Christmas in Chesterville

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Walk into Rose Marie McCain’s home in December and you can’t help but feel the Christmas spirit.
Everywhere, there are Santas, snowmen, poinsettias, wreaths, nativity scenes, holiday plates and platters, and framed pictures of old Saint Nick. And, of course, a huge Christmas tree.
“My goal one day is to have everything Christmas in my house during the holidays,” said McCain, 62. “I try to add something new every year.”
Three years ago, McCain and her husband, Don, moved to Chesterville Road after spending 27 years in Portugal as missionaries for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
So a lot of her decorations are from Europe, including Santas, ornaments, furniture and wall-hangings.
“I’ve always decorated big-time at Christmas,” said McCain, who taught math at Tupelo High School for two years before retiring in June. “I grew up in a family that went over the top at Christmas.”
McCain hasn’t let them down.
She begins dragging out some 20 boxes of decorations just after Thanksgiving. Down comes Don’s artwork, which usually adorns the home’s walls, and up go dozens of Christmas-themed pictures, many of them created by McCain.
Dozens of Santas line the fireplace hearth and a table in the living room is covered in snowmen. A bench in the front entryway is filled with nativity scenes she has collected from Portugal, Peru, Germany and the Holy Land.
“All of them have meaning,” she said. “Some I’ve bought and some have been given to me. In my opinion, though, the prettiest thing in the whole house is the mantle because Don built it for me. I’d never had one before – never even had a fireplace.”

Crazy about collecting
McCain’s tree is covered with white lights, red garland, German soldier
ornaments, brightly colored balls, Portuguese tins, cross-stitched trinkets and felt ornaments.
“I made those felt ornaments the first year we were married, when we didn’t have much money,” she said as she gingerly touched one.
McCain, a mother of two and grandmother of five, said she’s put only half of her ornaments on the tree.
“This year, I wanted something different,” she said.
She also gave about 15 Santas to a daughter, Amy Boone Buzzell of Tupelo, so she could begin her own collection.
And collecting is something McCain knows a thing or two about. Her passion isn’t limited just to Christmas baubles: She also collects tins, teacups, teapots, pitchers, rolling pins and china.
“I collect everything. Can you not tell?” she said, laughing.
While McCain isn’t one to brag about her home, she certainly doesn’t turn people away from it, especially during the holidays.
“Don and I decided our gift to each other is having people over at Christmastime,” she said. “Part of our ministry was to open our home to people – to share what we had. We continue to do that today.”

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