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A Christmas celebration

LaGRANGE – Where some people simply decorate for Christmas, Linda Bryant of Azalea Drive truly goes all out with Christmas trees – and Christmas spirit –  in every room of her home.

Every bedroom, bathroom and living space of her beautifully decorated two-story home contains a tree and a special dash of holiday cheer.

“My dad was always really involved in Christmas, and in 1983, my dad was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, and the doctors told us at the VA hospital that if a miracle didn’t happen, he wouldn’t see another Christmas,” said Bryant. “So, he was always a Christmas buff, so I did it to carry on his tradition. … And my dad died on Dec. 20, so he never did make it to another Christmas.”

That year was the beginning of a Christmas tradition that would keep his memory alive for decades to come while paying tribute the hospice nurses who took care of him in his final days.

“That year dad asked me to do three trees for them, and then it just seemed like… doing those trees was something that he always enjoyed, so I couldn’t continue just not doing those trees,” said Bryant. “And it brings me a lot of joy. It’s a lot of work.

It took Bryant two months to put together this year’s display that was made up of 46 Christmas trees – 48 if you count the outdoor trees – decorated in styles ranging from a seashore theme to Santas to flowers. Bryant says it usually takes about a month to take everything down.

“They all have a history behind them,” she said. “Usually, most people enjoy the Mardi Gras tree because it is one of the early ones that I started with in the ‘60s. Each year everybody that goes to Mardi Gras brings me back something, and most of the beads around this tree I got from Mardi Gras when I went in the early ‘60s.”

Many of the Christmas trees were made because of requests or made decorations that were gifted to Bryant.

“I’ve been a nanny for 35 years, so different children asked me to do different trees for them, and so I just started doing trees,” said Bryant. “And every child that I have baby-sat in Troup County, their picture or a little note is hanging on the children’s tree.”

Besides Christmas trees for the children who she has taken care of, Bryant also has trees dedicated to her parents, friends, and groups, like the LaGrange Woman’s Club.

“I just hope God will continue to give me the strength to do it because I love it,” said Bryant.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2156.