WORTHINGTON — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the four homes taking part in the 17th annual Christmas House Walk next week in Worthington.
Homeowners and volunteers are busily putting up trees, hanging ornaments and adding last-minute decorative holiday touches in preparation for the fundraiser that supports Hospice Cottage Inc.
At the Brian and Rhonda Larsen home on the west shore of Lake Okabena, no less than eight trees are festooned in shimmering lights and colorful ornaments, with two beautifully decorated trees coming into view upon entry to their Moon Circle abode.
The Larsens are repeat participants in the Christmas House Walk, having first opened their doors for the fundraising event in 2012.
“When I did the Christmas walk seven years ago, my sister-in-law from Sioux Falls came over and she had a great time spending my money,” quipped Rhonda Larsen. “We did a peacock theme that year.”
This time around, the Larsens played off the peacock colors — tones of iridescent blue and shimmering green — and added gold highlights, while removing the peacock feathers used in 2012.
“I couldn’t do peacock, but I didn’t want to totally start over,” Rhonda said.
The Larsen home traditionally has a couple of trees set up for Christmas — one in the living room, and another in the lower level family room usually decorated with ornaments the couple has collected over the years. With the tour, however, the family collection has remained in storage this season.
Visitors will find instead four trees on the home’s main level and four on the lower level. Each is adorned in different color schemes to play off existing colors in the rooms. The four bedrooms, for instance, have trees decorated in colors to match the bedspreads. Brian’s office has a tree decorated in a woodsy theme, the dining room tree has colors to match the snowflake dinner plates Rhonda will have set around the table, and the lower level family room features a tree in reds and whites to brighten up the space occupied by a pair of brown leather sofas.
With all of the decorating that has been done, Rhonda said there are still some finishing touches that need to be completed in each of the rooms open for the tour. Hospice committee members have worked on decorating in the Larsen home three different days in the past two and a half weeks, and Adorn 1024 will be bringing in decorations as well.
“She said she has some fun things for a house on the lake,” Rhonda said of Adorn 1024 owner Greta Kraft.
Finding a prominent place on the main level of the home is a ceramic nativity — the primary reason for the season, Rhonda notes.
“Brian’s grandma made the pieces in ceramics for me many years ago,” she shared. “She gave me a few pieces over Christmases as presents.”
With the decorating nearly complete, the Larsen home is ready for a Christmas season to be spent with family. The couple has three grown sons — one each in Worthington, Wichita, Kansas and Austin, Texas — and six grandchildren, with another on the way in February.
The family has called Worthington home since 1986 and lived on Moon Circle since 2010. Brian is founder and owner of Bedford Technology in Worthington while Rhonda, who spent 24 years as a paraprofessional in the elementary school, returns there once a week as a volunteer. They also volunteer in their church and enjoy supporting the community.
Tickets for the Hospice Cottage Christmas House Walk are available for purchase at Adorn 1024, the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, Hy-Vee, Sterling Drug and Sanford Worthington Medical Center Gift Shop. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are not available at the house walk homes. No children under the age of 12 may take part in the tour, and there are no cameras or videotaping allowed in any of the homes.
The Christmas House Walk is from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 23. In addition to the Larsen home at 729 Moon Circle, participating homes include the Kim and Allen Drost home at 1520 N. Crailsheim Road, the Sarah Darling home at 641 W. Shore Drive, and the Johnson home, 1905 First Ave. S.W.
American Lutheran Church, 915 Winifred St., will also be open and offering free warm refreshments during the Christmas House Walk. This is a time to view the church’s new welcoming space. Free-will donations will be accepted to support the church youths who plan to participate in a mission trip to Mexico, Missouri in July 2020.
Also, people are encouraged to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win the Hospice Cottage’s fully decorated tree now on display at Duffer's (GreatLIFE Worthington). Raffle tickets will be sold from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Retail value of the tree and decorations is $500.