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Christmas comes very early to one eager Lincolnton home

At Charlie Tipton’s house, it begins to look a lot like Christmas the last week of September.
“What’s really funny is watching the trick or treaters come up the sidewalk,” Tipton said.
Long before Halloween, Tipton, who is minister of music at Covenant Bible Church, has decked the halls of his house with Santa Clauses and elves.
His house, which sits on Laurel Street in Lincolnton, is decorated from head to toe with garlands. His lawn is filled with lit up artificial Christmas trees and reindeer, one of which has a hot-glued red nose.
The tradition of early-decorating began 10 years ago when his oldest daughter, Lauren Sherrill, was away at college for the first time.
She wouldn’t let the family decorate without her, so instead, they decorated on her fall break.
“It’s just special for me, and I just wanted to be there with them to do it,” Sherrill said.
Now, the Tipton home is notorious for showing Christmas spirit extremely early.
Most neighbors get a “kick out of it,” Tipton says, but some people aren’t so complimentary.
This October, for example, a group of people drove past his home and yelled “It’s not Christmas.” Tipton replied “Who says?”
That seems to sum up his philosophy. Every day of the year a sign that says “Forever Christmas Eve” hangs in his home, and when his other decorations aren’t on display, they still have a presence.
“We’ve got it everywhere. It’s in the closets. It’s in the attic. It’s in the shed,” he said. “My wife has just given in.”
Pulling out all those decorations takes a lot of time and work, but doing it early “gives you more time to enjoy it.”
When the season is over, it takes two weeks to put the decorations away.
“The taking it down I don’t enjoy,” he said. “I just get depressed.”
Needless to say, Christmas is Tipton’s favorite time of the year. It always has been.
When he was a little boy, his father worked as a construction foreman and always came home “dead tired.” At Christmas time, things changed for the better.
“When he had a little time off, he was like a different person,” Tipton said.
In general, Tipton believes “people are just nicer at Christmas.”
His dedication to the holiday lasts all year long and occasionally puts him in physical danger.
Just two weeks ago, he was standing on the top rung of his ladder, fixing something on the roof of his house, and the ladder broke.
Falling to the ground he thought “I wander what’s going to break.”
Luckily, all he did was sprain his ankle, a small price to pay for his favorite holiday.
“He’s always been like that,” Sherrill said. “He’s always just been like a kid about it.”
His Christmas-enthusiasm goes beyond decorations. He also has a special red and white striped robe that belonged to his grandfather.
At 7 a.m. on Christmas morning, “He puts it on and unwraps his presents,” Sherrill said.
And while Tipton has slowed down on his decorating over the years, his daughter is carrying on his tradition. She put up Christmas decorations at her Pumpkin Center home two weeks before Halloween.
“She’s pretty much a decorating freak too,” Tipton said.
They love Christmas so much because of tradition and family and, as Sherrill puts it, “the true meaning is about Jesus. That’s why I just love this time of year.”
Those who know Tipton have become used to his zeal.
A few years ago, when his decorations weren’t up before October, neighbors even became concerned.
“They said ‘We thought you must be sick or something,” Tipton said.
by Sarah Grano

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