The short of it:
Favorite item in home: My new buffet piece in the dining room
What I am reading: Right now I am currently listening to The Patriarch on Audible books when I walk in the morning… No time to sit and actually read this time of year. : )
What I am listening to: Christmas music and top 40
Favorite thing about Effingham: That is constantly growing and changing with industry
Wild card question... What do you want people to know about you? Being on vacation ….on a beach…….no phones…...is the best form of relaxation for me…
The long of it:
If you’ve been to the Keller Convention Center in Effingham, IL anytime in the past, oh, 28 years then you’ve probably seen Patty Greene. She’s the one booking it around the place in heels, a skirt and beautiful hair-commercial hair. It’s so bouncy and soft-looking, you can’t miss her.
Originally from Springfield, IL she met her husband, Troy, while at Eastern Illinois University where she invited him to a sorority formal and they hit it off. What got her the job at Keller was experience in organizing parties for politicians, which is what she was doing when she became engaged to Troy and was making the move to Effingham. (Ask her about the T-Town church picnics she and her family attended as guests of Chuck Hartke back in the day.) Doris Keller hired her on the spot. She’s been organizing events at the place ever since.
If you’ve been to the Convention Center at Christmastime, then you understand the extent to which they decorate for Christmas. It’s quite something. Like displays in which you could climb up in and take a selfie with a cherub. As with every time I see an elaborate Christmas display I have to wonder who’s the poor soul who has to put it all up and take it down (the worst) and where do they store it all? Don’t worry that’s not Patty’s job but the whole decorating for Christmas thing has rubbed off on her over the past couple of decades.
That’s how she’s ended up with no fewer than eight (8!) decorated Christmas trees in her home. That and an after-Christmas-sales-shopping-for-decorations ritual she’s had with her mom since before she got married. Her favorite spots in Springfield, IL to hit are Homescapes and JB Interiors and then lunch at Lake Pointe Grill.
After Tytia and I took a minute to absorb the beautiful Christmas explosion around us Patty began the tour of her home with her favorite tree, The Swarovski Tree. Every year Swarovski releases a new ornament that is only available for a limited time and Patty has been getting them for her birthday and Christmas for a number of years. Hence the tree dedicated to them.
Among her trees Patty also has a large Department 56 village set up. This is a collection ten years in the making.
As you walk through the house you'll encounter the most colorful room of all - The Candy Cane Room. She splashes out beyond the tree to have this theme encompass an entire room. Lots and lots of red. In the past this room contained her Grinch Tree and she does plan to do that one again.
Everything on this tree came from the Department 56 store in Las Vegas.
As if the Swarovski Tree isn’t glam enough, Patty also has a Waterford tree. It contains, among others, the gorgeous Time Square ornament which is no longer available. This tree morphs into her New Year’s Eve tree when she adds party hats and horns to it after Christmas.
This tree is aptly named “The Gold Tree”. On it she has some Swarovski ornaments but also ornaments with sentimental value like Connor’s preschool shoe. He’s now 19 years old. I think we’ve all got an ornament like this that brings tears to our eyes when we pull it out of the box each year. We both stood there tearful when she read it aloud. Moms!
Patty’s dining room chairs also hold sentimental value. Years ago the chairs themselves came from the dining room at the Ramada Inn and with inheritance money from her departed grandma she had the stain removed and then pickled the wood and had them recovered. They fit perfectly into her home AND are meaningful.
She’s even got a sports themed tree in the basement. Her University of Illinois tree is just that – a tree devoted to all things U of I. Their son, Connor, attends the school and every year they hold a Braggin' Rights game party.
And scattered throughout her house she's put loads of garland, ornaments and smaller trees. Look at how a few simple things like a large glass jar filled with ornaments and topped off with a little greenery really creates a festive statement.
The Greene home is tastefully awash in the Christmas spirit with wonderful memories of year's past in every corner. We hope this home inspires you to do a little more decorating this year!
// Next issue: Chandra and Ray Niemerg - A Christmas Edition
About the Photographer
Tytia Habing is an award-winning and highly regarded fine art, family and commercial photographer based in the Effingham, Illinois area. You can see her work at www.tytiahabingphotography.com