Holiday Sparkle: Jeweled Christmas continues to wow tourists
Published 2:01 am Thursday, December 13, 2018
NATCHEZ — Christmas and jewelry work together to create an elaborate Christmas.
Ginger Hyland has been combining the two for Jeweled Christmas events to bring the Christmas spirit to people for more than 20 years.
When Hyland lived in California, she had a ranch north of Los Angeles in the mountains but because of the connection her parents had to Natchez she fell in love with the city’s large, antebellum houses.
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“When the neighboring property to our ranch came up for sale with a broken down Victorian farmhouse attached to it, built in 1892, that became my first restoration,” Hyland said.
After four years of restoring that house, Hyland said friends of friends began traveling to see the house she had brought back to life.
“All of a sudden I’m in the tour business, and so people started coming from all over California to see my little house in the middle of nowhere,” Hyland said. “And they wanted to come at Christmastime.”
Hyland said she began doing elaborate Christmases and the more she decorated the more people would attend. After three years of hosting tours of her house during the holidays, Hyland said she heard two things repeatedly.
“The first is that for many people coming to see my house at Christmastime was the only Christmas they had. For the other group of people they’d became jaded about Christmas. Then they would come see my house, and they’d gone home and bought lights and a tree and they had begun to feel the spirit of Christmas again,” Hyland said. “People would tell me these stories and after that I decided, OK, because of those two things I will do the most elaborate Christmas I could think of.”
Hyland said she knew making an elaborate Christmas would mean pairing Christmas with jewelry, but she wasn’t sure how to go about combining the two.
Hyland said she started going to different antiques dealers or anyplace she could think of looking for costume jewelry that was old, sparkly and in good condition to be part of her Christmas decorations.
“The last 22 years have been figuring out how to bring Christmas and jewelry together,” Hyland said. “I did my first Christmas in 1998 in California and people responded so well to it that I continued on.”
After leaving California, Hyland said she took the Jeweled Christmas to Santa Fe, New Mexico, before settling down in Natchez.
Hyland’s first year in Natchez, she met her husband, James, who she describes as a natural designer.
“While I did the collecting and special projects and the collaborations and all of that he did the designs, so he did the big trees and chandeliers. It makes a great pairing,” Hyland said.
Hyland said it takes five weeks to put up the jeweled Christmas and three weeks to take it down, but the jeweled Christmas event is on her mind all year long.
The purpose for hosting tours at the house each Christmas, Hyland said, is so people walk away happier than when they arrived.
“I think one of the moments I remember the most is when a photographer came in here, and he wasn’t a happy man,” Hyland said. “When he got here, he never looked up. Then he walks into the piano room, which was covered in massive amounts of jewelry, and he raises his head slowly. Then he began looking at all that was here, and he just started to giggle. And he was happy the whole rest of the time he was here. And I think that says it all.”
Tickets for the Jeweled Christmas at The Towers antebellum mansion, 801 Myrtle Ave., Natchez, can be purchased for $20 a person and $40 for candle-lit tours, which will be 7 p.m. Friday and again on Dec. 21.
For more information about the Jeweled Christmas tours at The Towers, or to purchase tickets, call 601-446-6890 or visit Thetowersofnatchez.com.