By Sophie Karatsikis | Photos by Laura’s Focus Photography


It’s a true labor of love. The halls are decked; the lights are strung up on the tree with care; and Santa’s sleigh is parked on the front porch watched over closely by a curious fox. Christmas is the time of year that lifetime residents of the New River Valley, Harriet and Jeff Price, like to transform their picturesque mountain home into a winter wonderland.

This home is truly one of a kind right down to its construction and location.  Jeff custom designed and built it in 1992 in a prime location on a bluff in Pulaski County that overlooks the New River and the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech. The 8,500 square foot home is surrounded by 31 acres of woods, making its holiday transformation that much more magical.

”We usually begin decorating right after Thanksgiving, so we can enjoy it for the holidays,” says Harriet.

The extensive decoration process is centered on bright colors that speak to the season. One of their many Christmas trees resides in the main living area, towering 12 feet over the spacious room with an array of fun and festive decorations, such as little packages, ribbons and giant, round candy and gingerbread ornaments. A ladder is perched lightly on one side where a line of elves is working hard to finish the decorations.

Not only do the elves need a ladder to decorate the massive tree, but the Prices and their children need a ladder of their own to reach the tippity-top and adorn the summit. On another wall in the living room,  the fireplace is complete with stockings hung and waiting for Christmas Eve stuffing.  Santa is close by to get the job done.

Continuing through the house and into the den area, another decadent tree is featured. “This one is natural and elegant with white, snowy features and classic, delicate ornaments,” Harriet points out. It sports timeless designs and images of children sledding on a winter day. This tranquil and cozy holiday vision is warm and friendly, nestled alongside a crackling fire in the brick fireplace.

Elves are scattered throughout the house, sneakily perched in corners, decorating tables and hanging from the ceiling. In the formal dining room, these curious creatures dangle from the chandelier and are tucked behind frosted pine branches and pinecones on the table. With these special helpers, the Price’s tedious decoration process takes on a magical quality.

The holiday spirit does not stop there! The decorations keep going into the kitchen and beyond. In the heart of the home, the kitchen, sits a beautiful gingerbread house complete with its own holiday wreath on a large, front window. There is also an assortment of nutcrackers at the ready on a side table. These little fellows of all shapes and sizes and designs add a little humor to some of the more traditional holiday decorations. Decorative jars of seasonal treats like candy ribbon are sure to entice anyone’s sweet tooth. The dedicated holiday spirit that fuels this intense and intricate decoration process is a family tradition for Harriet.

“Christmas has always been a special time since I was growing up.  My mother was big on Christmas decorating, so I definitely inherited this tradition from her,” she says.

When all the decorations are perfectly in place, with the help of the whole Price clan and Interior Designer Edith-Anne Duncan, the family is ready to host its annual company Christmas party. What better way to share the joys and decadence of the season than opening your doors to friends and family into a personal, winter wonderland?

Sophie Karatsikis is a Virginia Tech senior and intern and assistant editor at New River Valley Magazine. She joins her family in Yorktown, VA., to decorate and celebrate the holidays.


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