The Barons of Christmas

Photos by Ryan Noltemeyer.

Photos by Ryan Noltemeyer.

Fourteen trees. Hundreds of ornaments. And glitter. Lots of glitter. The Baron family knows how to do Christmas right.

The tradition of Christmas trees has been traced back to Germany in the 16th century. By the second half of the 19th century, it gained popularity in other countries, including the United States. Most families have one tree. Not the Barons. They have 14 of them, all uniquely decorated and spread throughout their Glen Oaks home.

Alice and Steve Baron have been married for 17 years and have a 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter together. Inspired by their parents’ warm and welcoming homes during the holidays, Alice and Steve have allowed their own holiday display to grow over the years. Alice, an avid crafter, adds touches to their home throughout the winter season, creating ornaments or fun signs with their initials. Family and friends also add to their Christmas stockpile.

christmastrees_20161204_9“I would hope first impressions are that the house feels magical and cheerful,” says Alice.

The themes of her trees evolved from a natural progression, working with the ornaments they had, bought over time or were given – never intentionally purchasing ornaments of one theme. Some of their themes include a UofL tree in the basement (the couple met at UofL and are fans), a sentimental tree with childhood ornaments in the TV room, a gingerbread tree in the kitchen, a Radko ornament tree in the office, a reindeer tree in the family room and the main tree in the living room, which contains all ornaments given to them over the years. In their own bedroom, there’s a metallic tree of gold and bronze, while their daughter has a snow-themed tree in her room and their son a circus-themed tree in his. In the foyer, a large solider guards the door, an old prop from the Junior League of Louisville’s Hollydays event.

“I have decorated in excess during years I was working full time, having small children or while president of the Junior League,” recalls Alice. “At times, people have wondered, ‘How do you get this done?’”

christmastrees_20161204_28The answer: Spreading this much cheer requires teamwork that even Santa and his elves would envy. Steve has a major part in the designing.

“Steve truly has his own style and does a wonderful job. His trees are his trees. I do not give him instructions or input. He truly hangs the ornaments in his own way. He has also contributed to the decorations, bringing home several pieces over the years such as the musical decorations, the 4-foot-tall Dancing Santa, and, of course, he is responsible for Big Santa’s arrival.”

Big Santa is a 12-foot-tall inflatable who, along with some other blow-up friends, greets visitors from the Barons’ front yard. His arrival has become something neighbors and friends look forward to each year, and Alice happily shoots a text to notify everyone of his arrival. She also notes that this is the one time of the year she is allowed to use glitter freely, which she takes advantage of by using plenty on her crafts and trees.

Alice says she and her family love this time of year because “the season brings so much joy and gatherings. It is the time of year when you can really see humanity in action and all the hope the season brings.”

She adds, “I think it is special to us because we do it together.” VT