This is my favorite time of year.
And though my family thinks I'm somewhat crazy, they appreciate my efforts to make our home festive during the holidays. Nobody, though, appreciates what I do more than my granddaughters.
A patch of woods separates our home from our daughter's, and, over the last several years, we have cultivated a well-worn path leading from one house to the other. Last year, I made a second path. It's a horseshoe-shaped trail that starts and ends on the original path.
I designed the second path for a reason: to decorate for Christmas.
Last year, I placed strands of lights and had several outdoor decorations and an inflatable Santa along the path. This year, I added more.
Starting in early October, I began making decorations for the path, affectionately named "Tilleigh Evie Boulevard," my granddaughters' names. I designed life-size patterns of a snowman, gingerbread man and woman, and had a carpenter friend cut out the patterns, two of each, on plywood. He also cut out eight, 24-inch round pieces of wood, and 10, 10-inch ones that I painted as ornaments.
For the next six weeks, I painted the snowmen and gingerbread people, mounting them on stakes to place along Tilleigh Evie Boulevard. I painted the names of close family members on the larger "ornaments" and the names of my granddaughters' closest friends on the smaller ones. I mounted the larger ones on stakes and placed them around the path. The smaller ornaments were suspended from tree branches using fishing line.
I also added an inflatable snowman and SpongeBob SquarePants.
I painted village scenes on scraps of plywood and placed them around the path and made signs for either end of the path that read "Tilleigh Evie Boulevard."
There are dozens of strings of lights lining the path, turning the otherwise dark woods into a winter wonderland.
Admittedly, my creation is tacky, but to my granddaughters, it's magical.
Thankfully, neighbors can't see the path. It's for our enjoyment and for those who visit us.
Tilleigh Evie Boulevard is well-traveled daily. My oldest granddaughter often stops to kiss every character. She joyfully sings as she skips along the path, with her little sister mimicking her from behind.
At my granddaughter's recent fifth birthday celebration, her friends and their parents walked along the boulevard searching for the ornaments bearing the children's names. I had each child dip a finger in paint to add their fingerprint on their ornament. I plan to date each fingerprint and add additional ones every Christmas.
Though Tilleigh Evie Boulevard is by no means an award-winning design, to our family and friends, it's an enjoyable celebration of the season.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...