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Find unique holiday inspiration in Christmas Home Tour

Date: 11/24/2008

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM Tired of hanging the same old garland on the Christmas tree? Putting up the ancient Santa decorations that have faded from fire engine red to a hue resembling macaroni and cheese? Find new holiday decorating inspiration at this year's Wilbraham Christmas Home Tour, presented by the Wilbraham United Church.

Taking place Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the tour begins at the church, located at 500 Main St.

The tour, which takes place every other year, allows those interested in viewing unique homes decorated in holiday splendor to do so. There are six stops on this year's tour, including a log cabin, a renovated Victorian coach house, an 18th century home, a Cape-style home, a home with a barn and Merrick's Bed and Breakfast. Each abode will be decked out in its holiday finest.

Nancy and James Morin, owners of the log cabin on Glendale Road, will be decorating their home in a natural and old fashioned way.

"All the greens will be from our property," Nancy explained. "It will be all natural decorating." She added that she and her husband have a lot of antiques in their home, which is why they wanted a quaint look as well.

Their home will feature three trees a feather tree, a large pine tree in the living room and small tree in the kitchen adorned with pears and a partridge. In old German tradition, the skeleton of a feather tree is made out of wire. Then a goose feather is dyed and wrapped tightly around the wire branches. The hairs of the feathers spike out, resembling pine needles.

Nancy said the log cabin will also be the home of weaving and spinning demonstrations throughout the day.

"We wanted to do something different," she said.

Each stop of the tour will offer something unique. Joyce Pierangelo, a co-chair of the tour, explained that Merrick's B&B agreed to be a stop on the tour, but needed help decorating. A friend of hers, a real estate agent who also assists in home staging, helped transform the 1820s brownstone.

"It's gorgeous," Pierangelo said. "It looks dark from the outside, but it's so light and bright and airy and cheerful. I can't wait to see people's faces when they walk in."

Pierangelo said she and her co-chair, Edna Colcord, asked many homeowners to take part in the tour, and the six who agreed to the commitment now lend a great variety to the event.

"God works in mysterious ways," Pierangelo joked.

Those looking for inspiration for a one of a kind Christmas dinner won't be disappointed either. The Springfield Garden Club will have seven tables in Fellowship Hall at the church, displaying unique, themed table settings.

"Winter Solstice" will be presented by Suzanne Reed; "Christmas Morning" by Delight Rothery; "Armenian Christmas" by Diane Boghosian; "Good St. Nicholas" by Helene Corto; "Christmas Dinner" by Suzanne Zeckhausen; "New Year's Eve" by Marcia Morgan; and "New Year's Buffet" by Sarah Taylor.

"They will give people ideas," Marjorie Trimble, the horticulture chair for the Springfield Garden Club, said. Each table will have a centerpiece, place settings and linens. "It's a big endeavor," she added.

Trimble explained that traditional holiday flora include poinsettias, carnations, mums, Oriental lilies, evergreens, winter berries and holly, but that the themed tables could include anything.

"People have to come into the church to get their maps and programs," she said. "It'll be nice to have a point of interest there for them."

Proceeds from the tour benefit many of the church's missions, including supporting the Open Pantry, the Survival Center in Ludlow, the Gray House, Habitat for Humanity and more.

A raffle and a food and bake sale will also be taking place inside the church the day of the tour. In the spirit of the season, mittens, hats and non-perishable food items can also be brought to Wilbraham United Church to be donated to local charities.

"It's going to be a fun day," Pierangelo said. "It's an opportunity to open historic homes with the community and provide some cheer."

Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 the day of the tour. Advance tickets are available at Scented Garden, the Louis and Clark locations in Wilbraham and Springfield, Graziano Gardens, the Village Food Mart in Hampden, Pam's Paperbacks, Quinn's Fine Jewelry, the 16 Acres Garden Center, the Gilded Lily Florist and Creative Walls.