Page 159 - South Mississippi Living - December, 2023
P. 159

 Each exterior window sports a green wreath with a red bow while the red front door is accented with a garland of red and green and a wreath. Sparkling white lights grace the shrubbery and the ground around a huge Live Oak tree.
“We add to our collection of decorations each year. We work around our home's antiques – John is the expert – and likes to have four Christmas trees; three are thin faux trees and one is live.” says Carolyn Miller. “We always
go to Gartman Tree farm to choose and tag a tree. We like the family and they've been part of our Christmas for many years.”
The first of the four trees is bedecked with red and green ornaments and ribbon as it greets visitors in the entrance hall where the stair banister echos the same red-and-green theme. A large nutcracker stands at attention.
A full, nine-foot tree, a Carolina sapphire, is the living room's focal point and is resplendent with treasured family ornaments, red balls and bows, and lots of twinkling lights. Tucked here and there are small elves, snowmen and Santa. The white mantel matches the tree with its beautiful décor.
“This is my favorite room, and I love Christmas,” says John Miller, a retired dermatologist. He explains that most of the Victorian-era furniture with dark wood and intricate carving was made in the 1840s. A special piece is the Steinway grand piano which his mother, a piano teacher, went to the Steinway warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, to choose. It was autographed by the last living Steinway family relative. It's topped with a trio of small gold trees and greenery for a festive touch.
“We started our nutcracker collection 15 years ago and it just keeps growing,” Miller said. The living room and family rooms' mantles are
real standouts with greenery, bows and an array of nutcrackers from the collection. Others are displayed around all the rooms. Santas and snowmen also figure into the cheerful holiday décor.
The dining room with its table set with Christmas china has a plump, jolly Santa sitting on an antique sideboard. Other whimsical touches include red flowers, twigs and snowmen. Two unusual lamps were once gas lamps that were wired for modern use. Carolyn Miller calls them Gone with the Wind lamps for their style.
Another jolly ole elf of a Santa – this time with his little dog beside him – reigns in the family room where red walls are perfect for holiday decorations. He's joined by another lovely Christmas tree.
In the kitchen, nutcrackers and snowmen posing as chefs sit among greenery and candles to brighten the days leading up to cooking the holiday meal.
The couple's son, John Michael, 22, will join in the family's holiday celebration.
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