We got a glimpse of the Christmas decorations of historic Oaks homes


Festive lights, angels, trees and window candles to welcome visitors will be the order of the day at Beaumont this weekend.

The Oaks Historic District Neighborhood Association will host the Homes for the Holidays Open House, 3-7 p.m., Sunday. The event will feature four historic homes, located at 2380 Long, 2550 Long, 2405 Ashley and 2490 Ashley, which are decorated for the holidays. Tickets are $25 and the first 100 people will receive decorated sugar cookies.

Weldene Smith said her aesthetic stems from growing up in Pennsylvania, incorporating traditional candles in the window.

“My house is very eclectic and vintage. It’s not country, it’s not Texas,” she said. “The candles in all the windows are something you don’t see a lot here In the East, in the Northeast especially, it’s a very common practice. It’s a bit colonial, and I did that for years and years and years and years and years.

The centerpiece of Smith’s decorations is a Christmas tree that features a variety of ornaments, each of which incorporates a keepsake.

“I have my mother’s first tree ornaments – they are 80 years old,” she said. “I have all the ornaments from my childhood. And every year I buy a Santa Claus with the idea that when my grandchildren grow up, I will give them Santa Claus.

Husband Graeme said his contribution to the project was simply to provide the manual labor,

“I always believed that the house belonged to the woman,” he says, smiling. “She says I’m just doing whatever is necessary.”

One thing visitors won’t see in the Smith home is Jesus in the manger. Weldene has a manger in the hall, but the manger is empty and the sages are in a separate room.

“My Nativity grows with Christmas and Christmas morning, and then we have Jesus,” she said. “The little mages are in this room because they don’t get there until January 6th. I don’t remove any decorations before the epiphany.

Judith Cobbett and Dean Tucker’s house is mostly red, giving it a festive look, and the decorations match Judith’s interest.

“I collect antique French furniture and have had it for maybe 30, 40 years,” Judith said. “So I try to keep an antique sense of the decorations.”

Judith said she spent about two weeks decorating the house and did all the arrangements herself. And when looking for ornaments, she looks for quirky and ornate items that match the red color scheme. She said she was looking forward to welcoming visitors.

“I’ve been here for over 20 years and love decorating for Christmas, so I felt like this was another way for others to enjoy my decorations,” she said.

Visitors should be sure to check out a vintage wax angel that dates to the 1960s. Judith bought it when her daughter was five. He is still in good condition, even though he lost a finger. Outside of the kitchen, which is centered around Santa Claus, there’s at least one angel in every room.

In what seems like a consistent theme, Dean said his role was simply to help, hang lights, and move things around.

“I’m the worker and she’s the mastermind – I just do what she says,” he said.

Besides visiting homes, Judith has another reason for putting so much effort into holiday decorations.

“My whole family is coming for Christmas – my daughter, my granddaughters, my great-granddaughters,” she said. “So it’s going to be an exciting Christmas.”

In addition to the Holiday Homes Tour, Chambers House Museum and McFaddin-Ward House Museum, both located in the Historic District, will host free open houses on the same day between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The Oaks Historic District is the largest historic district in Texas, and the money raised will be used for civic projects. In the past, the organization has contributed to the Ida Reed Dog Park, sponsorship of the town of Beaumont’s Dogtoberfest, an annual scholarship for local college students, art bike racks along Calder, and several small free libraries.

Tickets are available online at theoakshomesfortheholidays.eventbrite.com. Holiday House tickets are also available at Chambers House and McFaddin-Ward House. For more details, visit the Oaks Historic District Facebook page.

Andy Coughlan is a freelance columnist.


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