The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Community

December 21, 2013

Decorations with spiritual meanings

FRANKTON — While many homeowners add a few decorations to their living room in anticipation of the Christmas season, Pat Barnes clears entire bookcases to make space for the holiday transformation.

Not simply content to add cheer to one room, she places seasonal items at every turn throughout her home.

“I find it so peaceful to have the Christmas lights on,” said Pat, retired Alexandria teacher of 39 years. “I love the tranquility. Many people think that winter is dreary but we can carry the light of God with us and be the hope that people need.”

In the living room, snowmen on blue backgrounds reign supreme. A tall, full tree covered in blue-and-white ribbons, ornaments and lights graces the space.

“I like snowmen and the blue is indicative of the cold,” she said. “When we went to Alaska, we could look down into the crevasses of glaciers and they looked blue. The ice has that blue tinge to it.”

Each year the tree finds a new spot in the room. Rather than setting it up in the same corner or in front of the same window, she moves it around to create a different look and a new flow to the room.

“I love the snow,” she said with a smile. “Snow gets blamed for winter problems, but it’s the wind and the ice that cause them. The snow isn’t a problem. When it would snow, my kindergarten students would run to the windows and look out. I love that excitement.”

She enjoys it to the point that she even makes a small snowman during the first snowfall each year and keeps it in the freezer to enjoy on snowless winter days.

Many of the ceramic and stuffed snowmen sitting around the room are gifts or handmade crafts by her (now grown) children or former students. And she can tell the story behind each and every one.

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