Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Weekend Full of Christmas Cheer

The first weekend in December has more than its share of fun Christmas things to choose to do.  For me, no surprise, I was away from home doing stuff all day on both days.

Saturday ... Culpeper Christmas Tour of Homes.
Culpeper is about 45 minutes from here.  It's where my parents and my sister live.  Its downtown area and surrounding residential neighborhoods are VERY historic.  Saturday morning, Mom and I toured this year's homes, all decorated for Christmas by local garden clubs.  Saturday afternoon, we worked a shift as hostesses at one of the homes.  The day was sunny and warm ... it was a perfect day to snoop through tour some beautiful homes.

Here are a few representative photos from the day.  (We were allowed to photograph inside the homes, which is unusual in my experience.  I took photos of decorations, and steered clear of any of the homeowners' personal things.)

Crowds were steady all day, but the wait time for each home was short.

Magnolia, greens, and pomegranates on this mantle.

Holiday arrangement, with a beautifully set table.

Christmas tree in the dining room bay window.

Model log cabin displayed in one of the kitchens, decorated for Christmas.

Primitive cupboard, and Home Sweet Home.

Nothing more classic than a wreath on a bright red door!

This was my favorite mantle of the day.

Red lights on the porch and greens in the window boxes of this Victorian.

Skinny tree in the living room of the home where I was a hostess.

Sunday ... Wreath-making workshop at Monticello.
Every year, Monticello hosts workshops that teach folks how to make a boxwood wreath and decorate it with natural materials gathered from the gardens.  Last year, my first year doing this, Mom and I made wreaths.  This year, I brought along my friends Kim and Gale.  We had so much fun, and our wreaths turned out beautifully ... how can they not, with such wonderful things to choose from to decorate them.

Boxwood and other greens were washed and prepared ahead of time, and available in plastic bags.  Floral picks and tape in those little baskets were for preparing the decorative things.

Tables stretched the whole length of one wall of the room, full of so many things to choose from.

Hydrangea, apples, Lunaria, Pine cones, Miscanthus, Tansy, okra pods ...

This was my favorite of the display wreaths, and I used it as inspiration for the design of my wreath.

This is my wreath ...

... and here is a group shot of all three of our completed wreaths.

I used American Boxwood as the base for my wreath, and I decorated it with Magnolia leaves, pine cones, Miscanthus, Lady Apples, dried orange slices, Tansy, Juniper berries, Okra pods, and, of course, rose hips.

This is what it looks like on our front door.

My wreath is fluffy, busy, going every direction, and borderline out of control ... a lot like me, now that I think of it.  :)


  1. So interesting that people open their Christmas decorated homes for public. Never seen that here, only a few private owned castles open their doors in the weeks before Christmas. The wildness of your wreath is beautiful and recognizable. All my flower decorations are wild like I am myself.

    1. This is an organized tour that happens every year, and the homes are selected ahead of time. Garden club members make decorations and volunteer to be hostesses. Proceeds from ticket sales for this tour benefit the town museum. Tour guests get to see the inside of the homes, meet homeowners in most cases, and get great inspiration for our own Christmas decorating.

      There is another tour of homes this coming weekend, here in Fredericksburg. I bought my ticket for this one today, and I'm really excited. Two of the homes on the tour are ones that I really love from the outside. I can't wait to see the insides!!

  2. Lovely photos of the tour, Connie. I've never been to the Culpeper Christmas Tour. Looks like that is a mistake! ♥

    1. Be sure to put the Culpeper tour on your calendar for next year. In the meantime, the Candlelight Tour in Fredericksburg is this weekend. It's a good one!

  3. You did great on the wreath, I like it!

    1. It’s so much fun to have access to such a wide assortment of items for a wreath. I went pretty wild, choosing everything that I liked, then I figured out where to put it all at the very end. I feel pretty smug about how it turned out. :)

  4. I loved seeing the Christmas trees and mantles indoors.

    Love your wreath!!!

    Continued Happy Christmas holidays ~ FlowerLady

    1. One of my favorite 'hobbies' is riding through neighborhoods at Christmas, looking at the homes and their decorations. It's a special treat to see the insides, through these tours and the generosity of the homeowners ... who do so much preparation and are so kind as to allow hundreds of us to troop through their homes.

  5. Honestly, I could look at mantle decorations and wreaths all day many great ideas! Love that you live in an area cool enough to have a live wreath that will stay beautiful. Your wreath turned out so lovely!

    1. Normally, outdoor Christmas decorations here stay mostly fresh till spring. Average temp is mid-to-high forties. Right now, though, El Nino is providing freakishly warm 70s for this weekend. No sign of normal winter chill in sight, so say the meterologists.

  6. Fabulous!
    and...I need to find out about these events ahead of time.

    1. So much to do in December, I have to pick and choose. Today, after we drop the grandkids off back at home, we are off to do the Fredericksburg tour. Usually the weather is raw and cold, and I have a long coat that I seem to only wear for Christmas tour each year. This year, with our freakishly warm temps, I may or may not even wear a sweater.

      Merry Christmas to you!!

  7. Your wreaths turned out beautifully! It's nice that you can tour through those historic houses and see all their decorations. I've often wondered how people can do that - I'd be creeped out to have strangers coming through my home. Says she who throws up millions of pictures of her place on the internet for all to see. LOL

    1. You have hit upon the most difficult aspect of setting up these tours ... convincing some of the homeowners. Many homeowners, like you said, can't imagine having so many strangers in their homes. As I encountered each homeowner during the tour, I made a point of thanking them for allowing us to troop through their home. Each of them, without exception, told me that they really enjoyed being part of the tour. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the local museum.

      About blog sharing ... WE are in control of what we share. The confines of our photos are precisely what we want to share, while the area out of the shot may be thorough chaos. Besides, it's not like Internet sharing is actually public, is it? LOL, right back at ya.

  8. Thanks for the tour!
    Very cool but that would be my nightmare, to let strangers in my house!
    Very nice of them to allow a tour!
    and I LOVE your wreath! Perfect!


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