Every year I say I am going to attend Altrusa’s Annual Christmas Tour of Homes, but I never have made it – until this year.
Not only did I make it, but I got several of the girls in my family to come along with me. This is definitely going to become an annual tradition every Christmas season – we just need the other three girls to make it complete!
I don’t know about you, but I love to tour homes and see how they are decorated. I love seeing all of them, but when you throw in historic homes, I am all in! My hometown has many historic homes that I drive by regularly. I am always curious about what they look like on the inside.
Confessions of a Secret House Tourist
There have been two times in my life that the curiosity to see what a house looked like got to me.
The first time was when I was in high school, probably around 17 years old. There was an old house on one of the main roads in town that was going to be sold and moved for road expansion.
I couldn’t stand the thought of not seeing the inside of this house, so a guy friend of mine said he would go with me. I was trying to come up with a good story as to why a 17 year old would need to tour a house, but when the people answered the phone, I knew them. (The joys of living in a small town!)
I quickly told them that my grandparents were moving to town, which was true, and they let us come take a look at the house. It was unique and beautiful!
The second confession is similar. Before we built our home, one of the historic homes on “Park Street” in our home town was put on the market. We hadn’t decided if we were going to build or buy, but we were looking to be more in the country.
The kids and I made an appointment and took a tour with a realtor. All three of us loved the house, but it needed a lot of work. It was not what we were looking to do, but we loved getting to see it’s unique qualities.
Altrusa’s Annual Tour of Homes
Sunday afternoon was the day! The organizers of the event had it planned out very well. There were six homes on the tour and one church. I had made an advance purchase online to get the tour tickets, so we started at Kavanaugh Methodist Church to get the tickets.
Four of the six houses were on the same street as the church – the historic street I mentioned before, Park Street. We were able to park close and have a self-guided walking tour. We later drove to the last two homes on the tour.
I tried to get at least one picture at each of the beautiful homes to show their unique qualities. I love that they all had their own personalities!
Details of the Tour of Homes
If you have never been to a tour of homes event before and would like to go, here are some of the details. We had never been and weren’t exactly sure what we needed to do.
- There was 1 church and 6 private homes on the tour.
- There were tour guides at each home to answer questions, but you conducted your own self-guided tour at your own pace.
- You could purchase tickets in advance through online sales or at the door.
- They had a silent auction and holiday treats at the church.
- They gave out pamphlets with the address and history of each property.
- Tour hours were 1:00 – 4:30.
- Altrusa is a non-profit organization, so all of the proceeds from the sale of tickets (up to $10,000) went to support the Senior Center Resources and Public Transit (SCRPT). Additional funds went to other local service projects.
1 – The Church: Kavanaugh Methodist Church
When I was going to college 30 years ago, I actually worked at this church as a part-time secretary. I can remember going into the sanctuary during stressful times and just sitting for a minute or praying. It was so beautiful, and I can remember the smell of this historic auditorium even now.
There are several historic churches in the area, but we found out while we were on the tour that this church is turning 100 years old in January of 2024! 100 years of beauty and sharing God’s love!
Since this was our first stop, I forgot to take pictures. However, I called them later, and they emailed a picture to me. Isn’t it stunning?
The Homes on the Tour
2 – Kruse Home
The first home on the holiday tour was built in 1903 and is filled with charm! The first room I walked into was one of the kids’ rooms. The built in bunk beds were unique and charming! (I hate to use that word again, but charm was all in this home.)
The home was filled with unique holiday decorations. There was a beautiful Christmas decorated light fixture, a unique “Merry” sign, and my favorite – a BOOK Christmas tree!!! I am going to have to try this soon!
3 – Wilson Home
This home has been one of my favorites for years! Just recently, some friends of ours bought it and redid it. It was also built in 1903, and it has been through three fires!
I love the oversized mirror, screen door, and dining table! I only wish I would have taken a picture of the sofa!
Besides the beauty of the house, the unique quality in this one is an overwhelming love! The Wilsons have children who are biological children, adopted children, and foster children. I may be wrong, but I think they have 24 kids total, although some are grown and out of the house. They are currently raising 11 at home! That is love!
4 – Harting Home
This home was filled with Christmas! My favorite part was the bar in an enclosed porch type area. Another plus to this home was that in the backyard, by the Koi pond was a guitarist playing and singing. You’ve got to love live music!
I guess I got carried away in the ambiance of the backyard. I only got one picture!
5 – Weeks Home
This beauty was built in 1910 and is gorgeous! It could very easily be found in Southern Living magazine. It truly made me want to repaint my house blue and white! The fireplace is such a beautiful focal point, although they cannot use it for safety purposes. There is a very interesting story behind that.
The most unique thing I found about this house was the coffin door in the dining room. At that time, the deceased were kept in the homes, so they had a door added that a coffin could fit through when they needed it.
6 – Corrales Home
This home is a new home, and it is beautiful! The thing that really stood out to me was the entertaining backyard! She really had two separate backyard areas. One had a pool and sitting/barbeque area, and the other was an outdoor game area.
I have to share that her high school son is one of our office aides at school. I had to take a picture of the University of Texas Christmas tree in his room for my husband to see.
7 – Hyatt-Driggers Home
We nearly didn’t make it to this one! Instead of looking at the map, I just started driving to her house. I am glad I put it in GPS, just in case. It turns out they had moved. We ended up with 4 minutes to get there.
I didn’t count how many Christmas trees they had displayed, but last year she had 10! Each room had it’s own Christmas tree with a different theme, and the main tree in the living area was upside down! I couldn’t even imagine, and I still don’t know how she got it to stand up without falling.
Everything was beautiful – I am glad we didn’t miss it!
Since this post went out, my daughter shared with me that you could purchase Upside-down Christmas Trees on Amazon. You can click the link to see them. There is a large variety.
I also came across a post from Sonata Home Design that gives the history of upside-down Christmas trees. Who knew? This is not a new thing! It actually dates back to the Middle Ages. To read more about this, see “How to Decorate an Upside Down Christmas Tree.”
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I am happy I finally got to make it to the Christmas Tour of Homes to see all of these beautiful homes! Between the historic residences, the new homes, and the 100 year old church, we were able to see unique beauty and charm at every home.
This was my first home tour (without having to make something up to sneak a peek), and I am already looking forward to next year’s tour. This annual holiday event is going to be one of our new family traditions! It brings in the joys of the holiday season.
If you have the opportunity to go on a Christmas tour of homes this year, take it – purchase tickets as soon as you can. It is a great way to start your Christmas season!
Until next week…
“Let the whole earth shout to the Lord; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.” Psalms 98:4