AT home

Grant and Carolyn East savor the blessings and beauties of Christmas.

CHRISTMAS TURNS GRANT AND CAR-olyn East’s home into a many’ splendored fantasy come true. Their small bandbox of a historic home overflows with collected treasures of celebrations past. Beyond those festive trappings, a deep sense of spirituality weaves a loving thread through their already joyful observance.

“Christmas is giving of yourself to other people,” says Carolyn. “God gave us life, so everything we do to return His blessings is a labor of love.”

The Easts rejoice as they share their energies and faith with others. He helps trou’ bled teens through his work as founder and president of Dallas Can! Academy, and she hosts a prayer group that has met weekly for 18 years in their living room.

When the Christmas lights go up and the decorations come down from the attic, Carolyn’s professional interests become obvious. (She co-owns an antiques dealership, Good Friends, found in area malls.) Her collections of antiques appropriate to the season go on display across every available tabletop.

The glow of lights and candles reflects in ornaments and the polished surfaces of an assortment of American country antique furnishings. Greenery swags top mantels and doorways. A flock of sheep from late 19th-century Germany grazes alongside a group of Santas (some dating back a full century) on the dining room table.

“I can’t wait to decorate for Christmas,” Carolyn explains. “Just as soon as the last dish has been put away from our Thanksgiving meal, I begin bringing down Christmas boxes from the attic.”

That enthusiasm has fueled the Easts’ life at home since 1977, when the tumbling-down 1914cottage(oneofthe oldest existing structures in Highland Park) was purchased as a tear-down. But Carolyn had other plans for the house. Working as her own contractor, she supervised a restoration while applying much of the elbow grease herself. She painted, papered, hammered, sewed, designed, and even made the stained-glass windows in her 1 iv-ing room. She planted lush and whimsical gardens in both the front and back of the house that are a delight to passers-by. All the while, she was collecting- haunting sales and flea markets, rummaging through out-of-the-way stores, inspecting nooks and crannies for undiscovered finds.

She even prayed for antiques. “I believe that God is interested in every day of my life and all my dreams and goals,” Carolyn affirms. So when Christmas rolls around and the East home radiates with enough beautiful things to fill a fleet of Santa’s sleighs, the Easts can be certain that it’s all most heavenly.

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