Jessica and Jason Havards' home hits all the right Christmas notes Jennifer Stanley
Jessica Havard greets me at the door to her Nottingham subdivision home with a warm smile; you immediately feel at home in her presence. She invites me in, and I am taken with the inviting atmosphere of her home and have the distinct feeling it would feel the same way without the plethora of Christmas decorations that surround us.
Jessica and her husband, Jason, have lived in Conway for four years. She met Jason while both were completing their undergraduate studies at Harding University in Searcy. From there, Jason, a local pediatric dentist, went on to Baylor College of Dentistry in Texas and Jessica completed her degree in History at the University of Texas at Arlington. His career eventually brought the couple to Conway, but their time in Texas remains close to their hearts.
In fact, one of the first things one notices about the exterior of Jessica's home is the unusual, white stone used throughout the design. Jessica explains the white stone is a staple in Texas, and this is not the only homage to Jason's home state and the couple's time there. In fact, the stone serves as a good transitional medium for her Christmas dÃ©cor.
Jessica, an active member of Junior Auxiliary and a part time employee of a local laser cosmetic company, counts decorating, painting, photography, and blogging among extracurricular activities she enjoys. In fact, "I decorated everything myself," she says. "I particularly like the southwestern look and anything that has meaning to us," she adds.
"I decorate for every holiday; the only exception being the 4th of July," Jessica says. Her family always decorated for the holidays. "There were four kids in our family, so our tree was filled with homemade ornaments. I would say I grew up with a homey feel at Christmas," she adds. Jessica has incorporated touches of her upbringing, as well as Jason's, in her Christmas dÃ©cor which she describes as "rustic, homey, and southwesternâ€¦a good combination of both our families."
Jessica's immediate family enjoys interactive holiday traditions, including playing bingo for prizes and an assortment of other games. "Last Christmas we were given identical materials and put in groups of two: one was the designer and the other was the model. We had to make Santa suits with the materials, and the best suit won," she says with a smile. Jason's extended family enjoys a more traditional holiday with the meal and football games on the television. "We just enjoy being together," she added. This mix of interaction and tradition can also be noted in their holiday dÃ©cor - natural wood touches are found alongside playful pheasant feathers.
From the entryway, you first see the dining table, which is covered in greenery, pine cones, deer made from wood limbs, and touches of red and gold finishing and white lights. The centerpiece climbs to the light fixture, where the theme is continued, ornaments hanging toward the main centerpiece. Also from the entry, you see the Christmas tree, which is done in rustic touches reminiscent of the southwest. Wooden decorations, metal stars, chili peppers, and cattle ornaments are the highlights of the pheasant feather-topped tree.
The mantle defines Texas with its star motif, tin adornments, and gold fabrics. There are also lights in the greenery throughout the eat-in kitchen and pheasant feathers and red and gold touches on top of the armoire that translate the Christmas feel throughout the Havard's home. The coffee table includes greenery and another wooden deer, as well as antlers, giving the visitor a rustic feel without being reminiscent of a lodge. You leave the home with an overwhelming feeling of the southwest, and Texas in particular.
While much of the dÃ©cor is in fact wrought from Jason's southwestern upbringing, there are some elements that are true to Jessica's family's Christmas traditions in the playful, whimsical cattle ornaments and feathers. This is a testament to Jessica's decorating advice, which is, "Do what means something to you. Our holiday decorations speak to who were are and where we've spent our lives. I am sure it will grow and change with us."