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Wellsville’s Christmas decorations are hand-made and ‘down to earth’

December 2nd, 2011 Posted in Opinion

Story & photo by Allie Jeppson

WELLSVILLE – Five residents celebrate Christmas by decorating Main Street with homemade, hand-painted decorations displayed directly across from the city offices, an annual tradition in its 18th year.

Becky Bates, Carolyn Cooper, Leesa Cooper, Margo Pierce and Arlene Hall first started painting decorations as a service project for the city with the LDS Relief Society.

“We wanted to do a service project for the city,” Becky Bates, wife of Councilman Gary Bates, said. “Then all the kids liked it so much that we just added to it, and we keep doing it because the kids like it.”

Cut from plywood and then painted, the decorations feature things like a nativity, gingerbread houses, snowmen and snowflakes – the latest addition to this year’s display. Although some decorations come and go because of weathering, the oldest decoration, the nativity, was created 17 years ago with only a few touch-ups since then.

“Its amazing that it still looks as good as it does,” Wellsville native Carolyn Cooper said.

“It hasn’t really been vandalized either,” Bates added. “We’ve only had two things taken, a snowman and a snowflake.”

The decorations are set up around the beginning of December and remain until January. This year’s set-up only took three and a half hours due to the nice weather and extra help from the husbands of group members.

“I look at it as not elaborate, just down to earth, like Christmas should be,” Cooper said. It has an old-fashioned atmosphere and that’s what Christmas should be all about, she said.

Funded by the group that sells pies each year on Founder’s Day, additions are made to the display every three to four years, Bates said, though the group hopes to add more next year as well.

“It would look mighty drab to go down that Main Street,” Cooper said about Main Street without the decorations.

Many people who drive through town comment on how good the decorations look and really missed them the one year they weren’t set up due to bad weather, Cooper said.

“I think the community service is really important and we’ve really enjoyed it,” Cooper said.


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