A Traditional and Meaningful Christmas in the Highlands of Oak Tree

Nestled on the third hole of the Oak Tree Golf Course overlooking the lake, Steven and Barbara Nix have a townhouse full of Christmas cheer.

They settled in the Highlands of Oak Tree 15 years ago, and it was an ideal place to land since Barbara retired from owning Courtyard European Importers in Edmond for 20 years. But unlike some festive decorations in this exclusive neighborhood, The Nixes have a unique tradition that combines their years of memories and travel with decorations that “mean something.”

“Christmas is our favorite time of the year with family and friends. I have collected teddy bears from my travels in the past years, but my son started me out on this journey of collecting teddy bears 40 years ago. They have to be really special to land a place on that Christmas tree,” Barbara says.

The Nixes enjoy what they call “the best-kept secret of Edmund” at the Highlands in their townhome designed 35 years ago by David Meyers.

“Nobody knows about this area,” Barbara says. “I was driving around, and I found this teeny hidden place. I love it.”

When Christmas rolls around, the Nixes go all out with displaying decorations they love. At the center is a special Christmas tree decorated with teddy bears that each have their own story.

“Three of them are ones that my sons won at the fair when they were 10 and 6,” she says. “I always kept the bears they brought me. And then because we were importers, we traveled a lot so I was able to get a bear in London and one at Harrod’s and one in Paris. It just progressed.”

Putting the bears on a tree, however, was a new idea. Last year was the first time she decorated the Christmas tree with her furry collection.

“All of our grandchildren are grown and married, but I have two little ones that come along. So I put the bears on the tree last year because I thought they’d like it. They loved it, and it became my favorite tree. 

But the two-story home with its soaring windows overlooking the lake isn’t just filled with bears. The Nixes also have a tasteful collection of reindeer figurines that are, in some cases, more than 100 years old. But Barbara’s favorite holiday collection has a history of struggle and hope.

Tucked into a curio cabinet are clay figurines created by Parisians that show peasant and country folk carrying baskets of gifts.

“Because we imported antiques, we shopped the Paris flea market, and every time I went, I would collect these Santons,” Barbara says. “The story behind them is that when the Germans went in to take over France [in World War I], they told the French that they could not have the nativity set anywhere. It all had to be destroyed. So the French people started designing little clay people carrying their gifts to the Lord. They would set these people out that were taking gifts to the Lord for his birth, and the Germans could not take that away from them.”

The family also has a collection of Byers Carolers, made in Pennsylvania.

“These figurines are also over 100 years old, and the company is still making them. My boys started me with them, but my grandkids now get one every year. So there’s just a lot of things that I love,” she says.

For Barbara and Steve, decorating for Christmas is more than just hanging tinsel; it’s about memories, heritage and tradition.