By Ginna Parsons // Photos by Lauren Wood
Both Anne Williams Cockrell and her husband, Will, grew up in families that went a little over the top when it came to decorating for Christmas. So it’s no surprise the young couple has followed in those holiday footsteps.
“We decorate our own home, but we still decorate with our families at their homes at Christmas,” Will said. “It’s crazy.”
A day or two after Thanksgiving, Anne, 26, and Will, 25, start the process of turning their Joyner neighborhood home into a holiday wonderland.
“We like a real Christmas tree to be our main tree,” Anne said. “It goes in the living room in front of a window.”
This tree holds ornaments the two have amassed since they were children.
“We’re very eclectic,” Anne said. “Our moms each give us an ornament every year. We have all our childhood ornaments as well. And I have a lot of ornaments from my grandmother’s tree. Some people call me sentimental.”
A second tree, this one artificial, they position between the dining room and the kitchen so that it can be seen through the front door.
“It was my grandmother’s tree and this was her house,” Will said. “We bought it in June 2017, had a remodel done, and moved back in in November 2017.”
This tree is covered in antique red and gold balls, lots of ribbon, and ornaments Anne has made through her business, Annie Decor.
“Most of Annie Decor is furniture I redo for people, but I also enjoy getting to make littles, like ornaments, cake stands and candlesticks,” Anne said.
A third tree that sits on the couple’s front porch was Anne’s big sister’s tree and the one Anne used during college.
“It has fake snow and lights, but no ornaments,” Will said. “It’s been known to blow over, so we didn’t want to take any chances.”
In the living room, a credenza is festooned with four Christmas stockings: one for Anne, one for Will and one each for their dogs, Millie and Reece.
“Let me tell you how much we like Christmas,” Anne said. “Our first wedding shower was a Christmas shower. Someone gave us the stockings at the shower and my mother-in-law and I made the dogs’ stockings. And they get treats every year in those stockings from Santa.”
They also decorate with antique snowflakes, Nativity scenes, angels, and Christmas-themed pillows, blankets and hand towels. They eat off Christmas plates and drink from Christmas coffee cups.
“When you think about it all, it is pretty Christmasy around here,” Will said.
Anne’s pretty practical when it comes to the trappings of Christmas.
“We keep all the rolls of wrapping paper in a large crock by the bookcase,” she said. “It becomes part of the decorations.”
Each year, the couple, who met in high school and married three years ago, hangs Christmas cards from ribbon strung in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen.
When Anne takes the cards down at the end of the season, she punches two holes in them, puts them on two metal rings and puts them in a basket. When friends and family come to visit during the holidays, they can flip through cards from years past.
“I think I got that idea from Pinterest,” she said.
During the month of December, they travel to Cotton Plant, Ballard Park and different Tupelo neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. And just about every night, they watch a Christmas movie.
Her favorites are “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Christmas Vacation,” while his are “Elf” and “Home Alone.”
“It’s hard to pick a favorite,” Will said. “We like them all.”
On Christmas Eve, the couple invites both of their families over to eat and watch movies.
“After everybody leaves, we read the Christmas story from the Bible together and then we set out Santa for each other,” Anne said. “That’s now our tradition.”