Their work this Christmas season resulted in the placement of brightly-lit Christmas trees in both the sanctuary and the lobby, wreaths on the walls, a bough of ribbon-wrapped greenery behind the pulpit and an Advent candle wreath in front of it, and Nativity scenes.
"I have been helping with the decorating at First Baptist for quite some time, and I really enjoy doing it," she said.
But Rich's church isn't the only beneficiary of her Christmas decorating skills. She has done Christmas decorations for even bigger structures.
An employee of a Lexington interior design company, Rich decorated the 15-foot tall Christmas tree erected at Triangle Park in Lexington's Triangle Park Center. She also decorated three floors of Lexington's PNC Bank.
Carrying on a tradition
"I am not an interior designer but I do dabble in interior designing, mostly floral projects," she said. Rich also does smaller decorating projects, such as her Danville home.
"I think the reason I enjoy decorating things is because it involves not just creativity but using your hands to make things," she said. "I grew up poor and humble and we learned at a very young age to make things ourselves."
Rich may not know it but she is carrying on a tradition that dates back hundreds of years to when Christmas decorating first started.
According to the Happy Christmas Web site and magazine, which focuses on the history of Christmas decorating as well as current trends, Yuletide decorating predates the mid- and late-19th century, the period that many people cite as its beginning.
According to an article posted this month on the Happy Christmas Web site, some mistakenly believe that it was the Victorians who established the Christmas celebrations that we enjoy today. "It is true that the Victorians loved Christmas and all its fripperies but most of the traditional celebrations predate this period. We can be thankful for the Victorians introducing the Christmas card, however," wrote Christopher Brown, editor of Happy Christmas Web site.
Meanwhile, the Christmas tree predates the Christian festivities of Christmas, and references can be found to it in the Roman celebrations of Saturnalia where a pine tree was hung with little masks of Bacchus, the article says.
"We cannot be sure when the Christmas tree became associated with Christian celebration, but there are traditions of Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church and the Protestant Movement, that make the Christmas tree part of the Churches celebrations," wrote Brown.
No matter what the history of Christmas decorating is, Polly Rich is happy to be part of it.
"I love decorating the Christmas trees, and I also enjoying turning a few branches of greenery into a beautiful Christmas decoration with some ribbon and a few ornaments," she said.
And Rich said she especially likes decorating her own church.
"Christmas is about giving, and I see my decorating at First Baptist as a way of giving back to a church that has given so much to me," she said.