79-Year-Old Grandmother Decorates Home With 57 Christmas Trees

79-Year-Old Grandmother Decorates Home With 57 Christmas Trees

The Nash and Lillestrand family stands near Christmas décor in their home in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Lynn Hackman

Lynn Hackman

12/18/2023

Updated: 12/29/2023

CHINO HILLS, Calif.—When it comes to spreading the joy of the Christmas season, Sylvia Nash doesn’t just bake a few batches of cookies for friends and family; she bakes 170 dozen.
Nor does she simply decorate her Southern California home with a Christmas tree or two—she adorns it with more than 57 lovingly decorated trees.
“Over 12 years ago, I came up with the idea to share this blessed time of year with a group of women, without gifts or kids or husbands—just dessert, coffee and sweet bites in a beautiful Christmastime atmosphere,” Ms. Nash told The Epoch Times.
The spry 79-year-old said it all started when she noticed younger generations were skipping many Christmas traditions such as baking and decorating or that they weren’t bothering to put up a tree.
She decided to set an example by turning her home into a Christmas inspiration, inviting her favorite women’s group for a tour of the home to enjoy an afternoon of tea, coffee, an array of baked goodies, and a lot of good cheer.
“It started out with 50 women from the Christian Women’s Connection, and since then, the word has really spread,” Ms. Nash said. “This year, our lady’s afternoon had more than 350 reservations of young ladies and women of all ages.”
Ms. Nash admitted that she couldn’t do it without the handy support and organizational prowess of Loren Lillestrand, her husband of 21 years.
To meet her holiday deadlines, Ms. Nash begins decorating on Sept. 15, finishing the inside of the house by Oct. 15 and the outside by Nov. 11, just in time to celebrate Mr. Lillestrand’s Nov. 17 birthday.
After that, the baking begins, and by the beginning of December, more than 35 different types of cookies and confections—Ms. Nash refers to them as “bites”—totaling 2,000 pieces, are boxed, labeled, and stacked neatly in a large freezer in the garage.
Ms. Nash said bite favorites include her pistachio cherry bark, lemon bark, pecan caramel turtles, orange-slice cookies, and peppermint fudge, to name just a few.
Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A list of different types of Christmas trees in the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A list of different types of Christmas trees in the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“My goal when I started this tradition was to share the blessings of the Christmas season, to inspire women, their daughters, and granddaughters to start their own traditions and make Christmastime special,” Ms. Nash said.
Although the women’s home tour is her largest Christmas event, the couple will have at least five additional parties, and they'll host their executive coaching firm clients for a formal catered dinner.
Upon entering the two-story, 4,500 square-foot home, one sees two nine-foot traditionally decorated Christmas trees stand in the entry way and living room. A life-sized Santa, complete with white gloves, welcomes guests in the entry hall, and dozens more surround him.
More than 43 Santas in glistening hues of white and cream fill the large coffee table. A stunning crèche stands before a large fireplace and decorated mantel, and a 32-piece children’s choir appears to sing Christmas carols.
Cheerful and elegant Christmas decorations, statuettes, garland, flowers, lights, and candles fill every nook and cranny. The sights, sounds, and aromas of Christmas adorn every room, even the powder rooms, laundry room, and garage.
Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

In all, 34 thematic trees are on display downstairs and 23 upstairs, each bejeweled with its own unique character and design, almost all handmade and decorated by Ms. Nash. An additional 30 trees are on display outside.
In the downstairs bathroom, there’s a tree decorated with 85 angels, and another 29 are on display in the anteroom. A doll tree in the dining room is hung with almost 60 dolls.
Other cleverly themed trees include a teacup tree; a patriotic tree; a teddy bear tree; a fruit and vegetable tree; a snowman tree; an angel tree; a president’s tree; a reindeer tree; a costume jewelry tree; hat, purse, and shoe trees; and Ms. Nash’s favorite, the wild animal tree.
Newly added this year were a family tree, grape tree, fabric rag tree, and red, black, and white tree.
The home’s sweeping, curved staircase is adorned with garland, pinecones, fruit, baby’s breath, and more than 2,800 white and colored lights. Ms. Nash told The Epoch Times that decorating the banister alone takes at least eight hours.
The stairs lead to a grand foyer that showcases a Santa tree with 89 Santa ornaments; 37 more jolly St. Nicks are displayed nearby, and a Santa’s Village showcases another 49, totaling 303 throughout the home.
Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The upstairs hallway shelf and guest bedrooms display more than 83 nutcrackers. In the master bathroom, two large, stuffed teddy bears appear to be taking a holiday bubble bath in the oversized tub.
Pausing at her tub, Ms. Nash remarked that the bathing bear display would be more complete if there were two glasses of champagne and perhaps a candle on the ledge—her creativity knows no bounds.
To manage the elaborate power needs and lighting in each room, the couple developed a system by dividing the home into quadrants, enabling them to turn each area on and off, both inside and out, by remote control.
The tour wouldn’t have been complete without a peek at where all the glorious décor is housed the rest of the year, and Ms. Nash pointed out that none of it is warehoused offsite. Mr. Lillestrand built storage under the staircase and installed 88 feet of storage racks that line each side of the garage. The rafters above are filled with décor for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and the Fourth of July.
When asked about her best holiday tip, Ms. Nash said: “I always tell women to wrap all presents within 24 hours of being delivered or bringing them home. Don’t let them pile up!” She said that by saving time and anxiety as Christmas grows closer, wrapping presents promptly allows for other tasks, such as decorating or baking—those things she feels express the joy of the season.
“I love to share our blessings,” Ms. Nash said. “If my guests leave here with a smile, and joy in their hearts, or they’re inspired by what they’ve experienced, that is all I want—that’s what makes me truly happy. That’s what Christmas is all about.”
Christmas décor featuring various themes in the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes in the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christmas décor featuring various themes fills the home of the Nash and Lillestrand family in Chino Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

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Lynn Hackman

Lynn Hackman

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Lynn is a reporter for the Southern California edition of The Epoch Times, based in Orange County. She has enjoyed a 25-year career as a senior-level strategic public relations and contingency planning executive. An editor, blogger, and columnist, Lynn also has experience as a television and radio show producer and host. For six years, she was co-host of Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn on KOCI 101.5 FM. She is also active in the Newport Beach community, serving as chair emeritus of the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, among various positions with other local organizations.

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