HOME: A Storybook Christmas
Guests need not wait for sleep to dream of sugar plums at the Meinders’ home in Edmond; Christmas visions assail their senses from the moment it comes into view.
A vignette of a hot air balloon scene dangles from a tree, its reindeer-filled basket held to the ground by a desperate Santa clinging to its rope. The scene is countered with an elegant full-sized sleigh nearby, lined with lush greenery and filled with wrapped gifts. The sleigh sits behind a statue of a bronze horse — a permanent decoration on the rolling lawn of the two-and-a-half acre lot.
The bronze horse gives ride to the headless horseman at Halloween, said Phyllis Meinder, who is passionate about holiday décor. For Halloween, she turned her three-car garage into a haunted house, her backyard into a huge cemetery and her pool and enclosed cabana into a pirate’s cave, complete with floating ship and ugly mermaids.
Then Meinder takes a small break until Thanksgiving night, when the Christmas decorating frenzy begins in earnest. “I’ve always gone all out for the holidays,” said Meinder, whose husband, Dan, is a builder and developer, and built their home in 2006. “I’ve collected (Christmas décor) for years. Some are antiques; some are just from Hobby Lobby or Walmart. I just pick up whatever I see that I like. I just love Christmas,” she said. “I enjoy decorating every year. It never gets old.”
The Old World-style home is the perfect setting for a foray into Christmas fantasy. The sprawling 5,600-square-foot home with its layers of steeply-pitched gables, rough hewn buff stone surface, graceful arches and pair of rooftop spires could have come straight out of a fairytale. That illusion is emphasized by the concrete balustrade enclosing the front porch, which is now the stage for a trio of 6-foot-tall nutcrackers wielding instruments.
Many of Meinders’ pieces are from Katherine’s Collections, such as the pair of dolls that sit on her antique settee in the entry. The dolls are decked out in holiday finery, complete with ornaments tucked into their hair and full festive dresses spread across the leopard upholstery.
The three different Christmas trees in her home exemplify her holiday decorating styles. The downstairs living room, with its high vaulted ceiling crossed with rough beams reminiscent of Old English timbering, and its floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, is dominated by a large red and gold traditional tree, filled with glittering ornaments and topped with curling gold glitter branches. Rivers of shimmering ribbon cascade down the tree, which rests on the hand-scraped hickory floor found throughout the home.
Another holiday focal point of the room is a Santa riding a full-size antique carousel horse. Draped around the horse’s neck is another antique — a patriotic banner Meinder said was made more than 150 years ago. A Fitz and Floyd Santa and four of his reindeer make up another traditional style piece on a couch table, flanked by antler candelabras and poinsettias.
The Christmas tree upstairs brings in the sentimental side of Meinders’ decorating. It sits in her theater room, which is western year-round, and cowboy-style ornaments adorn this tree. “This is the tree my grandkids always decorate,” said Meinder, who also puts in this space a print of Santa wearing a cowboy hat, riding a horse.
The third tree is all about whimsy. It’s nearly sparse with curving branches, but festooned with polka-dotted and feather-topped ornaments, and has a pair of cartoon women’s feet as its stand. This tree sits amongst a collection of Department 56 Christmas Krinkles collectibles in an open balcony niche at the top of the stairs. This Whoville-esque look is carried throughout Meinders’ home — large silly wooden frogs wearing Santa hats, curving sparkling Christmas trees with spiral tops, and even a lime green stocking with big curling toe that hangs from the staircase newel posts.
The majority of Meinders’ holiday décor is in the public areas of her home. The expansive kitchen with its tumbled marble floor and massive center island is set off with Santas and Christmas candles. The eating area’s built-in china hutch has a special set of red and white
Dan Meinders’ home office, with its deep wood bookshelves and coffered ceiling, is perhaps the most traditionally decorated room in the house. A beautiful golden reindeer stands between a pair of glittering gold trees in front of Dan’s desk. Two toy soldiers stand at attention on the stone fireplace hearth. And the wall sconces cast soft light on the bookshelves, which are seeded with classical Christmas tales, photos in holiday frames and small pieces of art.
The phrase “Merry Christmas” can be seen throughout the home. And it is this merriment that makes this house a storybook Christmas home.