BARBOUR COUNTY - During the Christmas season folks scramble to buy gifts, send cards, attend parties, bake goodies and decorate their homes. Many find it difficult to complete all these tasks before Dec. 25, but a couple in Barbour County decorates more than just one Christmas tree: this year, they've put up an astonishing 21 trees in their home to welcome the season.
Ken and Karen Boone, who are both retired from the education field, said they spent about two weeks putting up the themed trees.
"We are careful to finish celebrating Thanksgiving before we begin decorating for Christmas," Karen Boone said. "We love to decorate for every season. After we take the Christmas tree down, we leave one up that will be decorated with hearts and red for Valentine's Day and shamrocks and green for St. Patrick's Day."
The first trees visible as you enter the Boone home are two small trees, each containing ornaments for their pets. This tree is very special to the Boones, especially because of the loss of two dear family cats during 2013.
The next tree on the Boone home tour is located in the "man cave."
"In past years, this tree has been decorated with lots of different things, but this year it is top-to-bottom covered with a net," Ken Boone said. "Below the netting is about one-third of my fishing lures from my tackle box. Don't touch this tree because it will bite you back."
At the top of the stairs, the Boones have what they call 'the park."
"When we go on vacation, we collect many seashells and sand dollars," Karen Boone said. "We love the beach and try to bring as much of it back as we can."
Karen Boone said they collect as many as 140 shells a day while vacationing at Hammocks Beach State Park and Bear Island in North Carolina. The tree in "the park" contains many sea shells and sand dollars the Boones decorated with glitter. It is adorned with bright blue and sparkling silver bulbs and ribbons.
In the first floor bedroom, the Boones decorated a small royalty tree.
"We used to have a bigger tree in this room, but it kept getting in the way and getting knocked into," Karen Boone said. "So this year, we have gold and purple on a smaller tree."
In the home's craft room, there are two trees. The first is a white snowflake tree with shimmering silver ribbons, silver snowflakes and silver bulbs. The second tree is ceramic and was passed down to the Boones.
"The tree was made by my mother, Maybell," Ken Boone said. "It is very special and we put it up every year. She made the tree more than 50 years ago."
The next tree resembles a huge candy cane. It contains white-and-red striped ribbon, striped bows and lots of candy canes.
"This tree was one I created the first year I taught at Pruntytown Correctional Center," Karen Boone said. "Each year, I came up with a different theme to change it up."
Karen Boone said she likes to decorate the trees each year and come up with new themes.
"One Christmas, all three of our boys were in different parts of Iraq at the same time," Karen Boone said. "There were in different branches of the service and we wanted to show our support, so we created our military tree."
By far the largest tree in the Boone home was decorated with lighthouses and lighthouse ornaments.
"Many of these are hand-blown glass ornaments from Williamsburg, Va., and lots are hand-painted by Missy Lawless," Karen Boone said. "Some came when I had her children in school and others were purchased or gifts."
Karen Boone said she tries to add one or two new trees to her collection each year. Other trees include a red and black tree to match her red and black room, a tropical snowman tree, a flamingo tree in her Tiki room, an angel tree in the bedroom, a snow puff tree in the upstairs hallway, a "shades of blue" tree in her nautical room, a tree on the front porch and a small tree with antique tins in the bathroom.
In the Boone's kitchen, a snowman tree boasts many ornaments from teachers she worked with while principal at Belington Elementary School. The ornaments include painted snowmen cans, snowman ornaments, painted ornaments and snowmen heads.
Enlisting the help of her grandson, Emmett, Karen Boone created three whimsical themed trees. The first is an Elmo tree, complete with ornaments the duo crafted last year. This year, Emmett dressed like a pink pig for Halloween, so they created a pink pig tree with home-made ornaments.
"Emmett will be 3 years old in February," Karen Boone said. "We really enjoy making the ornaments together."
One final tree serves as a tribute to the Boone's newest granddaughter.
"Hattie is 4 months old," Karen Boone said. "We chose to decorate her tree like her room. It has all kinds of nature and we decorated her tree here with owls. I even put a pink princess crown on top in honor of our princess Hattie."
Contact Beth Christian Broschart at 304-636-2124 ext. 114 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ITM_Broschart.