Christmas Spirit Lives On All Year Long

For Brenda and Phillip Graham, decorating their home for Christmas may not be an all-year venture, but it’s close! “Christmas, well… all joking aside, it sometimes starts in January,” Phillip says.

The proprietors of Vanguard Property Inspectors, LLC, the couple host two company Christmas parties in their home each year.

“We start scouting musical entertainment in January and continue making plans and arrangements throughout the year. Our Christmas gift to each other is all about giving back to everyone who has helped our business grow that year by celebrating with our friends, clients and associates.”

He notes that they change out some of their decorations each year in different parts of their home.

“This year, our patio area has changed from a lighted woodland forest to a lighted woodland forest with a blue-lit pond and waterfall, including white swans and other woodland creatures,” he says.

Indoors, lit garlands and tear-drop-style greenery adorn their balcony, which overlooks the great room. The greenery spills onto the stairway railing, mantel and window cornices.

“And of course,” Phillip says, “there is always room for the proverbial family collectibles.” While some folk may collect Santa Clauses, reindeer, snowmen, etc., the Graham family collects Mark Roberts fairies, which they hang from a spiraled garland on the kitchen column. 

“Looking past the kitchen bar top,” Phillip says, “you’ll see our gingerbread village collection. And our front room and living room display our Victorian Christmas carolers.”

Finally, he says, “our Christmas decor would feel incomplete without the Nativity; it, too, changed this year from a multi-piece set-up to a three-piece set, but none-the-less, it delivers the same powerful statement: the birth of our Savior. He is ‘the Reason for this Season.’”

Decorating for the holidays is a joint venture; likewise, the pair enjoy selecting furniture and other accessories for their home, a French Chateau-style home located in the Chatenay addition in south Oklahoma City where they have resided for seven years.

Neither Brenda nor Phillip have a formal education in interior design or interior decorating. However, they look for inspiration everywhere, then purchase those pieces they both like and that will blend well with their other furniture.

“We love to tour beautiful homes while traveling and online,” Brenda notes. “We are both out-of-the-box, creative thinkers and tend to make an ‘adventure’ out of every shopping trek. A quick trip for a three-day holiday to Van Buren resulted in a 100-plus-year-old, 8-foot buffet that now anchors a main wall in our front room.”

They also find inspiration in their travels and visiting antique shops.

“As an example,” Phillip says, “we found the perfect scaled sofa and side chairs in Dallas but knew we would need to find just the right coffee table to tie it all together. At a random stop at one of our favorite haunts, we stumbled upon a 500-lb. petrified Cyprus tree stump that is now the center piece to the living room ensemble.

“I guess you could say we find main pieces of furniture for each room and accessorize around that piece to achieve the ultimate look for that room. Neutral-colored rugs are used in the main living area to complete and contain each furniture grouping within the room.”

“We enjoy a ‘collected over time,’ eclectic, traveled, old-world, semi-Victorian look, blending the old with the new for comfort and practicality,” Brenda says. “We were also trying to achieve a more open look in the living room while being arranged in a way to keep guests engaged when in use. So, when we recently purchased new living room furnishings, we purposely chose smaller, easy-to-rearrange pieces that could be easily shifted to form different types of seating arrangements or moved out, as needed.”

The couple offers advice to homeowners who want to change up their surroundings but don’t really know how to get started.

“Wait until you find one or two pieces that you absolutely love, then collect additional items to build/layer upon those,” Brenda says. “We think, when you participate as a couple, the added time together shopping and discussing will help reinforce and forge a tighter bond between you. It also gives us a higher appreciation of the end result because of our direct involvement.”

She adds, “You can’t be afraid to entertain new ideas that pop into your head, and don’t be afraid to use your spouse as a springboard for your ideas. Doing all things together is a blessing for both of us, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”