She lives 1,800 miles away in the state of Washington, but every Christmas season Allison Shields comes home to decorate the family’s farmhouse northeast of Lincolnville.
The 23-year-old marine biologist said she has been doing it since she was a junior high student at Centre 12 years ago.
“Christmas lights are my favorite part of the Christmas season,” she said. “I took it over from my brother, Gavin.”
She said she does all the holiday decorating, inside and out. Her sister, Carissa, who is in college, helps her when she can.
Shields said she used to start putting lights up before Thanksgiving. It took several days to check lights, replace bulbs, and get them strung.
At first, she just strung roof lights around three sides of the house and the garage. Then she started lighting landscape bushes and outdoor ornaments like old iron implement wheels.
“I tended to add something more every year,” she said.
Shields graduated from Centre in 2011 and earned a marine biology degree from Southwestern College in Winfield. She works as a fisheries observer in Washington, working with commercial fishermen and providing data to fisheries management.
“It’s a good starter job,” she said.
She used a two-week vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday to fly home and keep her Christmas tradition alive.