Our December cover story tours a Zachary home-turned-Christmas-wonderland

Cover image by Melissa Oivanki

When the calendar turns to December, it’s all about family traditions for Heather and Brad Schaeffer and their daughters Regan and Greysen. Each year, they load up the car for a holiday trip, ready to experience far-flung celebrations and immerse themselves in unique decorations. Back home on Christmas Eve, they always meet extended family members for an early dinner before attending the evening Christmas Eve service at First Baptist Church of Zachary.

Over the past several years, the family has also firmly established a new holiday tradition: the transformation of their Zachary home into a full-fledged winter wonderland. There are dozens of Christmas trees indoors and out, yards and yards of shimmering ribbons and garlands, and plenty of fluffy “snow.”

All of this holiday magic is part of the Schaeffers’ focus on enjoying the season with the ones they love. “Entertaining and sharing our home with others during the holidays—and all year long—is our absolute favorite thing to do,” says Heather.

But filling a house with hundreds of ornaments and twinkling lights is no easy task, which is why the Schaeffers have called upon decorator Melissa Laney to spearhead the project since 2015, the year after they purchased this 1970s-built home. Prior to moving here, the family had lived on the Northshore and then in the Copper Mill neighborhood, but they embraced the newfound serenity of this sprawling 5 1/2-acre property. The spacious grounds, they knew, would also make the perfect backdrop for a December scene straight out of a Christmas carol. Cue the sleighbells!

For an inside look at how Laney transformed the Schaeffer home for the holidays, click here to keep reading the full cover story from our December issue, on newsstands now.