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Couple has 27 Christmas trees to dismay of 'Grinch' husband

By KBell
Dec. 21, 2010 at 6:21 a.m.

A large tree -- one of more than 25 -- dominates the entryway of the Cornstubble home.

ABOUT THE LEVI-WELDER HOUSEBuilt in 1860 by Abraham Levi, a mercantile business owner.

Has 10 rooms, eight fireplaces, a carriage house and 5,500 square feet.

Was used as headquarters for federal troops during Reconstruction.

Purchased by John J. Welder in 1910, who did most of the current remodels.

Purchased by the Cornstubbles in 1997

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Texas Historic Landmark.

Of the more than two dozen Christmas trees in their home, B.J. Cornstubble is only attracted to one - the Grinch tree.

"We started out with one tree," said his wife, Jo Cornstubble.

"Those were the good ole days," B.J. joked.

The Cornstubbles live in the historic Levi-Welder House, and each year, Jo adorns the 5,500 square-foot home with Christmas decorations galore.

She starts decorating in September, pulling ornaments and fixtures from their equally as big carriage house. It's an organized operation, Jo said, with plastic bins stretched to the ceiling.

"In the middle of summer, I'm like, 'how far do I want to go this year,'" she said. "And I'm still at it."

Though he takes the Yuletide ambush in stride, B.J. is a self-proclaimed Grinch when it comes to the holiday, hence the Grinch tree lovingly dedicated to him.

And this year, Jo somehow managed to out-decorate previous seasons. She decorated 27 or 28 (they lose count) themed Christmas trees, all artificial, as B.J. says, while Jo prefers to call them permanent.

"I don't usually do it quite this bad," she said, immediately realizing her poor word choice.

Her husband seized the opportunity to tease her some more: "You took the words right out of my mouth."

Despite his aversion to what he called "just too much" Christmas, B.J. joined his wife for a tour of their home.

There was the pet tree, with ornaments dedicated to the couple's cats and dogs; there was the purse tree, adorned with vintage handbags; there was the cooking tree in the kitchen, the jewelry tree on an armoire, the cross tree, Texas tree, and so on. Red bows peeked out of nearly every nook and cranny and what can only be described as a homebaked Christmas spice scent wallowed through the 150-year-old home.

Halfway though the tour, while showing off the poinsettia tree, Jo revealed this Christmas Eve would be B.J.'s 75th birthday.

"Bah humbug," he replied, adding that he still celebrates (just stops counting) his birthdays, even though they're overshadowed by Christmas.

Still, B.J. was quick to acknowledge the happiness the season brings to his wife.

"Why do all this? Because as a child, I loved it so much," Jo said. "It's a childhood..."

"Passion," B.J. finished her sentence.

The couple, who met 20 years ago, stood in front of the pink, vintage Victorian tree in their entryway, B.J.'s arm around his wife's shoulder.

"At least he doesn't keep me from doing it," Jo said.

"That'd be like standing on the seashore trying to hold back the tide," B.J. said with a laugh.

Jo said she will spend another two months or so taking down all of the Christmas decorations, though B.J.'s not sure they'll be out of his house that soon.

"Until Easter time when she has to switch to those decorations," he said.

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