About 330 people walked through six homes decorated to the hilt for Christmas, from the classic to the contemporary, according to North Myrtle Beach Woman’s Club committee chairperson Connie Holston. “Overall, I think it was a great success,” Holston said. “We didn’t have any major issues with traffic, which I know some subdivisions were worried about, but it was spread pretty evenly (among the six houses). And I think we had about a 15-18 mile range of houses to see.”
The home that was the furthest south was a contemporary on 46th Avenue South in the Windy Hill section, decorated by Ann Swain in all white, which drew many comparisons to a winter wonderland. Swain, originally from Great Britain, even used fake snow around her outdoor decorations.
Money raised through the Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes supports 13 local charities. Tickets cost $25, a price that has stayed the same for about the past six years because there are sponsors, and tickets are given to them, so a total amount raised was not immediately available.
Included on the tour were two model homes, which some people raised eyebrows over. But Holston said, “If it were me, I’d want to know what kind of new homes were going into my subdivision, and this was the chance to ask those questions.”
Many people also go through model homes just to take a quick peek, whether they are interested in buying or not, so this provided an organized place and time to do that.
There were still plenty of personal touches to be seen. Peter and Corey Winn’s home in the Hidden Brooke Subdivision included an antique family shed, rustic farmhouse touches and a collection of nutcrackers and a decorated toy room. Pam Huey’s home in Seabrook Plantation featured Southern Living style touches with magnolia branches and one-of-a-kind artifacts from her son’s travels while in the military. Outdoor areas included whimsical items and the piece-de-resistance was a mannequin decorated with a red tablecloth and extensive greenery, which a committee member said had drawn the most “oohs and ahhs” and commentary.
The home of Amber and John Stephenson in Sea Vista featured eye-popping collections of glass ornaments, elves and Santa Clauses, including a collection of Russian Santas piled together. Holston said many of Amber Stephenson’s items are from family members and have been handed down “and are very special to her.” Every nook and cranny of the home was filled with decorations and collections.
The biggest difficulty putting on the annual home tour is getting people willing to open their homes and have them fully decorated for all to see. Holston said she had lined up three homes already for next year, starting already, “because that makes me sleep better at night.”