It’s a labor of love in late November and early December every year for families everywhere to put up the decorations of the Christmas season in their homes.
But imagine the same challenge on a larger scale, like decorating an entire town. That’s what Maxey Dove and people in the Hope Mills Recreation and Parks Department have to deal with in decking the streets and buildings of the town with the trappings of the Christmas season.
“It’s a lot of stuff,’’ Dove said of the assorted decorations that the town puts up for Christmas every year.
It also covers a lot of territory. “We have banners on Main Street, Trade Street and Johnson Street,’’ Dove said. “We decorate the marquee and the gazebo at the lake.’’ There’s also a manger scene that used to be at the lake but has been moved to the municipal complex at Town Hall this year.
The task of putting up the decorations goes on for multiple days and involves both maintenance staff of the parks and recreation department as well as members of the town’s Appearance Committee.
There are two Christmas trees, both artificial, one at the lake and one at the municipal complex on Rockfish Road.
“They are huge,’’ Dove said. Both trees stand about 20 to 22 feet tall. “They have big metal frames. I think the new one has LED lights. They are both pretty big productions.’’
The banners and many of the other Christmas decorations around town are put in place with the help of a bucket truck from a local electrical contracting firm.
How long do Christmas decoration last? Dove said it varies depending on the type of decorations. He estimates the two Christmas trees will probably be good for about 10 years. Wreaths usually last longer than the Christmas banners.
“Usually, every few years we rotate new stuff in and new stuff out,’’ he said.
As far as the choice of the style of decorations, that’s handled largely by the Appearance Committee, but Dove said they also get many suggestions from people in the town from time to time.
“There are a lot of opinions,’’ Dove said. “We are always looking to do bigger, better and nicer. But at the same time, you have to keep in the back of your mind this is Hope Mills and there’s a certain way Hope Mills does things. Sometimes you’ve got to balance the two.’’
The bottom line, Dove said, is many people have fond Christmas memories of Hope Mills.
“We have several opportunities for families to come out and something for everybody to enjoy,’’ Dove said. “It just kind of gets everybody into the season.
“Seeing the community come together and celebrate the holiday and family is one of the benefits of a small town. People take pride in it, and our volunteers are outstanding. Our Appearance Committee really helps out a lot.’’