themes and sizes in their ranch-style home.

As visitors enter the home, they’re greeted by an elegant tree decorated with gold tassels and burgundy ornament balls.

“We don’t have a lot of room, so we use the taller and the slim line,” Vonnie said. “And instead of a tree skirt, I just buy fabric and put it around the base.”

Another full-size tree in the dining room is loaded with Christopher Radko ornaments.

“This is our heirloom tree,” Vonnie said. “Every year for Christmas we get one or two new Radko ornaments, usually as gifts.”

In the family room, a 2-foot tall Dickens-themed Christmas tree features character ornaments from A Christmas Carol.”

“That tree stays up year-round, but it changes themes for each holiday: Valentine’s Day, Easter, patriotic, fall and Christmas,” Jim said.

In addition to decorations, Christmas at the Scott home is filled with a variety of traditions.

“The Candle that Could” is one of their most beloved traditions.

“As we sit down at dinner, we light the candles together, and the one that goes out last gets an extra gift,” Vonnie explained. “Our daughter-in-law named it “the candle that could,” because she won the first year. And she said, ‘Mine was the candle that could!’”

Another fun tradition is putting out the “nissen men,” which are tiny elf-like creatures hand made by Vonnie.

“We have 30 of them,” she said. “They come out on Dec. 1, and you have to put them away on Dec. 31, or you might have bad luck the next year.”

“And we have to count them all,” Jim added with a laugh. “We have people come over, and they’ll move them on us and we can’t find them. So we search and search. It’s those traditions that just make life so fun.”

Each Christmas, Vonnie also bakes a date-filled sugar cookie from a recipe handed down to her by her grandmother. More than her many decorations, she treasures these family traditions and has enjoyed sharing them with the couple’s two sons and now their two grandchildren.

“Christmas is a time of memories and things that are special in your heart,” she said. “It’s a time to give thanks — even if you’ve had some hard times. Life’s too short to not enjoy the special things.”

[Source; The Herald Bulletin]