Before Maria Fulcher and her family even moved into their newly built home, she set her sights on the holidays.
“I knew that once we got into this house for our first Christmas here that I wanted to go all out,” Fulcher says.
She also knew where to turn for help.
“I knew Summer was the one to call to make all of my Christmas dreams come true,” says Fulcher.
Summer Jones Hudson and her mother, Emily Johnson Jones, are partners in Johnson Florist of Stedman.
“We’ve been in business 70 years and are on the third generation of decorators,” says Hudson. “We not only deliver to Cumberland County daily, but we also decorate many homes and businesses throughout Cumberland County for Christmas.”
They decorate indoors and out, including window wreaths, garland, front-door decor, trees and mantel decor.
Fulcher says she wanted that and more as she waited for construction of her home, which is on Ellerslie Drive, to be complete.
She and her husband, Garret, are both Fayetteville natives. They started building their dream home in March 2020 and moved in in January 2021, missing Christmas by a smidge last year.
“Garret drew the house out and worked with a local builder, but while it was being built, we were living in a rental house. With three adults and two children, we were just trying to survive it. I couldn’t decorate at all last year as I wanted,’’ Fulcher says.
This year, their three children — Adalee Grace, 6; Weston, 3; and Kinslee, 7 months — will experience their first Christmas in their new home with all the trimmings that Maria hoped for.
“I put some things out for Easter and Halloween, but the goal was to have our house decked out for Christmas. I enjoy the holiday time and having the house decorated for Christmas,” Fulcher says.
With custom-made wreaths on every window, a Southern Christmas motif on the back porch, garland wrapped around banisters and mantels, and large Christmas trees in the foyer and living room, Hudson pulled out all the stops for the Fulchers.
Hudson decorated the foyer, living room and kitchen; Adalee Grace’s and Fulcher’s mother’s bedrooms; Fulcher’s closet; the back patio; and the front exterior. And it all coordinates with the Fulchers’ existing decor.
“I used a lot of blues in this house, but I love traditional red and green for Christmas,” says Fulcher. “I asked her if we could play up the blue and navy. Summer ultimately had free reign how to incorporate that, both inside and outside.”
Hudson says that was easy to do because she sent samples for Fulcher to approve.
“In the Fulcher home, we were able to incorporate the colors of their decor, especially the blues, into our design and add sentimental items like their handmade ornaments to their decorations,” Hudson says. “We used a traditional tartan plaid that has blue, red and green that tied the colors of the room in but also kept the design Christmasy with the traditional holiday colors.”
Fulcher loves the personal touches that Hudson included in her design.
“We want our customers to love their decor and know that including sentimental items is important to them during the holidays,” Hudson says.
The large tree in the living room features ornaments that mean something to the Fulchers or tell a family story. They include ornaments from Alma Easom Elementary School, where Maria Fulcher went to school and taught; ornaments her best friend gave the couple when they got engaged and to commemorate their children’s first Christmases; and ornaments that her students have given her over the years.
Others are ornaments the Fulcher children made in preschool. When Maria’s mother moved in with them, she brought vintage ornaments with her.
“Our main tree is where we have ornaments that Garret and I have collected over the years, ornaments that have been passed down through the family or the ones that the kids have made,” she says.
“This one, my mom made when she was a child,” says Fulcher, pointing to a handmade pearl cross. “My grandmother made the angel ornament here.”
Maria and Garret both lost their grandmothers in the same month last year, so it was important to them that they include small touches throughout the house to remember them both.
“My favorite on our main tree this year is our cardinal ornament. My grandmother, Jo Ann Hodges, just passed, so we told the children that she became a cardinal because they don’t quite get the concept of heaven yet. We told them that is Mama Jo. The kids placed the cardinal on the tree where she can see out the window and to the tree where other cardinals gather,” says Fulcher.
Another special collection is in son Weston’s room, where vintage village pieces from Garret’s grandmother, Francis Fulcher, are displayed.
While Weston is still a little young for a fully decorated room and tree, Hudson decorated Adalee’s room with a tree wrapped in red and white ribbon and multicolored ornaments. Even the door of her dollhouse is decked out — with a fairy-sized wreath and Christmas lights.
Fulcher hopes to start a new tradition with a nativity scene displayed in the dining room with the book “The Christmas Star From Afar.”
“I usually do ‘Elf on the Shelf,’ but this year I’ll hide the Christmas star until Christmas when the star will go on top of the nativity scene.’’
Fulcher’s mother, Marian Adams, had a hand in decorating her own room.
“My mom picked everything except for the fillers she saw at Holly Day Fair and asked Summer to bring them for her here,” says Fulcher.
Adams chose a soft, metallic blue, silver and gold to match her bedroom colors. A large tree, bows embellishing mirrors on either side of her bed, and a delicate snowman pillow complete the look.
“I love the soothing colors,” says Adams.
Her mom also provided the inspiration for the back patio, which Garret built over two years with the help of friends.
“We spend a lot of our time on our back patio, and my mom’s Christmas china is displayed out there,” says Fulcher.
The china features a deer, so Hudson went for a woodsy theme, using oranges with cloves, magnolias and other bits of Southern charm.
“Christmas is my favorite holiday to decorate. If I could have decorated the first of October, I would have done so,” Fulcher says.
This year, opening presents on Christmas morning or even just having breakfast together is a little more special as the Fulchers look around at the family touches throughout the house.
For Maria Fulcher, it’s a Christmas wish come true.