Diane Wilson's children are giving back to their country, and this Christmas, she said she wanted to do something nice for them.
This is the first time since 2006 that the Wilson clan--Diane, husband Chris, daughter Lauren, daughter Lindsay, son Chris Jr., daughter Megan and son Logan--will be together for the holidays because four of the children are actively serving in the Navy.
When Wilson heard her children were coming back, she wrote a letter to Christmas Decor's Decorated Family contest, in which the company donates products, resources and time to decorate the homes of military families for the holidays.
"I saw it on the news a few years ago, and I told my husband I would enter the next time we were all together," Wilson said. "When I got an email back, I was so shocked."
Beth Frankel, who owns the local Christmas Decor by ELF Designs with her husband Maury, said her staff received Wilson's email after the contest deadline, but that didn't matter.
"There was no question, we had to do it," Frankel said. "These are our neighbors, and this is what we are all about.
"Her kids coming home all at once is something special that doesn't happen a lot, and there was no way she could do something like this herself."
The Frankels are North Hills natives and currently live in Cheswick. The Gibsonia-based business has been helping military families through the contest for six years.
On Saturday morning, crews gathered at the Wilson home on Elm Way and hung lights, garland and wreaths on the house and garage.
"We were blessed with good weather," Frankel said.
Inside the home, Lauren, Lindsay, Megan and Chris Jr.'s achievements and photos line the living room wall. With them is Chris Sr. and their grandfather, George Semencar, who also served in the Navy. Logan will be taking his test to enlist after Christmas.
"I wanted to do something nice for them because it's been a long time since we've been together. I don't think they understand that what they do is a big deal, and this is a way to thank them," Wilson said.
The Wilson children will be coming into town beginning next week. The family will celebrate Christmas on Dec. 23.
"The first thing we're going to do is laugh and eat," Wilson said with a laugh. "My kids are so funny. We always have a ribbon count, too."
Wilson said she's nervous and excited to have all of her kids home.
"It's going to be nice to have them home," Wilson said fighting tears. "It's been a while. They grow up, but they're still mine."
They'll head back to their bases beginning Christmas night. Lindsay and Megan will deploy together after that.
"I wish good fortune and safety for them in the New Year," Wilson said.