Decorations are family tradition

By JENELLE JOHNSON
Family Living Editor

Register/Jenelle Johnson
Each year during the Christmas holiday Jack and Bonnie Steward display Santa’s workshop and train that he made for his children and grandchildren. Nearly all the decorations in the couple’s yard at 206 S. Kentucky are hand crafted by Jack Steward.

In the 1970s Jack Steward wanted to create Christmas memories for his family that would transcend generations. Being handy with a saw and paint brush he crafted holiday yard ornaments which delighted his children.
First to take a place of honor in the Steward’s yard at 206 S. Kentucky were Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, followed by a Christmas greeting card, carolers, Santa train and workshop. The home was covered with lights and luminarias lined the walks.
“One woman told me her parents brought her to see our decorations when she was a little girl and now she brings her grandchildren,” said Jack’s wife, Bonnie.
Steward has slowed over the years. At 74, he no longer climbs up on the roof to put up Christmas lights, and decorations don’t appear in the yard as early as they once did.
Candle-fueled luminarias have been replaced with electric versions.
“Once I spent hours making luminarias, filling them with sand and candles, and then it rained and ruined them,” he said.
He has also made a wooden Christmas tree with ornaments, which now decorates the family’s restaurant, Bonnie’s Corner Cafe in Gas.
The Stewards said they hope others get as much enjoyment out of their decorations as their family does. Several of their neighbors have been decorating for the holiday, which makes for a pleasant drive down Kentucky Street, she said.
“When our daughter, Teresa, was a youngster walking home from McKinley Elementary and saw the holiday decorations she would tell me, ‘I can’t believe I live among all those beautiful decorations,’” Bonnie said.
Today, the Stewards have nine grandsons who are enjoying the decorations, especially Santa’s workshop.
“One of my little grandsons told me he likes Santa’s workshop, but when he knocks on the door no one ever answers,” he said.