Just off Turner Chapel Road, there’s a house in which there is certainly no shortage of Christmas spirit.
Robert and Susan Coley’s home is full of years and years of Christmas collecting. Each room has been meticulously decorated with attention to even the tiniest detail. There’s no place in the house where Christmas isn’t evident.
“We decorate for every season,” said Susan, who is a retired teacher, having taught at several local schools including Model, McHenry and Riverside. “And especially for Christmas. We enjoy people coming and visiting. We love to see people’s reactions to all the decorations.”
The Coleys said years ago they started decorating just for themselves, and then it became something they did for family and friends to see. But the decorations became so numerous that they now have Sunday School classes, church groups and even a full Toonerville Trolley over to see their decorations.
Susan said she decorates big for Halloween. But as soon as that’s over, she starts putting up Christmas decorations. And it’s a huge undertaking. Her granddaughters help with getting tubs of decorations down from the attic, and she and Robert put up all the decorations themselves.
As an example of how many decorations go up in their home, it takes 14 tubs of Christmas decorations to fill the sitting room and dining room. But then there’s the kitchen with Christmas tins lining the cupboards and each bedroom has a theme, from the “Believe” bedroom with its whimsical elves and fairies and handmade curtains to the Santa room with its bright red decorations and dozens of wooden Santas.
Even bathrooms aren’t spared from the decorations. Ornaments, elves, garlands and lights fill every corner.
There’s at least one decorated Christmas tree in every room of the house. One of the most abundant ornaments is painted and decoupaged goose eggs. Since the 1970s, the Coleys have been purchasing the empty eggs, painting and adhering pictures to them and then coating them in a decoupage solution, giving them a glossy sheen. There are thousands of them all over the house.
“And details are important to us,” Susan said. “One of the things I make sure to do every year is to change out every single picture in the house.”
“The last time we counted, there are 80 pictures throughout the house,” Robert said. “We change every one of those out to Christmas pictures.”
As visitors make their way through the Coley home, they’re met with layer upon layer of color and light. Almost every surface is covered in decorations or ornaments.
But the highlight of the home during the Christmas season is a back room with a high ceiling. This is the only room in the house that can accommodate a massive tree completely covered in multi-colored ornaments and lights. The base of the tree is filled with stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes.
And on a high shelf around the entire room, nutcrackers of all sizes stand guard.
The Coley home at Christmastime is truly a labor of love.
“We do all this because we love to have people over who enjoy seeing it,” Susan said. “Especially the children. It’s wonderful to see their eyes light up when they see the big tree. That’s why we do all this.”
Read this story online at www.RN-T.com for additional photos of the Coley home.