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Kayte Green gets a candy cane from Wendy Ellis, who is dressed as a gingerbread man at her Jonnston Street Southeast home. Ellis dances and waves from her front yard each evening.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Kayte Green gets a candy cane from Wendy Ellis, who is dressed as a gingerbread man at her Jonnston Street Southeast home. Ellis dances and waves from her front yard each evening.

Gingerbread man of 'Winter Wonderland'
Decatur woman goes extra mile
to win holiday decorating awards

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

You can run, run, run as fast as you can, but even if you catch him, you can't eat this gingerbread man.

Almost every night for the last two weeks, Wendy Ellis, dressed as a gingerbread man, has entertained the neighborhood tourists in front of her home at 619 Johnston St. S.E.

She hops around and dances to Christmas tunes and said she even takes requests for particular dances.

"Of course, I can't do them all," she said, laughing.

The gingerbread man greets visitors at about 7 p.m. and stays outside for a couple of hours each night. Ellis said the gingerbread man's last appearances for the year will be tonight and Saturday night.

As you drive up to Ellis' Winter Wonderland home in Decatur's historic Albany district, your mouth will salivate at the sight of decorative candies hanging from the porch, lollipops lining the fence and candy canes throughout the yard.

Ellis has even set up a 9-foot Christmas tree on the front porch with mounds of presents underneath.

The house's elaborate decorations won the Ellis family the neighborhood's first place "Winter Wonderland" award this year. It was the fourth time the house has received the first-place honor. Five years ago, the home earned the third-place award.

The historic Albany and Old Decatur districts are well known for their magnificent, often traditional, Christmas displays. Ellis said being around all the Christmas cheer encouraged her to go all out for the holidays as well.

"Our first year here, I had no idea how extreme people went and only got an honorable mention," she said.

"But now, I'm kind of obsessed with it, really. I already have a plan for next year, but I might keep the gingerbread house because people are really catching on and stopping by a lot more now."

Ellis said it took her and her family an entire weekend to set up the decorations, but she spends all year looking for additions to her display. Ellis made many of the ornaments and lollipops.

Ellis and her husband, John, have three children who all helped with the decorations. She said this year was particularly special because her 8-year-old daughter, Brayden, was old enough to help.

This is the first year for the gingerbread home. The home has been decorated with a Nutcracker theme and an Old World Santa theme in past years.

Ellis said the Winter Wonderland decorations will remain through New Year's Day.

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