GALENA, Kan. — This weekend marks the time when a majority of people will start decorating for Christmas.
Not the case for a Galena woman. She started weeks ago, and, by no means, is it the first time.
“It kind of started way back when we were little and it just has lived through ever since,” said Ashley Groves.
Ashley Groves is talking about her passion for Christmas decorating, something that is a big deal in the Qualls and Hall families.
She’s one of the grandchildren of the late Bill Hall, an icon in the Galena community.
She’s made it a big deal in the Groves family.
The mayor of Galena and business teacher at Galena High School, married to Cherokee County Sheriff, David Groves.
“I’ve, I’ve always enjoyed Christmas. It’s a special time of year,” said David Groves.
And the Christmas season for the Groves starts early, just after Halloween.
“I post my tree every year on Facebook, and now I do it with the preface that I don’t care about all the naysayers and all the haters that are gonna say something, because this is what I want to do and it’s my house and I’m gonna do it anyway,” said Ashley.
“Since I’ve known Ashley, I’ve never known her not to have a Christmas tree up, regardless of the time of year. She’s always got one up,” said David.
“I think it brings so much joy. I know everybody can’t say that about the holidays. There’s a lot of sadness and hard times, too, but there’s just something about lights on and Christmas music and the cooler weather that makes people happy,” said Ashley.
And, for the first time this year, the Groves will see Christmas through their son’s eyes.
They are parents for the first time.
“This year has been quite an experience. You know, this time last year, we didn’t expect to be new parents, but we’ve got a little one in the house this year, and we’re excited for Christmas and start making memories with him,” said David.
“Whether it’s my husband or my sisters or my parents, they could get through life without me. It’d be sad and it’d be hard, but they could get through life without me, but that little boy needs me. So, I think that’s been the biggest thing is there’s somebody in the world now that actually needs me and would be lost without me,” said Ashley.
Those decorations go up early, but when do they come down?
“She likes the tree up as long as possible. We usually go all the way through January, sometimes into February and, again, I just learn to embrace it and if it makes her happy, then I’m good with it, but, yeah, after Christmas, I’m ready to take it down,” said David.
Happy wife, happy life.
“That’s the way to go,” added David.
And there’s this, according to research listed in the “Journal of Environmental Psychology”, people who put up decorations early tend to be happier and friendlier.