DALLAS - A Dallas wife and mother of five has a way with Christmas decorating, and she's attracted nearly 700,000 followers on Instagram and raised $35,000 in just two hours for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She did that by giving tours of her home, which are now closed.
"I would describe my home as joyful," Jennifer Houghton said. "I am probably a little crazy when it comes to decor.
Houghton loves to decorate.
"Every room is a different Christmas carol," she said.
She said her passion to deck the halls is for the joy it brings to others.
"I love seeing, most of all, the joy in my kids eyes when they were young and at school and I had gotten two, three trees put up and it was like magic," Houghton recalled.
The mother of five children and grandmother to an 8-month-old fell in love with decorating as a child.
"I am number six of seven children. My parents were very frugal. Opened garage door, mother was making hundreds of ornaments and I remember thinking this is what heaven is going to be like," she said.
But she didn't always have so much decor to work with.
"When my husband and I first got married, we budgeted for one strand of Christmas lights. I put up that one strand in our apartment window," she recalled. "I have never felt more joy than with that one strand."
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Now, with her Instagram account, Turtle Creek Lane, she hopes to inspire families to enjoy the process of decorating with what they have.
"A couple years ago, I built giant gingerbread house out of a bed frame and it was crazy. But it was so fun and I did it with my kids. We all laughed. To me, it is not about the finished process as it is the process," she said.
Her key to decorating as a newlywed was after Christmas sales.
"As we were married longer I would go to after Christmas sales when things were 90% off and I would stock up and things started multiplying and one day I woke up and said wow, I have a lot of stuff!" she recalled.
Surprisingly, Houghton is not an interior designer.
"Graduated with a degree in English. So I tell people all the time if I can do this, anybody can do this," she added.
Her favorite room is the ‘Silent Night’ room.
"To me, this represents the true meaning of Christmas," she said.
And while not all of her hundreds of thousands of followers have this kind of decorating budget, Houghton said they can al lfind the same joy.
"If they can take one or two of my ideas, pull their kids around them, and have some family time, that is what matters to me," she said.