Boardman woman continues to inspire others through decorations, selfless nature

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Shirley Gayan has been decorating her house for Halloween and Christmas for over 30 years

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Shirley Gayan has been decorating her house for Halloween and Christmas for 30 years, and while her decorations are impressive, so is she.

“Completely selfless, she just does everything for everyone else always,” said her granddaughter Jessica Bolen. “It doesn’t matter what it is, she’ll go without or she’ll do without to make someone else happy.

Neighbor Debbie Johnson knows Gayan well. She grew up down the street from her.

“Selfless, giving, caring, a mother, a mother to me, a mother to all the people that she encounters. She’s a warm, kind person,” Johnson said.

Gayan is 81 years old. She is a mother of seven and loves to decorate, so much so, that this year she crawled out a bedroom window to put up some inflatable ghosts on her roof.

Down her driveway, past Freddie Krueger and a floating ghost into the garage, you’ll see a whole group of animated characters from Michael Myers to a witch brewing a potion.

Inside her house is where it all started. She continues to decorate the family room and kitchen, and her family helps her out, but ultimately, Gayan decides where the decorations go.

“Christmas was the best, and then I got into Halloween and I just enjoy it,” said Gayan.

She’s also inspired her granddaughter to start decorating and building her own collection.

“Nothing my grandma does is for herself, everything she does she does for the people that she cares about,” said Bolen. “She does it for all of the kids. From the time I was little to now my kids and the kids in the neighborhood, and it brings everybody so much joy.”

It takes a long time to set up all those decorations, but Gayan does it for other’s happiness. It puts a smile on her face, too.

“Enjoy yourself. I enjoy doing this and it makes me feel good and just enjoy your life and do what you want to do,” said Gayan.

While those close to Gayan can speak of her commitment to decorating, it is evident that many others are aware of her hard work.

“Thank you Shirley for giving to the community as well as everything that you do for your community and the goodness and kindness that you give out to all of these people that come and see your holiday lighting,” said Johnson. “You’re a very special lady and you definitely need to be recognized.”

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