116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Indoor Christmas decorating for most people likely involves one tree, one room and one weekend. Some people drop decorations into additional rooms. Others, well — they just do more. That group includes Shannon Hall. This year’s decorations involve six Christmas trees, five rooms plus the entry and two to three weeks of working nonstop.
In his eyes, “you can never have too much,” said Hall, 59, about Christmas decorations. “The more, the better.”
Seeing the decorations impressed neighbor Martha Booth so much that she recommended Hall’s home for a feature in The Gazette.
“He has such good taste, and everything is beautifully done. He is an asset to our neighborhood,” Booth said.
Hall has rows of shelves in the basement storing decorative Christmas items. Pictures attached to the outside of boxes help easily identify items, he said. When he was growing up, Hall said the family’s Christmas décor could fit in three medium boxes.
Hall begins decorating right after Halloween. That means first removing everything from shelves, cabinets and tabletops. While that may seem like a chore to some, Hall said “it’s not work if you enjoy it.” After many trips up and down the stairs, Hall can stop to appreciate the decorations.
Garland dripping with red and gold ornaments adorns the sash windows in the living room. The gold and white place settings, complete with a crystal knife rest, glisten in the dining room. Small red berries burst forth on the branches of a flocked Christmas tree in the family room.
Birds nestle in the tree along with birdhouses and nests in the four seasons room. Decals turn a white refrigerator door into a snowman silhouette. White lights wrap around the front window frames like icing lines the gingerbread houses in the kitchen.
Booth’s reaction to the decorations: awe, she said. Her favorite part is all the different trees, which each have a different theme.
Hall’s fondness for Christmas decorations began as a child. Every year, Hall, his mother and sister would drive around and look at the lights in the Quad Cities area. They saw elaborate Christmas displays. He vowed then to spread more Christmas cheer. “If I ever have the means to do it, I would,” Hall said.
He fulfilled his vow. Hall even went so far as to have a previous house rewired to accommodate lighting.
Hall began his collection in 1982. It has taken some time to grow. Back in the day, Hall said, he had a skimpy tree. He continues to buy more decorations but not during the season, he said. “I don’t look at labels, price, trends,” he said. “If I like it, I buy it.”
All the sparkle, sheen and shine, as Hall described it, hasn’t obscured the spirit of Christmas. The decorations “don’t mean anything if you don’t have family and friends,” Hall said.