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Love and Joy Reside

A Winter Wonderland in East Memphis

Article by Kit Garrott

Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

In East Memphis, a Christmas miracle unfolds each year, blending tradition, creativity, love and bit of technical engineering. Jim King and Everett Lawson transform their home into a holiday wonderland, dedicating nearly 500 hours of work to the interior and 100 hours to the exterior, spreading Christmas cheer throughout their beautiful home and in the hearts of friends and family lucky enough to experience the splendor. This year, the couple started decorating on April 1, working eight hours a day, sometimes longer. They completed most of the decorating by September 15 in anticipation of Jim's 70th birthday party in October. 

Every year, the decorations center around a unique theme, ranging from Rockefeller Center to a merry Harry Potter Christmas. Jim and Everett draw inspiration from old movies and White House Christmas specials, brainstorming together until a captivating theme emerges. For 2023, their theme is a take on the traditional Nutcracker Christmas, featuring life-sized nutcrackers in a quaint village setting.

One of the standout features of their decorations is the stunning backdrops. Using an artificial intelligence art generator, Everett carefully selects and customizes mesmerizing backdrops to complement their chosen theme. "We looked through thousands of options before choosing," Jim recalls. These backdrops are then meticulously printed and transformed into breathtaking scenes that adorn their walls.

The roots of this annual Christmas spectacular trace back over five decades, inspired by Jim's first partner, who had never celebrated Christmas. They started with a simple white spruce tree adorned with blue ornaments and ribbon, infusing their unique touch into the festive tradition. Nine years ago, the couple moved into their current home, reawakening and expanding their Christmas decorating tradition arriving at its present grandeur.

Continuously in pursuit of improvement and innovation, Jim walks through their home every morning, coffee in hand, pondering ways to make next year's display even more enchanting. He shares his ideas with Everett, who brings them to life with his own creative and technical expertise.

This year, their home boasts an astounding 29 fully decorated trees and 21 smaller trees adorned with twinkling lights. Unique features like the bedroom arch, dining room trees on raised stands and a hydraulic lift platform for the great room's tree, showcase their unwavering dedication to perfection. Even the tree stands are concealed to ensure a seamless and breathtaking presentation.

Jim and Everett's Christmas decorations embody love, tradition and the season's joy. Their artistic collaboration and commitment to craft have once again transformed their home into a magical winter wonderland. As we usher in the holidays, we are reminded that the true essence of Christmas is found in the details, each symbolic of love, joy and celebration. Jim and Everett's magical holiday decor is a testament to these timeless truths. 

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