A Holiday Haven
The Nowell Home

By Kacy Green • Photography by Brian W. McDonald

The Christmas season is ushered in with carols, lights and festive décor. Along with that comes an exciting air of expectancy. There’s a little extra pep, a twinkle and depth in the soul. Approaching the Dothan, Alabama, home of Dr. Mike and Beth Nowell, the warmth of Christmas emanates beautifully. Lights strewn gracefully across the front lawn set a welcoming tone for this holiday haven, and bring due attention to Santa and Mrs. Claus, who gladly receive guests from a window above the front door.

“We moved into this home December 21, 2012,” Beth says. “We put up a tree, turned on the lights and had only one decoration for the tree. We had Dobb’s Bar-B-Que on Christmas Eve.” She and Mike giggle softly, remembering that first year. “We didn’t have anything on the bookshelves,” Mike adds. “We didn’t have any gifts that year either.” Beth asserts, “As a matter of fact, I put the stockings up, and whatever would fit into the stockings were the only gifts we shared.” The holidays are extra special to the Nowells, with their anniversary falling just a few days before, one more sprinkle adding to the magic of a season that brings so much joy.

If we had to sum up what Christmas means to us—we love the food, Santa Claus and creating new traditions. We enjoy the lights, the colors and the flair, but at the center of it all is our family and our faith. Oh—and football, of course!

The years that have followed that first in their new abode more than make up for that initial, sparsely decorated holiday. These days, the home is adorned with such elegance and grace it might appear that Christmas actually lives here year-round. Each room uniquely flaunts a décor all it’s own, with holiday treasures nestled inside.

In the formal dining room sits a Christmas tree Beth refers to as their “memory tree.” It is laden with ornaments collected over the years, each holding a significant place in family history, laced with memories of their lives. “This was our first,” Beth affirms as she reaches to the top of the tree, lifting an ornament engraved with their names. “We got this in Helen, Georgia, on our honeymoon in 1982.” She continues down the tree, pointing out various items, explaining their significance. Beth raises a framed ornament holding a family photo. “Each year, I just replace the picture in this frame with a current one,” she tells.

“Over the years, we’ve received items from our parents. These were made by Mike’s mom,” Beth notes, pointing out small, vintage-style crotched heirloom ornaments known as “squeeze ’ems.” “Our grandchildren just love them,” Beth shares, pinching the sides together to open an ornament, revealing a candy kiss tucked inside. “Doing this tree forced me to think about how to decorate this year,” she adds, explaining that the memory tree sets the pace, tracing a collectible timeline of their lives, offering solid ground for the roots of tradition to grow ...  [subscribe to read full article and see more photos]