When Kathy Vance opened the door to her shop recently, people were lined up to get in.
Kathy's Decorating and Designs is located in Elkins, and folks were lined up at the door to see Vance's new Christmas ideas. Nov. 3 marked the 20th anniversary of her Christmas open house, and most people have been coming there to shop for 20 years.
Vance said her shop originally was located on Randolph Avenue in the Wallace and Ross Building.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Brandy Metheny and daughter Gracie spend Nov. 3 getting into the spirit of Christmas. The duo picked up items to decorate for the holiday season.
"I was there four years, and moved to the current location on Second Street 16 years ago," Vance said.
Vance said she considers her decorating ability a God-given talent.
"As a small child I had a very creative mind," she said. "I would design a big Barbie doll house and make all of the furniture in it. It was lots of work, and I was inspired and excited to work and bring it all together."
She has followed the same example for her Christmas open houses through the years.
"I can see what things will look like in my mind when they are completed," Vance said. "Not everyone can do that. I go all over and shop for my unique decorations, and then visualize how each room will look."
Valley resident Deni Cooper was shopping at the Christmas open house.
"I enjoy coming here every year to shop," Cooper said. "I get lots of ideas and love to see the decorations Kathy uses. She goes all over to get the decorations."
Cooper said her favorite decorations are snowmen.
"I have two trees at home that have nothing but snowmen," she said.
Vance said she has fun decorating, and then watching people come and enjoy her displays. At the end of the event, parts of each display and sometimes the entire arrangement are gone.
She said her inspiration for this year is jingle bells, and she thinks snowmen will be a hot-selling item.
"The problem is I have no way of knowing what will sell," she said.
"Some years an item will not sell," Vance said. "But the next year I will use it in a different arrangement and it immediately flies out the door."
Merllene Yorkey and Mary Bright Crowther were the elves helping Vance during her open house.
"I have been helping Kathy for 20 years," Yorkey said. "There is just nothing like this in the area. She has something different, exciting and new each year. I look forward to this open house."
"This is my second year helping Kathy," Bright Crowther said. "Each room is decorated differently, and the displays can suit anybody's needs. Kathy goes the extra step and adds even those little touches."
Vance said folks come from all over to shop and attend her Christmas open house.
"Every year I have been open, a woman from Clarksburg comes to shop with her daughter," Vance said. "I think people enjoy seeing what arrangements I have created, and I hope it jump-starts their Christmas season and gets them excited for the holidays."
Vance said she hopes those attending her Christmas open house left feeling good.
"We will surround you with the Christmas spirit," Vance said. "I hope coming to my open house will inspire you to go home, drag out your Christmas things, and come in to replace or add to your collection."