by Anna Comfort | photo by Keith Borgmeyer

Those looking for holiday inspiration can see some of Columbia’s most beautiful homes, with halls fully decked, on the Holiday Home Tour. The event is organized by the Women’s Symphony League, an auxiliary of the Missouri Symphony Society, and will take place December 2 through 4. Now in its 33rd year, the Holiday Home Tour raises funds to support the symphony society’s conservatory program for young musicians, as well as its Hot Summer Nights music festival.

The tour is self-paced and features different homes every year. Visitors start at whichever location they choose and are invited to enjoy each host’s take on seasonal décor. Volunteer docents stationed in every main room will point out decorations as well as furniture and architectural design features and share stories about the home’s history.

This year’s tour presents a little variety for home viewers.

“We have two young professional families on the tour this year,” says Nancy Griggs, Women’s Symphony League treasurer, “and both families have young children, bringing a theme of playful decoration to the tour.”

One of the young couples, Melissa and Josh Holyoak, describe life with their four children as “joyful chaos,” and they decorate their home each Christmas with homemade ornaments and an electric train set. The other couple, Megan and Daniel Hoyt, along with their son and daughter, adorn their bannisters with green garlands and decorate several themed Christmas trees throughout the house.

The other two residential stops on the tour this year are Providence Point, also known as the University of Missouri President’s Residence, and the MU Chancellor’s Residence. Both are currently unoccupied, making it easier to open them to the public.

Providence Point has a traditional Christmas tree trimmed with bulb ornaments in black, red, green, blue, gold, and white, representing the school colors of each of the four UM System campuses. The Chancellor’s Residence is filled each year with elaborate Christmas decorations that complement the home’s Victorian décor. Nancy says that the Holiday Home Tour “kicks off [the chancellor’s home’s] 150th year.” The residence was built in 1867.

Usually included in the tour is one non-residential building; this year’s commercial stop is the Brouder Science Center, on the campus of Columbia College. The nurse’s lab will be open during the tour, and visitors will get to see Simon the Simulator, a robot that simulates medical symptoms. At points in the weekend, tour stops will feature live entertainment from the Missouri Symphony Conservatory and the Jane Froman Singers.

“It’s a time to find ideas for your own home, or to get into the Christmas spirit if you don’t decorate,” says Nancy. “And it’s a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends during the cold winter months.”

Tickets are on sale for $15 at mosymphonysociety.org as well as D&H Drugstore, all Columbia Hy-Vee locations, McAdams Ltd., Songbird Station, and the Missouri Theatre, or at the door for $20.

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