There is no keeping up with these Joneses when it comes to Christmas

Versailles couple erect 14 trees, including one in garage

mmeehan1@herald-leader.comDecember 6, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    Woodford County Woman's Club 2013 Holiday Homes Tour

    What: Annual tour of homes featuring three historic homes built from 1790 to 1810 and three modern homes decorated for the season. Music and refreshments throughout the day.

    When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 14

    Tickets: $15. Available through Dec. 13 at the following retailers in Versailles: Olde Towne Antiques/Baskets From the Bluegrass, Marketplace on Main, Cornerstone Pharmacy, Five Seasons Gift Gallery and MacDougal's Nursery. Also at Historic Midway Museum Store in Midway and Artique-Lexington Green and Two Chicks & Co. in Lexington. Tickets available day of the tour starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Little House, 247 Lexington St., Versailles. No credit or debit cards accepted. Proceeds benefit Coats and Shoes for Woodford County School Children, the club's scholarship fund and other projects supported by the club.

    Learn more: Linda Gudgel Finnell, (859) 873-8543 or (859) 552-3175, or Woodfordcountywomansclub.org.

WOODFORD COUNTY — Some people are Christmas traditionalists: The tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving and comes down New Year's Day. Ricky and Kathy Jones are not those people.

Christmas extremists. That might be the more appropriate term for the Joneses.

Their Christmas trees — 14 of them, including a Corvette-themed one in the garage — go up in their huge Woodford County home starting Oct. 1. The displays generally stay up through February.

When the couple built their home, electrical outlets for specific trees were included in the specs.

"You are those people," the electrician told them. Apparently "Christmas plugs" are a known thing in some circles.

Their daughter has been known to call to see whether she could borrow a spare tree. This year, she has called three times. The answer was always yes.

When Ricky met Kathy at a Henry County pageant — she was a contestant; he played the organ for the festivities — he didn't know of her seasonal obsession.

That first year, Kathy pulled out all her Christmas stuff.

"He didn't say no," she said, laughing. Thirty-one years later, she said, "It's kind of grown on him."

And how.

Every room in the Joneses' 7,600-square-foot, tri-level home is adorned for the holidays. Considering the house's over-the-top Christmasness, it should surprise no one that the home is one of six stops on the Woodford County Woman's Club's 2013 Holiday Homes Tour on Dec. 14.

Ricky likes to chide Kathy for what he cheerfully calls "her Christmas crap," but he is awfully invested in the décor. Twelve years ago, he walked into a florist shop and saw a stunning, rotating tree thick with red roses.

"I told them to box it up, that I had to have it," he said.

The glass snowmen with the distinctive teal band on their hats? His purchase.

"I saw them in a Cracker Barrel in Corbin, and I haven't seen them anywhere since," he said.

He also says with some pride that he can rig an entire mini-Christmas village in such a way that not a wire is showing.

It is true that Kathy sets the tone and does most of the decorating of the trees, a process that is spread out over several weeks.

Most of the Joneses' trees are themed by color and match the hues of the home's décor. Kathy is helped in decorating by Bel-Air Florist in Versailles, which supplies bows and gives suggestions for adding new touches to old trees. For instance, this year, burlap-like ribbons were added to what Kathy calls the Keeneland Tree.

In the living room, there is a tree decked out in tangerine. Upstairs in a hallway, a tree decorated in mauve sits just a few feet from two other trees, one with black and red décor and the other in shades of green and brown.

As for themes, in the kitchen there is an explosion of white and pink and red swirling suckers and what looks like hydrangeas made of red-striped hard candy. Downstairs there are two games-themed trees featuring billiard balls, playing cards and dice. Gambling-themed ornaments, Kathy said, are difficult to find.

That leads to a few lessons learned over the years.

"If you love something, buy extra," Kathy said, "because chances are you are going to break it or you are never going to find it again."

Plus, label, label, label when putting things away to make it easier to re-create the magic the next year.

Finally, it is worth the investment to put clicker switches on various electrical accessories so you aren't constantly plugging and unplugging things (even if you do have easy access to certain Christmas plugs.)

The decorating duo, who own Kentucky Turf Professionals, search all over for Christmas finds. Their most memorable expedition ended in a place called The Pig Barn, a kind of peddler's mall where a gentleman was selling ceramic Nativity scenes in a variety of colors. They bought a pink one.

The yellow ornaments on the garage tree nicely match the his-and-hers Corvettes that reside there. (That tree, by the way, was put up after Kathy's mom noticed the garage window was the only one in the house without Christmas decorations visible from the outside. Couldn't have that.)

Of course, every shelf and nook are adorned with Christmas-themed knickknacks; festive glasses and plates fill cabinets for the season, and some special holiday artwork adorns the walls. But Kathy said she is careful not to go too far. For now, she has all the decorations she can handle.

Kathy said her love of the holidays might spring from being born near the Kentucky town of Bethlehem. Each year as a child she was a part of the town's living Nativity, sometimes playing an angel, sometimes helping to tend the cattle all lowing.

Her mother, she said, is a an enthusiastic decorator, as is her daughter. So it could be genetics at work.

Truthfully, Kathy said, the decorations make her happy and sharing them gives her joy.

The Joneses swear that with the coming arrival of their first grandchild, next year's Christmas décor might be more scaled back. Or, maybe, it's an excuse for tree No. 15: Baby's First Christmas.


IF YOU GO

Woodford County Woman's Club 2013 Holiday Homes Tour

What: Annual tour of homes featuring three historic homes built from 1790 to 1810 and three modern homes decorated for the season. Music and refreshments throughout the day.

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 14

Tickets: $15. Available through Dec. 13 at the following retailers in Versailles: Olde Towne Antiques/Baskets From the Bluegrass, Marketplace on Main, Cornerstone Pharmacy, Five Seasons Gift Gallery and MacDougal's Nursery. Also at Historic Midway Museum Store in Midway and Artique-Lexington Green and Two Chicks & Co. in Lexington. Tickets available day of the tour starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Little House, 247 Lexington St., Versailles. No credit or debit cards accepted. Proceeds benefit Coats and Shoes for Woodford County School Children, the club's scholarship fund and other projects supported by the club.

Learn more: Linda Gudgel Finnell, (859) 873-8543 or (859) 552-3175, or Woodfordcountywomansclub.org.

Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: Bluegrassmoms.com.

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