With Boughs of Holly

Frontenac family's holiday decorations bring back memories, and celebrate fun. 

By Gina Parsons

Builder: REA Homes

Photography by Anne Matheis


Bringing out the holiday ornaments is Gina Ryan’s favorite part about decorating for the holidays. “We have ornaments from every place we have traveled. Every year our girls, (my husband) Jay and I get an ornament on St. Nick’s Day and on Christmas,” she says. “I love how the majority of the ornaments tell a story. Whether it be a place that we went, or something that the girls accomplished, or one of our hobbies. It always tells a story.”

The Frontenac family decorates all three floors of the house, plus the outside. “We do the same decorations every year, with a few additions each year,” Gina says. “It’s my favorite time of the year.” 

In 2022, their house was on the Deck the Halls of Glennon Homes tour. St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles and the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital Guild team up each year to offer the home tour to raise money for the children cared for by SSM Health Cardinal Glennon. Gina has volunteered with the guild since spring 2022. “A friend of mine contacted me and asked if I’d be on the guild, and it’s been great ever since,” Gina says. “I have met some wonderful women and I love the work we do to help raise money for Cardinal Glennon.”

Kirkwood Florist donated the centerpiece displayed on their dining room table. “They did our wedding and we have been using them since then—even when we lived in Florida,” she says. Linda Higgins, from The Abbey, also came by with some final touches to complete the look.

The family usually has about 13 Christmas trees, all of different sizes. The “family tree,” is the largest tree, and is Gina’s favorite holiday decoration. It holds many ornaments that were given to family members as presents throughout the years, Gina says. “Some go back as far as ones received for wedding gifts and for the girls’ baptisms,” she says. Others were given by Santa to the girls when they were young.

Their three girls, Keeley, Sophia and Karlie, attend colleges away from home but join in the decorating tradition when they return. They each have a miniature decorative tree in their rooms. There also is a ‘girls tree.’. “It features ornaments from their high schools when we lived in Florida and here, their sororities and their colleges,” Gina explains.  

The outdoor decorations include lights, and fun inflatables including a reindeer pulling Santa on his sled, a couple of Christmas trees, an 12-foot-tall snowman and a penguin. There also are pink flamingos in the backyard to represent the time the family lived in Florida. “The neighborhood seems to enjoy the blow ups every year,” Gina says. “I think they really enhance your decoration.”