Decked out for the season — with a reason: Hospice Cottage Christmas House Walk is Friday, Saturday

WORTHINGTON -- If Sue Nau ever needed an excuse to get a head start on decking her halls for Christmas, she's certainly found one this year. Nau and her husband, Lenny, are among the four local couples opening their homes and hearts to the 13th a...

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Lenny and Sue Nau stand in their Worthington residence. The Naus are among four couples opening their home for the 13th annual Hospice Cottage Christmas House Walk. Ryan McGaughey/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON - If Sue Nau ever needed an excuse to get a head start on decking her halls for Christmas, she’s certainly found one this year.

Nau and her husband, Lenny, are among the four local couples opening their homes and hearts to the 13th annual Hospice Cottage Christmas House Walk this weekend; raising funds for that effort offers the families involved a terrific reason to go all out with holiday décor.
“We have a daughter who is a hospice nurse in Spirit Lake, so when we were approached about doing this, we agreed,” said Nau.
“It’s for a good cause.”

The Naus have lived in their Homewood Hills house since 2013, and Sue, who is opting to decorate for the hospice fundraising event on her own, admits it won’t be the first time her four daughters have accused her of being “over-the-top” with her visual holiday spirit.
“I love decorating, and my kids think I must have a separate house someplace where I hide all this stuff,” laughed Nau.
“Lenny has helped, too, by putting up outdoor lights.”
Nau collects stuffed “Santa” bears, which she displays on a ledge above her living room windows; the Christmas tree set up in that room is decorated with Santa bears.
“Our master bedroom is Elvis-themed, so we went with a ‘Blue Christmas’ idea in there,” said Nau.
“And we have a North Woods lodge look in the basement, with Alpine trees and lots of greenery and candles.”
Although Karen Wasmund has chaired the fundraiser annually since its inception, she gets “some really good help” from Karen Caraway, Sue Hassebrock, LeAnn Mulder and Deb Grimmius, as well as from an entire stable of volunteers who will spend this Friday evening and Saturday morning as ticket takers and room monitors at the various houses.
“It takes a whole lot of people to make it all come together,” acknowledged Wasmund.
“We get a lot of support from the hospice board members, and from others who want to help, plus McCarthy’s Floral and Decadent Décor offer assistance with decorating and items for some of the houses.”
Wasmund says the event typically garners from $4,000 to $6,000 for Hospice Cottage Inc. of Worthington.
“I got involved because my brother was under hospice care before they built he cottage, and the hospice staff treated him very well,” said Wasmund.
“Then, I was on the fundraising committee when they built the hospice cottage and I’d attended some ‘parades of homes’ in other towns so thought it could work here, too.”
Attendees are asked to remove their footwear upon entering the homes, and the committee requests that no photos or videotaping occur during the tours, which are open to adults and children over 12.
The three other homes on the 2015 Christmas House Walk are as follows:

The Judy and Gary Gerdes home
“We’re in a condominium on South Crailsheim Road across from Olson Park,” shared Judy, “and we were recruited to participate.”
Having moved to the condo from their long-time single family house about two and a half years ago, the Gerdeses had down-sized somewhat in making their housing transition.
Having passed on some Christmas adornments to their two grown children and five grandchildren, the couple nevertheless kept enough to do most of the decorating for this weekend’s events themselves.
“We’re getting some help from Decadent Décor to fill in,” said Judy.
Judy goes for a natural, country-ish, woodsy look, and shared that one of the three trees in their three-bedroom, single-floor space is filled with antique glass ornaments.
“There are some antique-type bells on another tree, and the third one, in our bedroom, is mostly red and white with icicles,” she detailed.
Unique to the Gerdes’ home is Judy’s affinity for crocks, some of which will be filled with Christmas accents.
“We’re happy to help out the hospice cottage,” assured Judy. “That made it very hard to say no.”

The Maria and Mark Thier home
With four active children (ages 2, 6, 10 and 13) at their West Lake Avenue home, Maria Thier assures their house “tells the story of our lives at Christmas.
“We have a Christmas tree full of memories, with things my kids have made for us, items my parents or Mark’s parents have given us and ornaments I received from students when I was teaching,” said Maria.
“Our Christmas décor is about the things we hold dear and find meaningful, not just about what’s attractive.”
Especially for the family’s 2-year-old son, the early decorating has seemed a real adventure.
“He thinks it’s fabulous every time we pull out a Christmas item, so we’ve been decorating, redecorating and redecorating again,” laughed Maria.
In the Thiers’ living/dining area, silver is a prevalent color, while their kitchen boasts a red-and-white candy cane style.
“And we have a lot of burlap, natural things in our lower level,” said Maria.
Each of the children’s rooms has a Christmas tree that reflects their personalities and color preferences, as well.


The Dea and Wayne Klumper home
“This will be our sixth Christmas in this house,” said Dea, who accepted the committee’s offer of help with decorating.
“They’ve been decorating for the past two weeks, and we have 14 Christmas trees in our house - we usually have just two,” she noted.
“It’s amazing to watch them (the decorating volunteers) work because they’re all very good at what they do, and they’ve put in many, many hours.”
The Klumpers normally employ a “country Christmas” theme in their rural home, using elements like cranberry strings and burlap.
“The Christmas tree I did this year is a Norwegian tree, with a lot of straw ornaments along with some dangly crystal and silver sparkly ornaments,” Dea described.
“It looks very Scandinavian, which is funny because none of us is Norwegian.”
But Dea, of German descent, grew up in Decorah, Iowa - a hotbed of Scandinavian culture - so, she says, “I always felt a little Norwegian.”
More recently, the Klumpers’ son Joe married Kristin, a native of Norway, so the family is increasingly aware of Norwegian culture and customs.
The Klumpers’ master bedroom features blue décor and a blue tree, while their lower level is brightened with a tree decked in snowmen and snowflakes.
“There’s another tree downstairs that has more traditional red and green colors,” Dea said.
In other years, Dea is adamant about not introducing Christmas into her house until Thanksgiving has been duly celebrated (their family includes three adult children, their spouses and seven grandchildren), but she is happy to make an exception to benefit the Hospice Cottage.
“We’re honored to open our home for this cause,” said Dea. “It’s a small way of saying thank you to all the Worthington people who supported Wayne in so many ways after his motorcycle accident.”

Tickets for the Hospice Cottage Inc. Christmas House Walk (which occurs from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday) may be purchased at HyVee, McCarthy’s Floral, Decadent Décor, Sterling Drug, the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sanford Worthington Medical Center gift shop. Proceeds support Hospice Cottage, Inc. A fully decorated, red-and-white Christmas tree is being raffled off; the tree may be viewed and raffle tickets purchased through Friday at Lit’l Wizards, 211 10th St.

Related Topics: CHRISTMAS
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