I knew my next door neighbors decorated well for Christmas, but I had no idea how well until I walked in their front door.
From the moment one walks into the entry of this lovely Garden Home, the spirit of Christmas and family invades one's senses.
There are actually two combined themes in the long-collected decorations.
Both Bob and Bernie collected Hallmark ornaments and nativity scenes even before their marriage a few years ago. Now, these collections are combined beautifully to tell the story of family history and tradition. They are rearing Bernie's pre-teen twin granddaughters, Katelin and Taylor and truly teaching them the meaning of Christmas.
On the entry table is the first of Bernie's many nativity scenes. It is a collection of Jim Shore nativity figures and sets the stage for the rest of the house.
Just to the left inside the dining room is the first of many Christmas trees.
This is the most unique tree I have ever seen.
It is a revolving Family Tree holding pictures of five generations on both sides of the family. Bernie told me the girls enjoy this tree the most.
Interspersed among the pictures are Hallmark ornaments that have special family significance.
There are Hallmark collectables throughout the home such as this grouping in the dining room.
The centerpiece on the dining table is a small nativity scene that Bernie purchased many years ago.
There is Hallmark Christmas even in the kitchen.
Bernie proudly showed me her special Spode Tree made up of actual pieces of Spode china ornaments that she continues to collect along with her latest interest, lighthouses.
In the living room, beginning with the piano which Taylor and Katelin played beautifully for me, are musical collectables.
Atop the hutch is only a portion of their complete Hallmark Heritage Village.
On a side table, is a picture of Bernie and her older sister with one of their childhood Christmas Trees that they lovingly call their "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" and beside it is a gift from a friend reminiscent of that tree. I could relate to this as many of my childhood trees resembled Charlie Brown's as well.
And this is the Charlie Brown Collectable ornament.
The music theme continues on the coffee table with two very different but beautiful music boxes.
The mantel above a roaring fire features the largest and oldest nativity scene in the home.
Bernie explained to me that when she was pregnant with her daughter (who is now 43) and unable to purchase many Christmas presents, she made this nativity for her mother-in-law. At her death, Bernie's father-in-law returned it to her and it has had a prominent place in her home ever since.
The main feature in the living room is of course Bob's huge rotating Hallmark Tree. It is laden with ornaments that date back 34 years when his daughter was born and he has continued to collect new editions. Many are musical and/or animated. There are extensive collections of Santas, snow bears, elves, and many others.
Bob started decorating his tree at Thanksgiving and I can understand why.
In the hallway below childhood confirmation pictures of Bob and Bernie is a collection series of Musical Snowmen. I was amazed at the beautiful and true sounds from these "instruments".
Inside the master bedroom is Bernie's beautiful Seraphim Angel Nativity.
From the kitchen
to the bathrooms
there is the feeling of Christmas.
But, the girls could not wait to show me their rooms.
On this dresser amidst another from Bernie's collection of nativity sets is a singing angel that when activated will start other singing angels in other rooms.
What lovely Christmas sounds emanating throughout this home.
Taylor and Katelin proudly showed off their collectable Hallmark ornaments on their personal tree.
Every morning, one of the girls moves the countdown marker leading up to Christmas. What a great way to start their day.
And of course, they have their own early childhood nativity collectables.
These adorable twins were featured on a local magazine cover several years ago. They are not only pretty, talented, and polite young ladies, but very smart and involved in their Magnet School.
Thank you Dr. Bob and Bernie,
Katelin and Taylor for allowing me to share your wonderful Christmas Hallmark wonderland of family, music and tradition.