From whimsical elves to life-size Santas, this Evans house is all decked out for the holidays.
Photography by Sally Kolar
At the Evans home of Bridget Flynn and Jack Edwards, every room is brimming with Christmas cheer.
“She loves decorating for Christmas. It’s her passion,” says Jack. “She invites friends over to see everything. She puts so much into it that people need to see it.”
Bridget started collecting Christmas décor about 15 years ago.
“It grows more and more every year,” she says. “I started with the RAZ elves I have in the Christmas tree in the living room, and it just escalated from there. When I first saw the elves, I fell in love with them. I love their faces and their expressions.”
She starts decorating in mid-October, and she works as hard as any elf in Santa’s workshop to create holiday magic in their home.
Although she has a thing for elves, Bridget also has certain brands that she likes including Mark Roberts, Katherine’s Collection, MacKenzie-Childs, Regency International and Karen Didion. She always keeps an eye out for specific pieces that she wants to add to her collections.
“If it’s not available, I will search until I find it,” Bridget says. “I start looking early to see what’s coming out for the year. I shop for Christmas all year long. When we go to the mountains, I hit all the Christmas stores.”
Last year the newest addition to the décor was a large nativity scene that Jack found at a local department store. He had planned to give it to Bridget as a Christmas gift, but the sales associate convinced him to buy it after the holiday when it would be half price.
He got enough figures in 2021 to start it, and others have given her pieces for the collection as well. The nativity scene is the first thing the couple sees when they enter the house from the garage.
“I don’t get excited about a lot of things, but I really enjoy the nativity scene,” says Jack, the son of a Methodist minister.
The Fun Room
The lower level décor also reflects Jack’s lifelong fondness for Snoopy, where the “Peanuts” character is the star of the holiday decorations.
Resting on a blanket of “snow,” a Christmas vignette in the garage features Snoopy, Woodstock, a doghouse with snow and colored lights on the roof, and a Christmas tree.
In the sitting room, stuffed Snoopys and other ornaments hang from a tree. One of Bridget’s friends crocheted the red and white skirt under the tree as well as an identical skirt beneath the dining room tree.
The basement also includes statues of Snoopy, the Grinch, an elf and Mickey Mouse in the sitting room.
On the final night of a visit to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Bridget “earned” the right to purchase the Mickey Mouse statue after she beat Jack in a game of pool.
“I said if I won the last game, I was going to get Mickey Mouse,” she says. “The ball did exactly what I said it was going to do. We stopped on the way home to get Mickey.”
The basement décor also features a snowman that Bridget made out of fishbowls and filled with Mickey Mouse Christmas decorations. Other decorations include Ralphie, clad in his pink bunny suit, of A Christmas Story fame and a 1957 turquoise Chevy Bel Air convertible with Elvis behind the wheel and Barbie riding shotgun.
“The basement is my fun room,” says Bridget.
Gingerbread & Peppermint
Bridget loves gingerbread houses, so naturally, she centers the kitchen décor around food.
The kitchen table includes a gingerbread house centerpiece with a gingerbread tree on either side, and round red and white placements that resemble peppermint candies. A gingerbread wreath hangs on the door from the basement.
A RAZ elf sits on the secretary in the kitchen, while another elf with a pretzel in his hand lounges on the counter.
“I buy little things to put in their hands,” says Bridget. “I can change it each year.”
The first gingerbread house that Bridget ever bought rests behind the cooktop. Other kitchen decorations include a gingerbread train, block letters spelling out the word “Merry,” reindeer with candy cane antlers and peppermints on their backs, a red boot and a bow made of MacKenzie-Childs ribbon on the tree.
A Mark Roberts elf with a sweets shop sits on the island, where a cake stand is covered with individually wrapped Little Debbie Christmas cakes that Bridget shares with guests.
The gingerbread theme continues into the dining room, where the table also features a gingerbread house centerpiece. A gingerbread man and woman with flashing lights sit atop the china cabinet.
“I use a lot of whimsical decorations,” says Bridget.
While the sideboard includes red and green balls and a pair of nutcrackers, the Christmas tree is filled with painted ornaments that pop with glitter and gold.
Three hot air balloons with a Mark Roberts elf inside dangle from the entryway between the dining room and living room.
Bridget also keeps a container filled with Christmas soaps in the half bath. Since Christmas is for sharing, she gives a soap to their guests before they leave.
Always Room for Elves
In the living room, RAZ elves in the tree are accompanied by poinsettia ornaments as well as red, green and white balls. Christmas picks spray out from the treetop, and lighted red and green decorative presents sit beneath the tree.
A life-size Santa sits in a chair in the corner. On the chest, a Mark Roberts elf occupies an ornate Katherine’s Collection chair and rhinestone trees top a pair of drums.
A rocking horse and giant pillar candles on candlesticks add to the Christmas cheer, and of course, there’s always room for more elves. Another Mark Roberts elf sits by the grandfather clock, which is one of 100 clocks that was made to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Dollywood, and a RAZ elf hangs on the clock.
Stifling a yawn, a sleepy Mark Roberts elf reclines in a chair while holding a sign that reads “free kisses.”
However, Bridget has a better idea. “I wish the elves would learn how to clean,” she says.
A wreath decorates the wood-burning stove, which belonged to Jack’s parents, on the fireplace hearth. A Noel banner hangs from the mantel, where flocked greenery, another Mark Roberts elf and two reindeer rest on top.
“We keep the lights low at night so the Christmas lights stand out,” says Bridget.
Four Victorian carolers line the serpentine chest in the foyer, and two black lantern streetlights stand on either side. Bridget’s sister makes all of the bows for her.
Accompanied by two more lanterns, a life-size nutcracker stands guard at the end of the hall. Even the doorknobs throughout the house are decorated with festive tassels, jingle bells and elves.
Snug in Their Beds
The three bedrooms get into the Christmas spirit as well.
A Santa in a chair recites “The Night Before Christmas” in the master bedroom, where more carolers and candles stand on the dresser.
“I use artificial LED candles since I have so many of them,” Bridget says.
To honor Jack’s family, a small tree on the dresser is decorated with White House and Masters Tournament ornaments. His brother, who lives in Virginia, sends him a White House ornament every year, and their grandfather, who helped build Augusta National Golf Club, was the first golf course superintendent at the property.
A Katherine’s Collection fairy sits daintily in the center of the bed, and a Santa, two trees and a musical snow globe occupy a bedside table.
“I always find a place for something, but I don’t put everything out every single year,” Bridget says.
In the “peacock” bedroom, the tree is decorated with peacocks and peacock feathers, gold and teal balls, gold tassels and teal poinsettias. A peacock sits on a glass-topped table at the foot of the bed, and elves dressed in teal rest on the bedside tables next to the four-poster bed. A wreath made of peacock feathers hangs on the door.
The chest of drawers features a teal-outfitted Mark Roberts elf, a gold and teal runner, a glass bowl filled with gold and teal balls, and a pair of white pillar candles wrapped in a peacock motif.
The “animal print” bedroom includes a mannequin Christmas tree with a red bodice and a red sash tied in a bow at the waist. A red skirt with leopard-print trim surrounds the base of the tree.
A leopard-print runner stretches across the dresser, and gold and red ribbon are tied around a lamp. A Katherine’s Collection gnome and a Mark Roberts elf are part of the décor as well.
Even though Bridget, who would love to open a Christmas shop when she retires, starts decorating early in the season, she never really finishes. “I will mess with everything until the day I take it down,” she says.
Jack doesn’t argue. “When I leave,” he says, “it doesn’t mean the decorations will look the same when I get home.”
By Betsy Gilliland