A Savannah Texas Christmas Tradition
By Joanna Daskivich
What started out as a young girl’s hope for a “Christmas Miracle” has turned into a nearly 30 year Christmas tradition. Lori Farrar-Kakashvili of Savannah, TX started her Christmas obsession when she was in eighth grade. Her mother Carol, had been diagnosed with Lupus and was told that she may not have much longer to live. That year, Lori used all of her babysitting money to buy two Christmas trees and all of the decorations that she could afford. She told her mother, “Maybe if you had a little more Christmas you could live past the New Year.” That she did and Lori and her mother have been growing this beautiful holiday tradition ever since.
There are nine full size trees and seven smaller ones placed throughout the Kakashvili’s family home this year. Each tree is themed with a special meaning. Most of the ornaments are passed down, hand crafted, and gathered on their journey’s. “It is a lot of work but we love it”, Lori explains, “The girls even have their own trees in their bedrooms”. Lori and Paata have two daughters, Katarina (8) and Kristina (5). Paata, Lori’s husband is not quite as obsessed with the decorating part but is willing to help whenever he is needed. In addition to the thousands of ornaments carefully hung on the tree branches, Lori collects Santa Claus dolls and Santa salt-n-pepper shakers.
Each room in this house is full of cheer. You cannot help but feel the Christmas spirit once you step through the front door. The sights, sounds, and smells encompass everything that Christmas embodies. The foyer boasts a lovely Poinsettia Tree that is warm and welcoming. The front den is home to a slender flocked Angel Tree dressed in angels, Waterford crystal ornaments, and shiny balls. Across the hall is Grandma Carol’s Magnolia Tree. She a Louisiana native and each year this staple is a representation of her roots. This year the Cowboy Tree has made its home in the dining room. Decorated hat to boots in Texas treasures, this is a true Texan gem. The Gingerbread Baking Tree is a new addition to the kitchen this year. Every branch is decorated with gingerbread, peppermint décor, and baking tools. Definitely some inspiration for cookie making and hot cocoa.
All of these trees lead to the grand Family Room Tree. This massive spruce is a showstopper and focal point of the house. Nestled next to the perfectly decorated and cozy fireplace, the colors and tradition radiate from within this masterpiece. This tree is full of a lifelong history of homemade décor and items collected through their travels.
That is just the half of it. Up the stairs, the girls have picked out their own themes. This year Katarina has chosen a Candy and Unicorn theme tree. Kristina’s tree is Zoo themed and full of her favorite animals. “I love it”, Katarina said. When I asked Kristina what she thought, this sweet girl smiled from ear to ear and ran off. The master bedroom and bathroom even have their own trees. The Blue Tree as Lori calls it fills the corner of the master. It is full of blue and white décor and flowers. Its formal elegance is something that could be displayed and cherished throughout the year. It is just stunning.
The Kakashvili’s all agree that their favorite room, not tree, is the upstairs living area. This entire room has been touched with Christmas cheer and they call it, Merry and Bright. There are several trees brightly decorated, stockings hung, and Christmas cheer throughout this area. Lori says this is where the family spends most of their time. “It is a happy place of love, joy, and tradition,” said Lori.
Nearly three decades ago, a Christmas miracle was answered for a young girl. Today a beautiful tradition continues to grow in north Texas. It is a tradition of love, hope, and prosperity and will be passed down for many years to come.