One grandmother in Swansea, a city in southern Wales, might be giving Santa’s workshop a run for its money in the Christmas decorating department.
Sylvia Pope, 69, has a collection of 1,764 Christmas baubles, which she individually hangs from her living room ceiling, starting in September and building up to Christmas day. She includes a few Christmas lights in the corners of the room and on the hearth, but not too many because the ornaments on the ceiling are the main attraction.
“I pin them up. I start in September because if I go out and I see something, I buy it,” Pope told ABCNews.com. “I put them up until Christmas. And then I don’t take them down until March. It takes so long to put them up, so it’s quite silly only to leave them up for a day or two.”
Pope has been decorating her ceiling for 12 years now. She said she originally got the idea after attending a holiday party with her son in 1999, at which the host had ornaments on the ceiling. As soon as she saw them, she decided to start collecting enough baubles to have an impressive display the following year.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh.’ That’s what started me. From then on, I bought as many baubles as I could. I get different ones now. Not just the round baubles, all the different shapes and sizes,” Pope said.
When asked where she finds her favorite Christmas baubles, Pope reminisced about her one-time trip to Macy’s.
“Every time we go somewhere on a holiday or anything like that, I always pick up some baubles,” Pope said. “My best holiday was New York. When I went into Macy’s, I walked in and I thought I’d gone to heaven. There was so much there I had to buy another bag in New York just to transport the baubles back home.
“Oh my goodness, I had a big bag full. I spent maybe $300 on Christmas ornaments. I’ve got the New York Yankees, I’ve got their stadium, I’ve got the Empire State Building. I’ve got the Statue of Liberty, all of the shapes.”
When the ornaments aren’t on full display in her living room, they are carefully tucked away in boxes waiting to once again be brought out for Pope’s grandchildren’s enjoyment.
“I usually have 30 or so boxes in my attic. They’re so delicate. Some are quite special, so I wrap them in tissue paper and put them in the boxes and then put them away,” Pope said. “My grandchildren love it. They think it’s fantastic. They play, ‘Let’s look who can find a certain bauble.’ I’ve got a lot of Disney characters, Red Riding Hood and the wolf. They all look to see which ones they can find. They look to find their names. It’s an eye spy game.”
Pope started getting media attention for her unusual decorating technique last year, but said she doesn’t do it for the fame. Rather, just for the kicks.
“I just do it because I enjoy it,” Pope said. “A lot of people might think it’s a novel idea. But I like it. I do it for my pleasure and my children’s pleasure. We’ve all got different ideas of pleasure but it’s the one thing I enjoy doing and they always knows as soon as they walk through the door, ‘Gran’s got her baubles.’ People come here and you can’t take your eyes off it. I don’t think it’s too gaudy, I think it looks nice.”