It was as if elves had scurried into John and Patti Blount’s Sebastopol home and turned every corner into a Christmas scene worthy of the jolly old man himself.
The couple sat back, amazed and delighted, as their family home on a quiet street was turned into a holiday attraction. A tree and a few scattered decorations wouldn’t do for one of the prime stops on the Sebastopol Holiday Home Tour. No space was overlooked, from the banisters wrapped in garlands to the hallway with a tabletop tree to the laundry room with sparkly snowflakes falling from the ceiling.
The house is a mini Christmas theme park, with a different concept in each room. There is the library reminiscent of a British manor house, the family room overtaken by teddy bears and a bedroom done up to suggest a mountain lodge surrounded by snow.
After a two-year COVID-19 break, the home tour is back. For $40 per person, you can visit five homes in the Sebastopol area, each delightfully done up for the season. Homes are open the evening of Dec. 9 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 10.
Now in its 10th year, the Holiday Home Tour supports school scholarships for students at Pleasant Hill Christian School, 60% of whom receive some financial aid. The scholarship fund is named in honor of Jacob Cochran, a Sebastopol boy born with a rare genetic disorder called Hurler syndrome. Known for his red hair and quick smile, Jacob was a visible and beloved member of the community. He died in 1998 at age 11.
The fund was initiated by Jacob’s mother, Donna Cochran, who oversees her Artisan Boutique throughout the weekend at the historic Pleasant Hill Christian School, parts of which date back to 1908.
The boutique features gifts and items for the home, including dried flowers in sun catchers, napkins, terrariums, clay ornament kits, laser-cut wooden cutting boards, tea cup Christmas scenes, candles, vintage finds, pottery, photography and more.
Although the tour went on hiatus for two years during the pandemic, the decorating committee decided to bring it back this year by popular demand.
“We had people clamoring for it. We’d go into town and people would stop and say, ‘Oh, are you going to bring it back?’” said JoVonne Bolt, a veteran member of the decorating committee whose kids attended Pleasant Hill school.
The tour is a chance to ogle festive household bling while trolling for clever decorating ideas to try at home.
Decorating multiple homes right after Thanksgiving, when their own homes are crying out for Christmas cheer, is a big project.
“We continue to do it for the joy of friendship and community,” Bolt said. “It’s just fun to decorate, and we love the school.”
Many holiday styles
Each stop on the self-guided tour is different, underscoring the diversity in styles when it comes to expressing holiday merriment.
One home is a contemporary farmhouse inhabited by multiple generations of the same family who are rebuilding their lives after the 2017 wildfires. Their home reflects their Romanian and Scandinavian roots and sits on property with an orchard. Another featured home has a unique black-and-white kitchen and a wine-themed Christmas tree.
For a completely different take on Christmas, there is home filled with handmade Christmas treasures and heirlooms celebrating three generations of family military service and firefighting.
A fourth home, in Graton, mixes traditional and modern elements with nostalgic farmhouse touches and a spacious backyard where the family has hosted two weddings and a baby shower.
A little decorating help
Some homeowners on the tour relish the challenge of decorating their own homes, like Rachel Seidler, a member of the decorating committee whose own house is on this year’s tour. She takes on a new theme each year.