A Sustainable Christmas Inspired by the Life and Legacy of Pearl S. Buck

I’m a city girl through and through.Pearl S. Buck estate in Perkasie, PA

Therefore, the first time that I visited the historical Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie PA, and stepped my 3 inch patent leather pumps onto the 68-acre estate, complete with an 1825 stone farm house surrounded by beautiful gardens, greenhouses, and a renovated barn, I was bowled over by the view. I couldn’t help but feel like the estate is a three dimensional piece of art. The vista and the calming effect they provided was like a portal to a world far beyond the fast paced concrete jungle that I call home. All at once, I felt a sense of serenity wash over me. I breathed a little deeper. The fall colors came alive and the life that I frantically whizz through in a cappella was suddenly hit by a serene orchestral symphony of architectural proportions.

I, the city-slicker, was invited to take a guided tour by Donna Rhoades, the curator of the Pearl S. Buck House, to represent Impact Thrift Stores as a decorator for the annual Festival of Trees event. The Festival of Trees is a holiday tradition; which features dozens of beautifully decorated trees, along with other holiday decorations adorning each room of the historic treasure.

Once inside the home, I realized that Pearl S. Buck’s design choices were not so much about making extravagant statements as it was about finding peace of mind. The interior reflects years of collecting, blending East influences with Asian decorative objects of affection; acting as a biography for  her life–an American writer who spent the first 18 years of her life in China… who won the Pulitzer Prize …who became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature….who championed  women’s, children and human rights, and founded the first international adoption agency. I was immediately seduced by her accomplished career, but more so by the simplicity and tranquility of her lifestyle and home.

As I looked at the space that had been selected for me and a co-decorator to beautify festively, I asked myself the question, “What is my intention for this space?” and  “How do intend to make this space represent both Pearl S. Buck as well as Impact Thrift Stores?” It was at that moment, as I stared out the window onto the hill where her adopted children used to bob sled in the winter,  I envisioned her modest home filled with the sounds of children laughing and playing on Christmas Eve in the early 1900’s…and inspiration hit me…

The Organ Room at Pearl S. Buck International decorated for Christmas

Impact Thrift Stores honors the legacy of Pearl S. Buck by decorating the Organ Room in a fashion that we truly believe she would have appreciated.  We believe that had Pearl S. Buck lived in this day and age, her forward thinking would have made her an advocate of living an eco-conscious, and sustainable lifestyle.  Therefore, as the mother of several adopted children, we feel that she would have enjoyed sitting around the table, with her children, on a cold winter’s night, creating beautifully handcrafted, fun and thrifty, sustainable, Chinese inspired Christmas decorations; such as these*:

  • Chinese Newspaper Ornaments: Recycled ornaments were wrapped and decoupaged with actual headlines from Chinese newspapers.a hand made Christmas decoration from Asian newspapers
  •  Chinois Ornaments: Recycled ornaments were wrapped with strips of Chinois fabric, cut  from a traditional Chinese “Cheongsam” dress.
  •  Paper Chain: Links sheets of scrap book paper cut into strips and linked together with tape and staples.
  •  Pine Cone Ornaments: Pine Cones, found in nature, were highlighted with gold and glitter frosted paint
  •  Vintage toys: The Doll, Wooden Plane, Sled and Abacus are toys that were all donated items, found at Impact Thrift Stores.
  •  Mini Tree: Decorated with hand crafted Origami ornaments crafted from scraps of Asian inspired paper squares.
  •  Gift Boxes: Cardboard boxes were wrapped in recycled Chinese Newspapers; and accented with Vintage ornaments.
  •  Christmas Throw/Quilt: Hand stitched squares of fabric, cut from women’s clothing
  •  Tree Topper: Twigs, found in nature, were fastened together in the shape of a star and highlighted with gold paint. The lit star was fastened to the front using thin wire.

*All of the decorations used to beautify the Organ Room were items that had been donated to Impact Thrift Stores, and were recycled, and repurposed for this occasion.

In her own words, Pearl S. Buck desired that her home “belong to everyone who cares to go there… and act as a gateway to new thoughts and dreams and ways of life.”  Celebrate the holidays at the Pearl S. Buck House by touring the Festival of Trees. The House is something to experience during the festive season.

Exhibit runs now through December 31, 2011. For more information, visit www.psbi.org.

~ By Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator for Impact Thrift Stores

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Heaven’s Treasures was organized in December of 2016 with a mission of operating a chain of retail stores that will allow second chance employment, financially support charities and give affordable shopping experiences to the greater community while keeping with its corporate purpose, to glorify God throughout the community and world in which we live and work. In February 2017, they acquired Impact Thrift Stores Hatboro and Bristol locations. On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Impact Thrift Stores in Feasterville, Montgomeryville and Norristown will also become Heaven’s Treasures Thrift and Value Stores!
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