Over the top with holiday spirit
by Laura Nation-Atchison
Roxanne Bukacek with some her Santa collection in the den.
RIVERSIDE – She may say she’s “really scaled down some” this year, but it’s hard to believe her.

Just take one step inside Roxanne Bukacek’s Riverside home and you’ll see.

Well, really, it’s just as obvious from the outside, too.

This is one gal who really gets into spreading the holiday spirit and she just can’t help herself.

“My brain starts going and I just can’t stop,” she laughs. “But I really do enjoy it, and it’s fun doing it and having people over to enjoy it.”

The former art teacher’s talents with decorating attest to her artistic traits.

Out in the field where she plants rows of sunflowers every summer, there’s “Frank,” her metal sculpture made from discarded air conditioning duct pieces. He stands about six feet tall and this time of the year, Frank is decked out in a Santa hat and bow tie.

As are most things with this creative spirit, there’s an interesting story that goes along with “Frank.”

“We named him that after an uncle of mine who got dropped on his head when he was little and was never really quite right after that,” Bukacek explains. “So here’s our Frank, and whenever anything goes wrong around here, we always blame it on Frank.”

The white picket fence around the 100-year-old plus home she shares with her husband, Tom, is dotted with red velvet ribbon and there are matching wreaths made with fresh greenery scattered along the fence and front gate, and the gazebo beside the house has its own holiday décor as well.

Inside the front entry, also draped with greenery and ribbon, the banister leading to the second story bears more greenery, and is lighted with miniature white lights.

The table in the front hall holds decorated jars of homemade pepper jelly that is handed out to all guests over the holidays. And just off the foyer, the Christmas tree in the living room is adorned in pinks and whites, from shiny ornaments to ribbons and wreaths, and this tree bears the collection of official White House ornaments put out every year since Ronald Reagan was president.

Even the packages surrounding the eight-foot tree are wrapped in hues to match the tree, which work beautifully together in the rose colored room.

But it doesn’t stop there.

On into the dining room and the table is set and ready for eight, red placemats topped with gold chargers and china bordered in holly and berries. Green and white striped napkin holders keep matching red napkins in place and gold utensils perk up the table setting even more.

Overhead, the brass chandelier is fitted with green and red ornaments attached with matching ribbon and in the corner, this room’s Christmas tree is actually a potted Norfolk pine given to Bukacek by her mother, Virginia Posey, several years ago.

Bukacek’s “green thumb” has nurtured the pine to the point that she’s afraid it may be the tree’s last year on duty inside.

But that won’t stop the tradition of it being decorated, that’s for certain.

There’s one of several collections of Santas on a sideboard, along with some glittering holiday ornaments shining inside a glass bowl beside lighted candles that add to the glow.

Inside the kitchen, a dozen or more Santas line a shelf and pulls on the cabinet doors bear tiny wreaths with green ribbons.

This is where Bukacek is working on one of her last decorating projects a couple of days before Christmas, cutting out felt letters to add to the family’s Christmas stockings.

“I just can’t stop,” she announces.

A truer statement couldn’t be made. Bukacek’s love of Christmas is literally all over the place.

On to the den, and there stands tree number three, done in traditional ornaments, along with some the couple have collected in their travels to various parts of the world.

This tree also holds the very first ornament Bukacek’s mother put on the Christmas tree the year Bukacek was born.

Along the molding in the room is greenery and it’s also adorned with a Santa here and there and over the mantle, Bukacek hung oblong glass ornaments from green and red ribbons, with tiny lights finishing up the festive effect.

There’s a Christmas afghan decorated with Santas and stockings and a dining table set with red and green tableware and placemats.

An antique side table is filled with Santas of all sorts and if you have enough time, Bukacek can tell you the origin of just about each and every one of them.

Before leaving, it’s imperative to take a trip to the guest cottage next door, where it, too, celebrates the season with Bukacek’s handiwork.

Twin red stockings holding greenery hang on either side of the walkway to the cottage, and there’s a swatch of greenery tied with a red bow at the door.

There’s a ceiling height tree, this one bearing crystal-like white lights and festive ornaments and the mantle draped with green ornaments and live greenery.

At the back door, there’s a painted sign to welcome guests declaring “Yule, y’all,” and in the front entry, another sign states, “Better not pout!”

The decorating would continue for a day or two more, Bukacek says, and she, her family and friends will make many memories among them.

That seems to be the driving force for the decorating diva, setting the stage for everyone to enjoy and be part of.

“Like I said, I just get started and I can’t stop,” Bukacek says, eyeing the holiday scene she’s created. “It’s just so much fun.”

Contact Laura Nation-Atchison at lnation@dailyhome.com

© 2012