Holiday decorating taken up a notch

Helena Rodriguez

It’s not too late to start decking the halls, and tables, and chairs, and place setting and whatever else you want to use to spread holiday cheer with.
More than 500 people turned out to the Sixth Annual Holiday Happenings event Saturday at the Eastern New Mexico University Ballroom to get ideas on holiday decorating in just about every imaginable way.
With careful attention to detail, 68 tables were uniquely decorated with a variety of themes and were the center of attention at the Altrusa International, Inc, event, which also included a silent auction, Christmas fashion show and dinner. From snowmen to Southwest, from horses to even a rock ‘n roll theme, each table was carefully decorated for the holidays with elegant centerpieces, dinnerware and other special touches.
Marcia Brown of Prestige Carpets admitted she got her idea to place stockings on each chair at her “Herald the Season” table straight out of a magazine.
“I ordered baby’s breath from IGA and cut the greenery to place in the stockings from my backyard,” Brown said. Another special touch to her table was napkins wrapped with strings of jingle bells.
“I’m just amazed that people keep coming up with different things,” said Brown, who has been an Altrusan for 18 years. “After the first year, I thought it would never get that good again, but it just keeps getting better.”
Altrusa began Holiday Happenings in December of 1998 at the Memorial Building, according to Holiday Happenings chairperson Sheryl Borden.
“That first year, we only had 23 tables. Now we have grown to 68 tables,” Borden said. “This is our biggest fund raiser of the year. We hope to raise $6,000 to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the hospital chapel and to buy books for elementary school libraries.”
Saturday’s Holiday Happenings event inspired people, such as Scotty Savage, to go the whole nine yards in their holiday decorating.
“I am getting marvelous ideas here. They’ve got some really good ideas on things you can do with chairs, like putting wreaths and Santa Clauses on them,” Savage said.
“My friend has a table every year and I come as her guest,” Ginger Harper said. “I love to get ideas. I know I’ve been using a lot of snowmen in my decorating this year and that seems to be the thing because there are a lot of snowmen here, too.”
Harper added, “I just like the feeling in the air here, the atmosphere, very enthusiastic and exciting. Some people are so creative. It is amazing to see what neat ideas they come up.”
Lea Anne Johnson created a “New Mexico Christmas” at her table, complete with bright, Southwest chair covers, chili pepper ornaments on the Southwest Christmas tree, Southwest napkins with sprigs of holly and adorable gift baskets at each place setting filled with gifts from around New Mexico.
“Some people are more elegant when they decorate,” Johnson said. “I’m more cute.”