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Sharing the holiday spirit

5th annual Waterman Christmas House Walk set for Saturday

David Barnes has been decorating for Christmas since August.

The holiday can be seen in every corner of his apartment: There’s a Christmas tree in all of his rooms – even the kitchen and bathroom – along with wreaths, lights, ribbons, bows, wrapped presents and figurines of Santa Claus and snowmen.

“What’s on display is actually about a third of all that I have, because I’ve been collecting Christmas items for about 40 years,” Barnes said. “I couldn’t even begin to guess how much I have. Christmas is the only holiday I decorate for because it takes so long to put up and take down every year.”

Barnes’ home is one of the five festively decorated locations participating in the fifth annual Christmas House Walk in Waterman to take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. This will be the third year Barnes is participating in the event.

Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 the day of the event, and can be bought at the participating homes, Simply IRZSTBL, 200 W. Lincoln Highway, or by calling 815-295-1091. All proceeds from Waterman Enhancement Group’s event will benefit Muingan Park.

The homes, at 310 N. Elm St., 330 N. Elm St., 430 N. Elm St., 190 N. Cedar St. and 9905 Bastian Road, each were decorated with a different Christmas theme. Each home also will provide a variety of food and drink. Waterman Winery will offer a sampling of wines for ticket holders.

Four homes will be on display, and the fifth location will feature a decorated corn crib with a Nativity scene. For a $2 donation, a horse-drawn wagon will take riders to and from the house walk homes and the Waterman Community Building.

Other events in Waterman on Saturday include the Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast, Lion’s Club Fruit Sale and Methodist Church Bake Sale from 7 to 11 a.m. at Indian Creek Middle School, a fireside luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Waterman Presbyterian Church, a holiday open houses at Simply IRZSTBL from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 1803 Candle from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., a local crafter and vendor sale at the Waterman Community Building from noon to
4:30 p.m. and free rides on the Holiday Lights Train from
4 to 9 p.m. Santa will arrive at Waterman’s Lion’s Park at
5 p.m.

Peggy Rogers, Waterman Enhancement Group president and owner of one of the homes on display, will serve a Victorian tea, sweet and savory quick breads, homemade cookies and shrimp bisque. Rogers said she has been renovating and decorating her Victorian farmhouse for the event in stages since June, when she started detailing and painting her porch and railings.

“I made small improvements here and there to make our home look pristine for the walk,” she said. “My hope is that visitors will enjoy the spirit of the season by wandering around the participating homes, snacking and mingling as they look around and enjoy.”

Christina Bystry, who is a member of the Waterman Enhancement Group, is showing her home for the house walk for the first time this year. Her house’s theme is “Santa Claus,” and she will serve mini quiches and savory pinwheels.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday and favorite time of the year,” Bystry said. “I love to decorate and wanted to share that with my neighbors and the community members. It’s an opportunity to visit with each other and socialize.”

This will be Becky and Tom May’s third time having their house on display for the event. Their house’s theme is “Nature,” with animal and plant decorations in every room, planters outside and a decorated porch. They made many of their decorations, such as barn board displays and wall hangings, using repurposed items. The Mays will serve coffee, hot cocoa, punch, wine, homemade cookies, hot apple crisp, and a fruit, cheese and sausage plate.

“We love the event because everyone can gather together, hang around, snack and talk,” Tom May said. “We enjoy having people over and sharing our home, decorations and Christmas traditions with them.”

Barnes said his family’s Christmas traditions are why he continues to decorate each year. His favorite Christmas decorations are bubble lights because they remind him of his grandmother and the one bubble light on her Christmas tree. He placed a strand of bubble lights in garland above the entrance to his dining room.

“I love putting up Christmas decorations because it’s like putting up memories,” Barnes said. “I look at each ornament and remember who gave it to me and when they gave it. Christmas reminds me of a simpler, happier time, of my childhood. I love participating in this event because it lets me share Christmas and that holiday spirit with others.”

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