Each room in Elaine and Carroll Bailey's 18th century Andover home drips with decorations they've collected over the years, including many made by family members.
The kitchen features a festive children's table dressed with "A Child's Christmas" Wedgewood China from 1979 to 1982. Ribbons tied to a chandelier overhead create a Christmas canopy, while greens and candy stashed in a small vase on a marble lazy Susan top off the table.
A small gaggle of early to mid-20th century toys clutters a lower shelf on the central kitchen island. They once belonged to Elaine's father, who died at 100 years old in 1994. Elaine's mother, who taught home economics, was always busy baking during the holiday season.
Carroll's mother, meanwhile, would spend hours upon hours crafting decorations that he treasures and displays to this day. For example, Carroll remembers his mother making delicate eggshell ornaments during one 1930s Christmas. She took care in blowing out and cracking the eggs, painting them a brassy gold, and affixing small festive trinkets - a creche, birds, snowmen, Santa - to their exposed interiors.
Several old-fashioned ceramic bisque carolers crafted by Elaine's sister stand at the second-floor landing of a ladder-like stairway, below an oversized stocking. The stocking features eight bells that dangle at differing heights from the ceiling, creating a dramatic effect.
The Bailey home maintains a cozy atmosphere - partly from the prominent fireplaces as well as the little candy treats and baked goodies sprinkled about the house. But the dining room, traditionally known as the Best Parlor, offers a formal feel. The wooden panel surrounding the fireplace, painted a Sherwood green, has a traditional "Toddy chest," where liquor was stored. White and red candles, festive greens and sparkly faux fruit dress up the room. And a small tree, featuring Waterford Christmas ornaments, complements the Baileys' bone-white china rimmed with gold trim.
Elaine, a member of the Andover Garden Club, ties her love for Christmas past with Christmas present through playful candles. Some, like the cream-wax house-shaped candles from Pottery Barn or the little red-and-white carolers from the Vermont Country Store, are new. Other waxy carolers are from the 1930s.
The feel of Christmas - with all its trappings - remains on display in the Bailey home through "Old Christmas" on Jan. 6, after which the decorations get tucked away for next year.
2 CHESTNUT ST., ANDOVER
Built: 1784, post and beam
Famous owners: Built by blacksmith Abner Abbot, the cottage was home to state Rep. John Kneeland from 1796 to 1831. The Rev. Samuel Fuller Jr. of Christ's Church used the cottage as his rectory in the 1830s and '40s. Civil War hero William Marland, who etched his signature in a bedroom window pane, was one of several Marland family members to reside in the house during the latter half of the 1800s.
Current owners: The Baileys moved into Rose Cottage in 1997. It is, in fact, their first home; the longtime boarding school teachers lived on campus - first at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon and later at Phillips Academy in Andover - until retirement.
Historical discoveries: The Baileys unearthed a few relics - from silver spoons to animal bones - under the kitchen floor during a renovation project. They also found wallpaper in the kitchen, leading the Baileys to believe it once served as a bedroom.
Sources: Elaine Bailey; Andover Preservation Commission