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December 4, 2013

Old-fashioned Christmas marks Maille home

PLATTSBURGH — For Barbara Maille, Christmas decorating is about elegance and simplicity.

And she enjoys adding to her collection, which is why, she said, laughing, “I have a basement full of decorations that I need to purge.” 

While she attributes her storage habits to her father, the late Bob Venne of Champlain, she said it was her mother, Theresa, who inspired her passion for Christmas decorating.

“I get a lot of ideas from my mother, and she taught me well,” Maille said.

Maille’s chosen style is that of an old-fashioned, rustic holiday. Seeing a rise in commercialized, cartoon-branded decorations, she prefers decorations that hark back to Christmases of old.

“I like the bows, the boughs, the wreaths,” she said.

And she enjoys decorating the home herself, though her husband, Michael, and sons, Ryan and Jordan, help carry the seasonal adornments up from the basement.

Garland and wreaths frame the porch of the Maille home, while red bows line a nearby fence.

Waiting by the door to greet visitors is a motion-activated singing Santa Claus, one of the few technological breaks from Maille’s traditional style.

“Every new postman that comes to the door, I think, is startled,” she said.

The inside of the home features stuffed toys representing Arctic animals, including a polar bear, that welcome visitors to the living room.

The bear is Maille’s favorite decoration — she bought it in 2006 to use as a decoration at the Clinton County Government Center, where she served for 35 years as secretary for Judge Patrick McGill.

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