Holiday displays and time with Santa brighten winter days

December 22, 2003|EMILY TOADVINE

The days are shorter, but that leaves more time for lighting up the night. From inflatable snowmen and polar bears to nativity scenes, this area does not lack in holiday spirit.

Some of the displays are time-honored traditions, but some are making their debut. A wooden nativity scene painted white, on U.S. 27 near Bryantsville, is the work of four families in Bryantsville United Methodist Church. They used spotlights to illuminate their hard work for the many commuters who drive that road.

"We just wanted to share with people passing by what this season is all about. The season is so hectic, we wanted to help them focus a little bit on the reason for the season," says Darren Gillespie, who has been minister at the church for four years.

An outreach committee asked members to make the display. Those who worked on it were: Chris and April Beard, Bob and Carmen Miniard, Carl and Barbara Gross, Ben and Leanne Herzog.


Gillespie's wife, Paula, thinks it turned out great.

"I think it's beautiful. I think it's awesome that we had the talent in the church that we could get it made," she says of the church, which averages 130 people.

At the home of Rosemary and Marcus Underwood on Chenault Bridge Road, Santa and all his reindeer, including Rudolph, have landed on the yard. Blue lights are strung around the windows and door. Candy canes line the entrance to the home and an angel hangs from a tree.

Rosemary Underwood says her son, Darrell, has taken care of the decorating for about 10 years. The Underwoods started at least 21 years ago, according to a granddaughter who was visiting.

"Since before me," says her granddaughter, Kayla Curtis, who is 21.

Underwood says she does it because she loves Christmas, but the decorations appeal to many.

"Of course, I baby-sit and that adds to it," says Underwood, who watches three preschoolers. "They go out and ride the reindeer."

The children have plenty to investigate, as Mrs. Underwood's brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Judy, live next-door and also have a display.

Gary and Christel Belcher of Mason Avenue haven't been decorating as long as the Underwoods, but they have a lot of spirit.

Mrs. Belcher credits her husband and son, Allen, 17, with doing most of the work, but she knows their zeal draws some kidding from others.

We try to add something new every year. This year's addition is an 8-foot Scooby Doo and Santa Claus and reindeer. Santa is like hanging off the house like he slid off the house. My daughter painted those," says Mrs. Belcher of her daughter, Jessica, who attends Campbellsville University.

"We get Christmas cards to the Griswolds and the Buzzwolds at Mason Avenue. My husband's nickname is Buzz, so they take 'Gris' out and put 'Buzz' in."

Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas if there weren't a few sightings of Santa. One of the places he usually can be found is at the Forkland Community Center's Twilight Christmas. This year, snowy weather kept most of the crowd at home, so the few children attending had ample time in Santa's lap.

After telling of his desire for a race car bed, 6-year-old Logan Walls of Junction City settled in. "What do reindeer like to eat?" and "Why does Santa come down the chimney?" were two of his quandaries. Later, he did decide asking for a trampoline wouldn't hurt.

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