Her home on Mount Alto features so many Christmas trees that when Temple’s 12-year-old daughter MacKenzie began to count how many the family decked out for the holidays, she had one simple response for her: “Mom we have more Christmas trees than the White House!”
There are 14 trees that adorn the inside and a few more outside.
Temple said she sees her yearly decorating as a way to bring a smile to the faces of her friends and family, but also as a way to pursue her passion for making arrangements.
“It does take a long time,” Temple said. “We started the Saturday before Thanksgiving with putting the lights up outside. And everything outside is done with white lights on the front porch and the foyer.”
With the outside of the house tastefully decorated and the outdoor trees bestowed with ornaments, Temple then move to the rooms inside, where each one has a theme tailored to the room.
For instance, Temple said, the kitchen features a tree decorated with fruits and berries, while the dining room features a tree decked out in crystal ornaments and flowers to match.
Her prized tree is in the family’s living room, which features ornaments that have been collected since she was in high school.
“My husband and daughter won’t hang anything on the trees,” she said. “They told me it didn’t matter where they hung them because I would always find a better spot and move the ornament to where I wanted it. So now they just sit and watch me decorate the tree.”
Though Temple admits that it might be a lot to do, all this decorating — along with decorating trees, wreaths and flower arrangements for the holidays as a side job and for charity — she takes pride in putting up the decorations each year. The decorations come out in specially labeled crates, lovingly packed and unpacked by her husband Jody each year.
And even though her husband and kids might hem and haw at the yearly decorating, but they enjoy it too.
“My son is 21 (Joshua Pickens) and away at college, and he thinks I’m insane,” she said. “But, once all the decorations are up and he’s home he’s calling up his friends to come and see it all.”
The decorating on a large scale started with Temple as a family tradition, brought on by her grandmother’s love for Christmas, but she took it to another level.
She envisions a day where she can’t keep up the decorating any longer — when she’s much older and gray — but until then she plans to keep up with trimming all the trees around her home and keeping the smiles on their faces.
“It does get tiring sometimes,” Temple admitted. “I’ve been sick this year, so it’s been a lot to do all this. But then my husband will see something in a magazine and he’ll say that we should get this for the decorations.”
But Temple insists that they won’t be adding any more trees to the house, not until they finish furnishing their basement.