Get into the holiday spirit by planning to visit this very special Yule Log Cabin and Barn, tucked away in the woods down a quarter-mile lane. See 185 decorated trees and buy unique decorations.

Photo courtesy of Yule Log Cabin

Yule love this special shop near Cape Girardeau.

Story, photos, and video by Kim Hill

It’s easy to imagine elves, or maybe Christmas gnomes, living in the Yule Log Cabin in rural Scott County, about 15 miles south of Cape Girardeau. Owned by Joannie Smith, the holiday decor business is a treasure trove of Christmas delights housed in three structures—a little cabin, a repurposed barn, and a hut. Surrounded by pristine woods, the buildings are filled with 185 decorated trees, wreaths, garland, tabletop decor, trims, and more than 100,000 ornaments. Santa would feel right at home.

Like the kindly and efficient head of Santa’s workshop, Joannie has presided over this woodland wonderland for 35 years. She started as a Christmas tree farmer, operating a choose-and-cut operation. While waiting for customers, Joannie began decorating some of the trees to pass the time. She sold a few icicle and snowflake ornaments along with their fresh trees. After a few years, Joannie’s talent for decorating helped the ornaments outsell the trees.



She realized she was on to something. Over the years, she added space wherever she could to expand her offerings, even tearing out the kitchen cabinets in the cabin, renovating part of the barn to make room for more decorated trees, and hanging trees upside down from the ceiling to create space and just because they look cool. Fresh wreaths and garland are sold from a little hut Joannie and her husband, Jerry, built in the center of the complex.

Joannie believes the Yule Log Cabin is unique for two reasons. The first is the themes—more than 200 of them. Joannie decorates every single tree herself according to a theme. Some are recurring Yule Log Cabin favorites like pets, cooking, chocolate, cardinals, gingerbread, desserts, Missouri’s symbols, and gardening, to name a few. This year’s exotic animal tree, for example, uses a friendly-looking, giant, plush python in lieu of ribbon or beaded garland. Joannie winds the cushy snake through the branches loaded with ornaments of lions, elephants, zebras, tigers, and hippos.

Each year there are new themes. This year, Joannie has decorated a tree honoring Ukraine with a yellow and blue motif and glass ornaments made by Ukrainian artists. Love The Wizard of Oz? There’s an entire tree devoted to the classic film. A Betty White tree memorializes the iconic actress and comedian.

The second thing that makes the Yule Log Cabin special is the setting. “The Yule Log Cabin is literally located in a log cabin,” Joannie says. “When you drive down the quarter-mile lane through the forest and pull up to a log cabin in the woods, you’re entering someplace magical.”

Visit for hours of operation and directions.