Four generations of holiday tradition inspire Christmas home decor

Monday, January 9, 2017
The dining room of Jan Stapleton's and Jim Crapenhost's home is decorated in royal blue to match hanging artwork painted by Stapleton's uncle. (Jessica Crabtree/Democrat-News)

This is the final article in a series of five featuring homes that were part of the 2016 Christmas Homes Tour, sponsored by Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog.

As the fourth generation to live in the family home, Jan Stapleton and Jim Crapenhost are no strangers to celebrating and decorating for Christmas.

"I don't remember my great-grandparents, but my grandparents were Christmas fanatics," Stapleton said. "That's where it started, and it became, you know, literally right after Halloween, everything was out. Every night my grandfather would get down on the floor with us and we'd get under the tree and he'd say, 'What do you think this is?' and we did it every night for a month; we were so excited. They were very children-friendly people."

Stapleton explained that David and Florence VanMeter were the first to live in the home, who also ran the family farm out by the park. When her grandmother got married, they went and farmed, had Stapleton's mother, and moved back in to town.

"They took care of David and Florence as they died, and then lived here until their death, and then my mom moved in, and then I moved in," she said.

She added that family photos of all who have lived in the house are showcased throughout the home.

Stapleton has carried on the tradition by beginning Christmas decorating the day after Halloween.

"We took the ghost down but we still had the pumpkins out, so it looked a little weird," Crapenhost added.

Decorations were gradually put up as the family continued on with their day-to-day lives.

"It's hard to get this ready and live," Stapleton added. She continued adding small touches up to the day of the Christmas Homes Tour.

Their home was one of five displayed during the Christmas Homes Tour, sponsored by Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog, to benefit the Jim the Wonder Dog Museum and Park. This year was the first year the home was included in the tour.

The home was built around 1900, and has been in the family since, with each generation displaying their own "touch and flair."

"We haven't done any major remodeling in my lifetime," she said.

She added that she only made a few small changes to the home, including removing sea green carpet from all of the floors, revealing beautiful hardwood.

"They are all original floors," she said. "Then I got the idea, with help from an interior designer, to do the checkered pattern wood stain on the floor because it seemed to be what people are most intrigued about."

She also plans to make some cosmetic changes to the kitchen.

A Christmas tree decked in red and black stands in Jan Stapleton and Jim Crapenhost's home to match the rest of the living room's decor. (Jessica Crabtree/Democrat-News)

"What I love about having the multiple generations is that there's pieces of each generation in the house," she said as she looked around the room.

Stapleton said she has a few steam trunks from her grandmother, who used them for traveling. When her grandmother traveled, she would collect sea shells and place them in a glass table. Stapleton said that she continues the tradition of gathering shells to place in the table, too.

The tour of the home began in the living room, where Stapleton has a variety of Christmas decorations, including a tree, in colors of red and black.

"I have an affinity for red and black . . . it's kind of difficult to find black Christmas items," she said.

Red and white stockings hung on the mantel dangle above poinsettias.

In the dining room, the table is decorated in royal blue to match hanging artwork done by Stapleton's uncle. A sculpture made by Adam Arth stands in a corner, topped with a Santa hat.

A red, grey and white gnome village sits on a shelf near the master bedroom.

The staircase was next on the tour, which is lined in lighted greenery and silver ribbon.

At the top of the staircase sits the "landing room," which includes antiques that Stapleton's parents collected over the years.

The "landing room" is filled with antiques that Jan Stapleton's parents collected over the years. The doll sitting on the bed and a Santa doll in the room were made by Stapleton's mother. (Jessica Crabtree/Democrat-News)

"I don't know what period they are from, but they are very old, beautiful pieces," she said. "Both the Santa and the doll on the bed were made by my mother. She had a porcelain doll shop here in this house."

The nearby guest room had more of a laid-back style, with a kid-friendly tree and decorations.

"The guest room is really just made for kids to come visit, just kind of a collection," she said.

More dolls fill the room, all of which have been made by family members.

The bathroom upstairs is all original, besides the toilet and paint colors. The sink still contains separate faucets for hot and cold water.

"It's interesting to try and get warm water," Stapleton added.

Back downstairs in the front room, the largest tree stands with an "elf" stuck in the tree. Stapleton said she thinks there are 13 Christmas trees total in the home.

On the front porch, an enormous wreath hangs in the front window, complete with lights. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus greet those who come and go from the home.

Photo Gallery:

Contact Jessica Crabtree at

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: