While you’re getting ready to entertain family and friends during the holidays, some local homeowners are getting ready to open their wreathed doors to total strangers.
Celebratory preparations (shopping, baking, decorating, etc.) take time, so grab your Gustav Klimt-, Hunger Games-, or Baby Animals-themed calendar (or summon up the boring one on your high-tech device) and carve out some time to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labors by taking a home tour.
Of course, home tours are popular any time of the year. But in December, you get the bonus of seeing beautiful homes and landscapes adorned with seasonal decorations to charm away any sprinkling of Grinchiness you may harbor after battling gift-seeking crowds at the mall.
Here, in chronological order, are tours to consider:
Poway Chapter of National Charity League’s Holiday Home Tour
December 7, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tickets ($25)/info: nclpoway.org
Three homes in Poway include a 4,590-square-foot home in Bridlewood Country Estates, a 10,000-square-foot home on 1.3 acres in the Arbolitos area and a 15,000-square-foot home in Heritage Custom Estates. One of the homes (professionally decorated) features a cabana with a full indoor kitchen and pizza oven, rock walls created by a Disney artist, subterranean wine cellar and a party room with a dance floor and disco! Proceeds benefit Poway Senior Center’s home-delivered meals program, the Rolling Hills homework club for children in low-income families and the Gayle Kennedy Memorial Scholarship Fund for young women in the Poway School District who want to pursue a teaching degree.
All Souls’ St. Nicholas Home Tour, Point Loma
December 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tickets ($25)/info: 619-223-6394, all-souls.com/#!home-tour/c14e2
Five homes on the tour include an octagonal home built in 1901 and moved to its present location in the ’30s, another slightly younger at 98 years old and a few more contemporary ones. There’s also a marketplace for holiday shopping and a tearoom serving gourmet tea and cookies. Proceeds benefit charitable causes, including Peninsula Shepherd Center (services for seniors), The Kenya Project (meeting health, education and spiritual needs of children in Kenya) and Loaves & Fishes (food for homeless people in Ocean Beach).
Vista Community Clinic Holiday Home Tour
December 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tickets ($20 advance, $25 day of tour)/info: 760-631-5000, ext. 1139; vistacommunityclinic.org/HHT
The four homes on this tour have been decorated by interior designers Barbara Bergholz and Lorri Grah, Keely Brewer, Linda Good and Jessie Hudson, and Beppie Mostert. One of the homes will host an artisans’ bazaar. There’s also a raffle featuring gift baskets. Proceeds benefit the Kare for Kids Fund, providing pediatric care to local children.
Alpine Woman’s Club Christmas in Alpine Home Tour
December 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Tickets ($30 advance, $35 day of tour)/info: 619-445-2055
This tour includes five spectacular country estates, the decorated Alpine Community Church and a surprise stop (I've been sworn to secrecy). Extra attractions include an ornament bazaar at the church, carolers and goodies (including hot cocoa). Proceeds provide college scholarships to graduating high schoolers in Alpine.
Friends of the Oceanside Public Library Holiday Home Tour
December 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tickets ($20)/info: 760-435-5560, oplfriends.org
This tour includes five homes, ranging from historical to a modern home on the beach. Bonus stops include the decorated Surf Museum and Succulent Cafe, the latter giving free succulent plants to tour-goers. There’s also a gift boutique (open until 5 p.m.) at the library offering refreshments, live entertainment, a silent auction and an opportunity drawing for prizes. Proceeds go toward books and materials for the library and for various library programs.
Iris Auxiliary’s Kensington Holiday Home Tour
December 15, noon-4 p.m.
Tickets ($20 advance, $25 day of event)/info: 619-563-1249, centerforchildren.org/iris
The five homes on this tour are professionally decorated in elegant style by Kristin Lomauro Interior Design, Leanne Michael Luxe Lifestyle, French Garden Shoppe, Jackie Dampier Design and David Urban. All of the residences date back 80 years or more (one has historic designation), but are beautifully maintained, restored or remodeled. Proceeds benefit the San Diego Center for Children, which provides services to young people with intensive behavioral and mental health needs.