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Couple shares joy with holiday tradition


November 30, 2017

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It is that time of year when the patter of little feet can be heard dancing around the Christmas tree.  All ornaments are hung with a feeling of sentiment, and the smell of fresh pine awakens the senses.  For some, Christmas brings an abundance of joy and laughter to the home.  It is the season for carrying out lifelong traditions, like giving a kiss under the mistletoe or getting a big lump of coal.  For Sylvia and Leroy Polk, Christmas is a way to spread cheer and a little light —or in their case — a lot of light to those around them.  

For more than two decades, the Polks have been decorating in a big way for the holidays.  Each year, after three weeks of preparation and tedious work, the Polks transform their home into a shiny display of red and white lights.  The colorful layout is controlled by three main units, and it stretches from the top to the bottom of their fence, wraps around the house, layers the bushes and even hangs from the porch.  Little drummer boys rest along the fence and candy canes are placed sparingly around their yard.  Poinsettias line the sidewalk and lead to a sign on the garage that reads: “The North Pole Washateria - We suds’ Santa’s Duds.”  Hanging neatly beside the sign are pieces of a red suit, washed up and ready for Santa to wear.

 “We just love this holiday and we know the reason for the season so we enjoy celebrating together.  We try to have a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve in the yard by the road.  I do punch, hot apple cider and cookies.  Guests are welcome to get out and celebrate by looking around.  We hand them refreshments from our party while they visit,” Sylvia said.

 As viewers marvel at the dazzling lights and intricate details outside, the spirit of Christmas dwells inside of the home, as well.  While the rooms are decked out with nutcrackers and carousels, one of the main attractions for the family is the menu.  When Sylvia cooks, she uses two main ingredients that are found in most downhome southern dishes: comfort and soul.  She says she likes to challenge herself with tasty hors d’oeuvres like cocktail sausages, stuffed mushrooms, seafood dips and fruit trays.

All corners of the Polks’ home are touched by the holiday, and each year they try to add something unique to their arrangement.  

“I’d say 75 percent of our stuff that’s really big, we made it ourselves,” Leroy explained.  

Something that draws a lot of attention is the church on display, which was crafted by hand.  The foundation is brick with a plywood structure, and the windows are made from recycled chandelier glass.  

“Outside of the church we have little toy cars parked.  Leading up to the doors are stepping stones, and inside we have the congregation sitting on pews.  We have a senior choir and a junior choir,” he continued.  

The magic happens at night, when the sanctuary is lit up and the PA system is streaming Christmas music.  It’s as if an actual worship service is happening inside of a knee high church.  It is one of the first displays people flock to when they stop by for a visit.

“Little kids will run up and down the street and they’ll stop right in front of the church outside our house, their eyes lit up, steadily talking about the lights and sounds coming from the yard.  We love the reaction from that,” Leroy said.

Having recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary, decorating for Christmas is a hobby and tradition that has brought the couple closer together.  Their secret to a long lasting marriage?  Commitment.  What better way to show that commitment than by patiently unraveling a few hundred strands of lights and turning their home into a winter wonderland?  


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