Taking a tour

Sunday, November 25, 2007
Two stockings hung over the fireplace and greenery adorned the mantle. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

Lots of people open the door to their homes to family and friends during the holiday season. Several couples in Cape Girardeau and Jackson will open the doors to their homes to hundreds of complete strangers next weekend for the Holiday Home Tour.

The tour showcases six homes in the area that are unique in design or decor. Most of the homes are elaborately decorated for the holidays.

The Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri uses the Holiday Home Tour as one of its two main fundraisers for the year, the other being the golf tournament in May.

"It's pretty important," said Melody Anderson, regional development officer with LFCS. She said the not-for-profit organization hopes to raise $25,000 this year.

The 2007 Holiday Home Tour is the 20th anniversary of the tour, but Anderson said it has only taken off in recent years. They consistently raised $5,000 to $7,000, but last year the event raised more than $21,000 from ticket sales and corporate sponsorships.

A candle centerpiece decorated the pool table.

"It goes to all of the services that we provide," Anderson said.

LFCS is a statewide social service organization with programs in counseling, adoption, crisis pregnancy assistance, child care and mentoring services. The Cape Girardeau office serves 15 counties in Southeast Missouri.

"I think it's awesome," Mike Peters said of the organization and its services.

Last year, Peters' company, California Homes, donated to be a corporate sponsor of the Home Tour. This year, he and his wife decided to go the extra step to help the cause and put their own home on the tour.

Peters attends St. Paul Lutheran Church and sponsored the tour last year, but had no other involvement with LFCS. When Anderson called and asked him to open his house to the tour, he quickly said yes.

Ribbon bows and garland lined the rails and wreaths hung in the windows.

"It came as a surprise to me," said Peters' wife, Lauren. She makes decorations and said she usually decorates for Christmas but stepped it up a notch this year for the added guests.

"I think it's for a good cause," she said.

Anderson said the homes on the tour are chosen for their design or decoration.

"It gets harder every year," she said. "You're always looking for a certain type of house," but still looking logistically so people can see all the houses in one day.

"Not only are you going to get great ideas for your own home," she said, but "You can see different kinds of artistic things throughout the homes."

One house on the tour is filled with antiques from London.

Aside from finding certain houses in a reasonably small radius, Anderson said getting home owners to participate is a challenge.

"Would you want 800 people tromping through your house?" she asked. "It is really a big gift for the homeowners, allowing us to be in their home that day."

"Not everyone is willing to write a check for $25,000, but this is one thing they can do," she said. "This is a way that you can help this agency by opening your doors to the community for one day."

LFCS helps the community with programs like Women in Need Growing Stronger (WINGS), Family Foundations, which helps single parents, and international and domestic adoption.

cmharris@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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