I’m definitely reliving my childhood through my daughter. That’s why we have them, right? I mean, when else is it really appropriate to squeal with delight at seeing a house beautifully decorated for the season? Seriously, I went on the Arts Resources sponsored Candlelight House Tour and did just that. Okay, maybe not out loud… for fear of being kicked out. However, it was very difficult to contain my excitement. Who knew this was a thing that this city offered? I didn’t until this year. I am already putting it on my calendar for next year though. It was THAT good!
Before going into this, I was full of questions about the operations. I sent Facebook messages and left comments. I asked a friend who had mentioned going in previous years. She was very helpful and gave me some pointers. For example, wear comfortable shoes. Parking was sometimes an issue. We walked a block or so to reach some homes. It was such a gorgeous day though, so we didn’t mind. She mentioned that tour enthusiasts like to wear festive clothes for that over the top Christmas feeling. I’ll admit, it definitely added to the charm of the event. Lastly, you may need GPS, if you’re not familiar with the home locations.
There were seven homes on this tour. You get to drive your own vehicle and go at your own pace. You have six hours allotted for the tour and the separate wreath display. Tickets were sold at various locations throughout town, or could’ve been purchased at the door (of one of the houses) for an extra fee. This tour because of the complexity of the decor was for children above eight years and adults. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I doubt it was handicap accessible. Many homes had stairs to the entrance. I read somewhere that pictures were not allowed in the homes. I asked a host, personally, and was granted permission to take some photos (I hope that was okay, homeowners!)
We arrived at the first location and immediately noticed a rather large line outside of the home. I feared that our late start would cause us to miss seeing some of the homes (luckily, this was the only home we had to wait to see–but it was worth it!). While waiting, we chatted with veteran House Tour members. The time passed rather quickly. A tour host made an announcement when we neared the front door about the wait. The house owners felt it was best to admit only a few people at a time in an effort to fully enjoy all that was to offer. When our turn arrived, we were greeted by smiling faces who welcomed us into the home. They checked off the location on our ticket then gave us reusable paper booties to cover our shoes and we were on our way.
As I walked into the home, I was giddy. Everywhere you turned, you saw Christmas decorations. Trees (yes, multiples!), bulbs, gingerbread houses, snow… you name it, they had it! I was in awe. I overheard the owner mention that they start decorating in October. He mentioned it takes them about six weeks to fully decorate. SIX WEEKS! You can only imagine. It looked like it should be on an HGTV Christmas episode. I walked out of that house humming Christmas music and feeling consumed by the spirit of Christmas.
The rest of the tour was just as inviting and wonderful. Not only were we able to tour the homes, we also traveled to areas where we may have never gone otherwise. It was a fantastic way to view the city. My only hope is that next year, there will be more homes. Maybe I can I push for a Halloween House tour too?
If the Candlelight House Tour wasn’t enough, I finished my day by joining my family at Gobbler’s Knob in Ritter Park for a Cozy Campfire. Christmas lights led us to a wonderful scene. Carolers were singing classic Christmas songs while children roasted marshmallows by the fire. Mrs. Claus showed kids how to make reindeer food for Christmas Eve. Parents and children, alike, sipped on their choice of hot cocoa or eggnog. It was a scene of warmth, community, and Christmas. I will admit, standing by the fire holding my wee babe while singing Christmas songs made me a bit weepy. I can’t wait to see what’s next on my calendar of events. This season is truly magical no matter how old you are!
Don’t forget to click on the calendar to see what’s in store for the rest of this month!