When you pull up to 44 Kentucky Street on Wheeling Island, the Viles’ home will greet you with beaming columns of light, a life-size nutcracker, and a gorgeous Saint Nicholas chair. The impressive display was created by a new Wheeling family who wanted to spread some holiday cheer.
Jamie Viles, her husband Shaun Viles and their children are new to the area, but that hasn’t stopped them from making their home one of the many hot spots to celebrate this season.
“Our display out there? That is maybe a quarter of what we normally do. I usually do a big light show, so this is small for us,” said Shaun. “It all turned out really well.”
While Shaun is a full-time electrician, Jamie is a woodworker who applies her skill set to the holiday season.
“I built the Santa chair out front. I love Christmas and we’ve done it the last two years in Texas where we set up the Santa chair,” said Jamie.
“It’s one of the things that bring spirits up. When people see lights and they get a big smile on their face, well that makes me happy and it’s what the season is all about.”
The Viles family made the move to Wheeling in September to expose their children to more adventure and the lush landscape.
“We moved here from Texas, and we did it for the scenery and Shaun likes the history. We also wanted to give our kids a chance to see more and do different things,” said Jamie.
“I was born in Ohio, but I left in 1993 and moved to Texas. We are used to living out in the country with more space and we had two acres in Texas. It’s a bit different here.”
Shaun agrees that Wheeling is a big change from their previous home, and it was well worth the travel.
“When you’ve seen everything there is to see in Texas, to get to the East coast and explore more, I knew we’d need to make a real move. We went all over the East coast looking to buy and found this amazing house,” said Shaun.
“It wasn’t so much the Island as much as it was the home that helped us with the decision. We walked through this home three or four times before we bought it and we decided to take a chance.”
This historic home on Kentucky Street greets you with French doors at the entryway and is adorned with stained glass windows throughout. Original Wheeling tile and woodwork are found throughout the home as well.
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“As long as we are here, this will be a yearly thing. We have big plans for this house next year,” said Jamie.
“We have had a few people mention that this is expected of us every year and it really melts my heart. Come, have fun and take pictures with the Grinch or Santa. We will help them take photos and talk. They love it! In this crazy world, we need this.”
The Viles have four children in total with two still enjoying the holidays at home.
“Our kids in the Marines are 20 and 19. We still have two with one of them in the eighth grade, Aspen, and Dakota who is a Freshman at Wheeling Park High School,” said Jamie.
“Our kids enjoy it and it is nice to get other people involved as well with everything we do.”
In addition to welcoming people to meet Santa Clause and the Grinch, the Viles are also open to providing a place for those with a good cause.
“A man dressed as Santa Clause was raising money for the Wheeling Jamboree, so we let him put a bucket out and greet people,” said Shaun.
“It all turned out really well and he received a lot of donations on the organization’s behalf.”
The Viles offer up their display free of charge to anyone who visits them. It’s their way of spreading some cheer during the holiday season.
“People charge a lot of money to go see Santa and we aren’t like that. We like doing something for free, no obligations and no one is asking anything of them, but to have fun,” said Shaun.
“If a family can come out and it doesn’t cost them anything, then that makes us happy; regardless of what we have going on.”
While the Viles do not ask anything of their visitors on Kentucky Street, we did discover their love for dogs. As the holiday creeps forward, if you pay the Viles a visit, please feel free to bring a drawing of your favorite dog or even bring a stuffed animal Dachshund, which is Jamie’s favorite breed!
• With a background in journalism and being a true Wheeling native, Jessica Broverman was destined to work with Weelunk. She holds a degree in journalism with a minor in criminal justice and works with Williams Lea Tag as a legal proofreader. When she isn’t typing away for Weelunk or WLT, she is enjoying a coffee at one of her many favorite spots in Wheeling, spending time with friends, or having fun with her husband Zachary and their two cats, Proctor and Max.