West Georgia Hospice will host its 14th annual Christmas Tour of Homes, allowing homeowners to welcome the public into their homes to showcase their greatest Christmas decor.
“Year after year, gracious homeowners open their homes to our community to showcase their families’ traditions and favorite things of Christmas,” said Tammy Forbes, Hospice’s volunteer coordinator. “We are so thankful to these families for joining us this year.”
Four homeowners have spent months preparing their homes with festive arrangements of Christmas trees, nativities and other interior holiday designs for the tour set for Dec. 8.
Christy Elder,whose Cameron Mill Road home will be featured on the tour, looks forward to hanging her treasured bells. Elder’s husband, Jared, has given her a bell each year for Christmas since they met in 1992; she has the 21 bells hanging from the stairway rail post wrapped in green garland and cheetah print ribbon.
“They are very special to me,” she said. “Because it’s something I look forward to getting every year from him.”
She also has a collection of churches that her mother-in-law has given her every year amongst the other Christmas sights within the home.
Elder has never had a personal experience with hospice, but has a father that volunteers with the agency and was asked to be a part of the tour.
Decorating her home each year, especially for the tour, she said, has been a fun experience.
“I have an interior design degree so I love doing this, I love decorating,” she said.
The other three homeowners in the tour have had family members who were in Hospice care.
John Bradford’s grandfather was a part of in-home hospice.
“I was really close to him and it was amazing the the care that he got,” said Bradford’s wife Nancy. “It meant a lot to his wife and the family the treatment and care that he got during that time. It’s just a great thing and I’m really honored to be a part of this. There’s a lot of caring people involved with hospice.”
One Christmas tradition in the Bradford home that will be showed during the tour is the “family tree.”
“Every year for Christmas since the kids were born, I’ve given them each an ornament, sort of what they were into that year, when they were younger it was Disney characters, but when they got older, it was ball or dance,” said Nancy Bradford. “All those ornaments will be given to them one day so when they start their own family they’ll have ornaments. That’s really special to me.”
In Jeff and Shelley Skinner’s home, a few quilts made by Shelley’s grandmother are added to the foot of several Christmas trees throughout the home. Skinner has kept quilts made by her grandmother from more than nearly 20 years ago; some of the quilts that were gifted to the Skinner’s three children on the day each were born.
Shelley’s grandmother and grandfather were in hospice care.
“I have experienced both hospice and in home hospice care through my grandparents,” said Skinner. “In both situations my family felt the love, care and compassion that West Georgia Hospice provides. Being on the Tour of Homes this year allows me the opportunity to give back to an organization that gives so much to others.”
Each of her children have custom Christmas trees in their rooms, which includes a wrestling, hunting, girly pink and aqua tree, in their rooms to fit their styles and hobbies.
In Don and Linda Bryant’s home on Azalea Drive, 34 themed trees are featured throughout. A garden , Mardi Gras, Santa Clause, Mickey Mouse, fish and an American Girl tree are just a few of the themes seen throughout the home.
The Christmas season has a special place in Linda’s heart. Her father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1984 and was told he would not live to see another Christmas.
“I decorated every room in the house,” she said. “That’s the reason I get so excited about Christmas is because my dad was like that when he died.”
Her father died five days before Christmas at his home in hospice care; her mother also passed away at a hospice home years later.
“I just think it’s a wonderful organization and I should have done this-Tour of Homes- a long time ago.”
There’s much more to see within the four homes during the “fun-filled” tour as preparations are still underway.
“I have always loved the different styles of everyone and that’s what makes the tours so much fun,” said Forbes.
Tours begin from Hills and Dales Estate at 2 p.m Sunday, Dec. 8, where vans are provided to transport guests to the homes. Also at Hills and Dales is a gift and décor boutique, entertainment and refreshments. Hospice volunteers will be in the homes and at Hills and Dales to assist guests.
Tickets are $25, on sale now at Hospice LaGrange, Elliebelle’s, Plum Southern, White Orchid, Stephens Exclusives, Curves, and Hills and Dales.
West Georgia Hospice has served patients and their families for over 30 years, helping them move through the last stages of life with grace, strength, hope and comfort. The Tour of Homes fundraiser helps enrich Hospice’s patient care services and helps provide care for those who are unable to afford it.