BOTKINS — The Botkins Beautification Club will hold its 13th annual Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 per person and children 12 and under tour for free. Tickets are available for purchase at Country Lane, 17009 Hieland-Keys Road; Jenny’s Design, 305 E. State St.; and Finishing Touches, 231 S. Main St. Shops will be closed the day of the event.
A total of four homes will be featured during the event. For Jessica Egbert, this is her first year participating in the Christmas Tour of Homes, and she will be showcasing her home built the previous year.
“My husband and I had gone to the Christmas Tour of Homes back when we were building our house, and we thought it was neat to see how other people were decorating their houses for Christmas. It’s just a really neat thing that the community did, and we thought it would be a good idea to help raise money for the community and be part of the community in that way,” Egbert said.
Egbert, who lives on Wenger Road with her husband Andy, got ideas for her own home while on the tour last year. She and her husband also began a Christmas tradition of cutting down their own Christmas tree last year—something they plan to continue as their family grows. Another feature in their home is a nativity set given to them from Andy’s mother, including real gold, myrrh, and frankincense carried by the magi. Baby Jesus can also be moved from the manger to Mary’s arms.
“I think I’m most looking forward to seeing everybody and spending time with people in the community and just having everybody together. It’s been really nice that this year is our second year living in the house and our second year decorating, so I kind of knew from last year, what I wanted to do, and I also added a few things,” Egbert said.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Rita Hemmert. Hemmert’s home, which sits along state Route 219, was built in the late 19th century and has gone through several remodels over the years. Hemmert and her husband, Leon, have resided in their home since 1986 and raised their two children, Kate and Alex, there. After attending and enjoying several tours over the years, Hemmert decided to showcase her own home in order to keep the tour going.
“Just seeing the people walk through, and meeting and talking to everyone, I think that’ll be the fun part. I think the comments that you hear will be interesting, so I’m just interested in meeting the people,” Hemmert said. “Because of this, I’m going to meet another couple that I didn’t know. I get to meet additional people, and I think it draws the community together because you’re introducing more people to each other. Everybody is in a festive mood at Christmastime, and it’s just a fun time.”
Hemmert has always been one to do a lot of decorating for Christmas; a tradition she started years ago with her children was placing and decorating multiple Christmas trees in her home, and her children would have their own tree to decorate any way they wanted. Even though her children have left the home and started their own families, the tradition continues with her grandchildren.
“When you have something you truly enjoy, it’s really not work. Putting up Christmas decorations is just something I enjoy, and I love to have people over and I love to share my decorations with people, so it doesn’t feel like work. It really doesn’t,” Hemmert said.
According to Botkins Beautification Club President Nancy Stutsman, the mission of the BBC has always been to beautify the village, and the Christmas Tour of Homes is one of many ways the organization goes about accomplishing that goal. Recently, Veteran’s Park in Botkins was completed, a project spearheaded by the BBC, which also decorated the park for Christmas. The organization has also obtained banners for light poles throughout town, as well as a grant to get more Christmas decorations added in town.
“We do anything we can to help the town look better,” Stutsman said. “About 13 years ago, we were just looking for a way to showcase the beauty in our village. One of the pleasant side effects has been the unity that it creates. It’s neat to see the connections between the homeowners each year, and even between the members that are working the tour with the homeowners. They’re much more likely to be involved or to help out with donations of time or money as we have projects in the future.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.