The love for Christmas was set early on in Libby Parkinson's life. Not only has she continued the tradition with her own family, she has passed it on to her children and hopefully to their children. Although Parkinson has added and expanded on her family's traditions, the one thing that has not changed is the reason for spending countless hours creating a beautiful Christmas . . . because it brings them great joy!
Growing up in Fairmont, W.V., Parkinson's family started thinking about Christmas at the first sign of leaves changing. For most that might seem a little early, but the Christmas season brought their family so much joy they couldn't wait to get into the spirit. In fact, most of the fun was preparing for it.
Parkinson, one of four children, had her own job to do. "I was the youngest and my job was to find little five and dime things to go in the children's stockings." The other children had their own jobs, all supervised by a very creative mother. Not surprisingly a little competition between the siblings was added into the mix.
Now as an adult following in that tradition, Parkinson says her family also starts planning for Christmas at the first little nip in the air. However the physical pulling of all the Christmas decorations from storage doesn't start until the first of November. After all, there is a lot of work to be done decorating 13 rooms in the house in Cherokee Gardens: the living room, dining room, kitchen, library, Kentucky room (a room decorated with art and furniture from Kentucky), project room, bedrooms, and powder rooms.
The tradition has continued as her children, John and Amy, have grown and left the home and through the addition of grandson, 20-month-old Parker. Parkinson, who is very involved in charity events lives with her husband Don, who is retired from KFC.
It takes hours to place the live garland swags down the stairs and throughout other parts of the house. The living room hosts a live tree decorated in a traditional style. The other rooms all have themed artificial trees. The master bedroom has the tree filled with mouth-blown glass ornaments by Christopher Radko, their son's old bedroom has an outdoor tree with African decorations (he spent two years in Africa in the Peace Corp), their daughter's old bedroom gets Teddy bears having a Christmas tea party, and Parkinson's project room even gets a tree with all glass baubles. Other rooms have themes that display angels, soldiers, snowmen.