A Barry Christmas

Greencastle, Pa., man shows holiday spirit with more than 13 trees and a house full of decorations

Greencastle, Pa., man shows holiday spirit with more than 13 trees and a house full of decorations

December 18, 2005|By JULIE E. GREENE


Walking inside Barry Smith's two-story Colonial home during the Christmas season is like walking into a holiday storybook setting.

Burning wood crackles in the brick fireplace, holiday tunes permeate the air through surround sound, the smell of fresh pine and pumpkin spice-, citrus cranberry- and cinnamon clove-scented candles fills the air and there are Christmas trees in every room, even the bathroom.

"I've always liked going into country shops. I always wanted a house that looked like that and smelled like that, and I think I have one," says Smith, 40.

"It's home. It's not overdone. I like people to feel like whenever they come here, they're home," he says.

Smith's 336 E. Madison St. home was on the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce heritage Christmas home tour last Sunday.

While he borrowed a few items from friends such as Cindy Oberholzer, Smith has plenty of holiday dcor of his own.


Bill Gour, the chamber's executive director, had seen Smith's prior home decorated for the holidays and saw his new home before the holiday dcor was set up.

"He was an obvious choice," Gour says. "Go there when it isn't Christmas and you'll be impressed by what you see."

Despite the number of decorations, Gour says they are not overdone or ostentatious.

"It doesn't bombard you," he says.

Smith recalls fondly his parents, Barbara and Don, making Christmas fun for him and his two brothers.

His father would save money to buy each child a nice large gift and his mother would bake lots of Christmas cookies and treats.

"He and mom always made it fun. Money is not what it's all about," Smith says.

He tries to impart the same message to his two sons, Chad, 17, and Cory, 13.

Smith's Christmas dcor started picking up steam 17 years ago on the eve of his first son's birth.

Nervous and unable to sit still, as he says is often the case, he got the Christmas decorations out Nov. 17 that year while his now ex-wife was home, nearing labor, waiting for the right moment to leave for the hospital.

He added on each year and now has 13 trees that are at least 18 inches high. Only the tall one on the front porch is real.

A 7-foot-high frosted pencil tree that he had shipped - with ornaments - from Myrtle Beach, S.C., two summers ago stands in the dining room.

Smith, who manages the shoe department at the Kmart in Chambersburg, Pa., aspires to go to school to become an interior decorator.

His holiday decorations include subtle touches such as poinsettia blossoms placed in the front of glass drawers in his kitchen island, a few purplish-red ornament balls scattered among shower curtain rings, an old family blanket hung to cover TV cords and poinsettia blossom napkin holders used as tie-backs for curtains.

"I buy things here and there and just piece it together," Smith says.

"The cool thing is all these sprigs of pine are from trees I helped plant, like 20 years ago" on an uncle's property, Smith said.

He often uses Martha Stewart items, including the tall tree in the living room trimmed with red and gold ribbons.

He placed a mirror, which he recently found in the attic, underneath a hallway table to reflect the poinsettia, gold-wired Christmas trees and candle he'd set underneath the table.

Among his favorites are the framed holiday pictures of his sons, when they were young children, hanging by the staircase landing.

Son Cory got into the decorating this year too, setting up the Christmas tree decorated with blue and white lights in his bedroom, his grandfather's train underneath the tree, and a wooden Nativity set a family friend bought during a trip to the Holy Land.

Older son Chad, at first reluctant to have a tree in his room this year, has a NASCAR-themed tree, Smith says.

In Smith's bedroom is a tree featuring old family photos, the kind of prints with white edges. He tucked the pictures of his brothers, parents and grandparents in between the branches so the photos wouldn't get ruined.

He also strung the tree with homemade popcorn, cranberries and dried orange and apple slices.

Smith has so many decorations he starts putting them up at the end of October and leaves them up until the end of January.

Barbara Smith, who lives on the outskirts of Greencastle, said she didn't envision her son's holiday decorating skills when he was little, but as he got older it seemed he had a knack for it.

"Usually when I did it, it wasn't good enough to suit him so he had to change it," she recalled.

"He just seems to be able to look at things and picture this or that," she said.

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