CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Glen Reed is not who you might be expecting. She is the director of operations and events at the West Virginia Governor's Mansion. She could also be called the "elf-in-chief" during the Christmas holiday season.
"I've done design for years, but decorating for the holidays is my favorite way to create. It is what I enjoy the most," Reed said with a warm smile.
She describes her decorations this year at the Governor's Mansion as "an old-fashioned West Virginia Christmas" as she gestures toward various Christmas trees, displays, mantels and banisters decorated with natural pine, pinecones and berries. "It's simple yet very elegant," she explained.
She has designed several Christmas trees for the mansion, but she is proudest of assisting first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin with the creation of the Artistree, which is now in its third year. West Virginia artists of all ages are invited to create ornaments for the Artistree, displayed during the holiday season in the reception foyer of the Governor's Mansion.
This year, Reed created her own ornament for the tree. Not surprisingly, she painted a portrait of Santa Claus on a large glass ball.
"The response has been amazing. This year's Artistree features 222 ornaments. Last year there were 130, and in 2011, 78 were submitted. They are from all over the entire state.
"The artistic talent we have in this state is unbelievable. The ornaments are made of textile, glass, wood, paper, photographs, gourds ... anything goes. We had an entire seventh-grade art class submit papier-mâché ornaments, which was wonderful when so many art programs have ceased," Reed said.
Another tree Reed especially enjoyed decorating is in the drawing room. It is topped with an arrangement of berries and branches and has a base of poinsettias. The tree is filled with nostalgic glass ornaments, traditional gift tags, natural burlap ribbon and handmade Christmas crackers.