The Herald Bulletin

December 8, 2012

Capturing the spirit

Dana Brown emphasizes the trees during Christmastime

By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Dana Brown has no trouble capturing the Christmas spirit. So enchanted is she with the holiday, she has erected seven decorated trees in her home near Pendleton.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday,” said Brown, a bartender in Indianapolis and student at Vincennes University. “I love the lights, but, of course, I especially love the reason — Jesus’ birthday.”

Hitting the after-Christmas sales each year, Brown has slowly acquired the supplies for her holiday backdrop. Adding a little something each year, she has created a showcase room to enjoy.

“This is something I look forward to doing every year,” said Brown, who switches up the décor on the trees each season. “Right now my favorite one is by the door. I like the bright colors and the topper. It reminds me of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’ I was going to paint it yellow but I ran out of time.”

She may not have managed a yellow tree, but she beat the clock by spray painting three of her other trees before it was too late. Boldly coloring the branches created trees that look brand new and match their surrounding décor.

Since her kitchen is decorated in red and black year round, Brown added a red tree with black and white ornaments. Across the room is a black tree with red and silver accents. The look couldn’t be more perfect.

“I started with the red one,” said Brown, Highland High School graduate. “I wanted a different color and thought I would try spray paint and see how it looked. It came out okay and so I decided to paint the other two.”

Sitting atop a ledge to greet visitors as they arrive is the third painted tree. Choosing blue to match a number of her figurines, Brown used different shades of the color to decorate the tree. Grouped together, all these pieces complement one another nicely.

A special mantle

Giving credit to her mother, Nina Berry, for her creative flair, Brown recalls how much she enjoyed watching the decorations transform her home when she was a child.

“Every year at Christmas she would decorate the whole downstairs,” said Brown. “Christmas was my dad’s favorite holiday. But she doesn’t get into it as much since he passed away, so she gave me a lot of her decorations.”

Now Brown is able to incorporate those sentimental pieces, such as the beautiful wreath that takes center stage over the couch. Her mother is able to enjoy them, but without the chore of decking the halls or storing the items.

A spot that pulls particularly hard at Brown’s heartstrings is the mantle. Shiny lights, green garland and red bows grab the attention of a visitor’s eye, but her gaze is pulled past these to the pictures. Keeping special holiday pictures of her son, Forrest, 12, in this prominent place demonstrates her love of family. Soon pictures of her 1-year-old grandson will join them.

“I like everything leading up to Christmas,” she said. “And I like the day I get to sit back and relax and see the kids enjoy their dinner and gifts. I like for everybody to come and have a good time, but I do stress the reason for Christmas. It’s about Jesus’ birthday, not about the gifts.”

Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an e-mail to emmagoldiemeyer@yahoo.com.