In the last month of the year, houses are trimmed with twinkling lights, trees are covered in festive ornaments and traditional holiday music can be heard throughout the world. As people everywhere begin to celebrate the holiday season, one Jackson County woman has taken her love of the holidays to an all new level.
Renee Peoples, a Sylva resident and elementary school teacher in Swain County, decided to treat each day of December like Christmas, and what better way to show your holiday spirit, than to wear it on your sleeve ... literally.
On the urging of several friends and family members, Peoples started a blog on Facebook called “Crazy about Christmas” to document her holiday outfits, which change each day. From sweaters to jewelry, to socks and even hair pieces, every element of Peoples’ attire is perfectly matched with a holiday theme. “I am an elementary school teacher and I dress up to create interest and fun in my classroom. My students love my outfits and most expect something new and different every day.” said Peoples. “I believe in high rigor in order to prepare students for the future. I have to develop a high level of community and relationships in my classroom in order to increase student buy-in and effort.” Peoples noted that she does not accept her students on Facebook, but they enjoy seeing her outfits at school each day.
Each morning Peoples dresses in a holiday themed outfit ranging from snowmen to reindeer, to Santa or even Christmas trees, and then takes a photo and uploads it to her blog. Along with each photo, Peoples posts a tip of the day she has learned from the project. For Example, Day 3 :Use flash, it helps with the photos.
“It is a learning experience for me and it is fun to get my family and friends involved,” she said.
According to Peoples, her coworkers have not been as welcoming to her holiday spirit as her students have, and some have even mocked her holiday joy. “The teachers just shake their heads. One did tell me, ‘you look like Santa Claus vomited all over you,’” she said.
Peoples said that her coworkers’ aversion for her Christmas garb played a huge roll in her decision to start the blog. “I have worn seasonal clothing and jewelry for years and get a lot of discounted attire from the sales after the holiday passes each year,” she said. “After I was compared to Santa’s vomit, I just knew I had to share my outfits with more people. What kind of example would I be for my students if I backed down to a bully?” she asked.
Peoples, who can be seen going above and beyond the norm for most holidays throughout the year, says that Christmas is by far her favorite holiday. “Although I do dress up for every single holiday, Christmas is special to me so I make it extra special by dressing up every day,” she said. “I guess you could say that I am part of the Christmas decorations.”
The self-proclaimed, “walking piece of holiday décor,” has received an influx of support from her other family and friends, and they have even contributed to the project. “My family and friends are used to my eccentricities and do not worry about it too much. They support my habits by giving me items to add to my collections,” she said.
To see a full gallery of the “Crazy about Christmas” blog visit Renee Peoples’ Facebook page.