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Home for the holidays

Pat and Fred Brandt stand in the formal dining room of their rural Worthington home.1 / 3
Pat Brandt decorated one of her trees in the colors of the Red Hat Society, red and purple.2 / 3
The Brandt home is located at 26792 Read Ave. in Worthington and will be one of five homes featured on this weekend's Hospice Cottage Christmas Walk.3 / 3

WORTHINGTON -- If there is one word Pat Brandt could use to describe Christmas it would be "anticipation."

This year, more than ever, there is an anticipation in the Brandt home just outside of Worthington -- anticipation of the guests that will walk through their decorated holiday home during the seventh annual Hospice Cottage Christmas Walk this Friday and Saturday.

The Brandts, Fred and Pat, are one of five families to open their homes to the public as a fundraiser for Worthington's Hospice Cottage, Inc. While each of them may have a different reason for participating, Pat said losing her mother, an aunt and an uncle to cancer were reason enough to give back and help raise money for hospice.

With the days counting down before the tour, the Brandts have been busy decorating every room on the main floor and upstairs of their home at 26792 Read Ave.

"We don't have any certain style," said Pat of the decor that fills their holiday home. "I like Victorian."

Pat's Victorian tastes can be seen immediately upon entering the formal dining room, with a large tree ready and waiting for a stash of gifts to be placed underneath. The tree is one of 14 that can be viewed throughout the home, which was built in 1900 and was once owned by the Dayton family.

While the Brandts say they don't have any sentimental ornaments or Christmas decorations from Grandma's house, Pat likes to incorporate her mother's picture into her holiday decorating. This year, the photo will be placed among greenery as the family feels her presence during the holiday season.

In the living room, despite protests from their children, the Brandts have four knitted stockings in red, green and white hanging from the fireplace mantel. The stockings -- one each for Lori, Lisa, Kristin and Travis -- were made by one of Pat's former co-workers at Sather's Candy Co., back in 1980. While the kids see them as dated, Pat sees a family tradition -- one that includes stockings filled with goodies on Christmas morn.

The largest of the Brandts' Christmas trees sits in the living room, and will include a string of 10 Nun lights Pat purchased years ago. Those lights are among her favorite.

With a year to prepare for the Christmas Walk, the Brandts completely remodeled their kitchen with new cabinets designed by Pat, countertops, a beautifully tiled backsplash and a center island. The work was the latest in what they say has been a 30-year project in the home, improving each room as time and money allowed.

Through the kitchen and up the stairs, visitors will undoubtedly realize Pat's affection for the Red Hat Society with an entire bedroom painted in white and purple, complete with a tree in the corner filled with bold red and purple ornaments. Red hats hang from each of the beams on the four-poster bed, and purple stockings can be found hanging inside as well.

A sitting room on the second floor includes an antique dresser Pat received from her mom, as well as her mother's Christmas tree, adorned in purple globe ornaments.

Additional rooms decorated on the second floor include the master bedroom, bathroom and additional bedroom.

"To me, Christmas wouldn't seem like Christmas without the decorations, the evergreen and holly, candles and lights, the poinsettias and tinsel," said Pat.

Tickets for this year's Christmas Walk may be purchased through Saturday morning at the Nobles County Library, Hy-Vee, McCarthy's Floral, Sterling Drug (downtown and mall locations), Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington's gift shop. The Christmas Walk is open to adults and children ages 12 and older.

"We hope we have a good turnout again this year," said Christmas Walk organizer Karen Wasmund. "It's a lot of fun. The whole purpose is for people to have fun decorating and showing off their homes. Worthington has a lot of beautiful homes."

Those who purchase tickets for the Christmas Walk are welcome to coffee, bars and cookies during walk hours at Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington. The treats will be served by the hospital auxiliary.

Wasmund is already searching for volunteers to offer their home for next year's Christmas Walk.

Decorating assistance is available for those who volunteer their homes. For this year's tour, Picket Fence on Main assisted at the Turner home; Hy-Vee and Sterling Drug helped with the Anton house; Blooms-n-Baskets aided the Brandts; Wasmund, Deb Grimmius and Leann Mulder all worked on the VonHoltum house and Sharon Davis, Mary Anderson and McCarthy's Floral all assisted the Davis family with decorating.

New this year, two of the homes on the tour are actually for sale -- the VonHoltum and Davis homes, both located on Elmwood Avenue.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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