Twinkly lights, festive stockings, and creamy eggnog – Christmas time is here. Sure, it may be considered a religious Christian holiday but that doesn’t mean Christians are the only people that can take part in all of its festivities.
Christmas enthusiast Deborah Wardell is locally known as the Jewish Elf. For years, she has been transforming her home into an over-the-top Wardell Wonderland during the holiday season. As part of our Creative Living series, we visited her home to get a look at how she decks out her place during the Winter.
What started as a hobby quickly turned into a seasonal career. “I would just do things at home and people would ask me to do it for them,” she revealed in an interview with The MIX. Since starting this journey, businesses have reached out to her for help with bringing the magic to the workplace. Although she has a natural knack for decorating, her childhood was devoid of Christmas traditions and activities.
“We celebrated Hanukkah at home,” she said. “I was always very envious of my friends. [Celebrating Christmas] looked like so much fun.”
She got her first taste of Christmas the year she got married.”My husband asked if we could just put lights on a plant in the corner,” she admitted. “It’s his fault. It started my addiction for that. Lights, and joy, and sharing, and all the fun. It’s his fault.”
Now, she’s hooked. From wooden branches to twinkling fairy lights to traditional ornaments, Wardell has built up a massive collection of trinkets and decorative pieces. In fact, she has even managed to fill up three warehouses with her supplies. With such a wide variety of knick-knacks, she has the ability to make each home as unique as its owner.
“The client tells me their style,” she said. “Their home, their personality, it tells me their style.”
And since the long-time decorator is tailoring to the client’s tastes, it’s common for the customer to believe that their home is the best.
“Everybody thinks that their house is the most beautiful and that’s the best part. I love when people are so proud of their Christmas decor. They should be. It’s like putting a party dress on your house. You’re putting bows and ribbons. Everybody’s so proud and welcoming. Everybody’s is beautiful.”
The Jewish Elf has dedicated a lot of time to this tradition and it doesn’t sound like she’ll be stopping anytime soon. “I think, “I’m not going to decorate this year. I’m not going to do it. I’m not into it. I’m not into it,'” she said. “And then it hits me. And it’s just full steam. I have to do it. It’s compulsive.”
The Christmas magic lives on in the Wardell household and this spirited grandmother plans to keep it alive for all upcoming Christmases.
“I love to share joy. Everybody has a story. Everybody has loss and sorrow. This is the time of year to celebrate. Celebrate all the good things. It’s all about family and friends.”
For more photos of her holiday home, check out the gallery below: