I was disappointed to see the article in SpeakOut on Dec. 8 regarding the Christmas Home tours. I wish the person who was so dissatisfied with the tour would have come forward and I would have gladly returned their money.
I did not call SpeakOut to respond, as I believe when you have something to say, complimentary or critical, you should sign your name to it. Calling SpeakOut with the complaint was a hurtful way to tell us of their displeasure. This was our fourth year and we had hoped to continue the tour as an annual event, as so many people seem to enjoy it. Now I fear we will not be able to get people to feature their homes for fear of criticism.
In SpeakOut, they stated you should not "volunteer" your home if you are not prepared to use a lot of decorations. Let me make it clear that people rarely volunteer their homes. Instead, I have to call 30 to 40 people each year before I find four homes for the tour. The decoration of the homes is at the expense of the homeowner. We do not require them to decorate elaborately to satisfy us, but instead decorate their home as they usually do for their families. Not everyone is a Martha Stewart and that is certainly not the criteria to be on the tour.
We were proud of the homes featured this year and want to thank each one who participated. It takes special people to volunteer their home so that strangers can participate in the excitement of Christmas. These people give a great deal of the time and effort to make this fund-raiser a success for the Depot. But, after all, this is what Christmas is about - giving and not receiving. The Christmas Tour is a way for people to make a donation and get something for their money (we thought everyone understood that). Visiting the Depot and participating in our exhibits and special events is free because of money raised from programs like the Christmas Tour.
The Christmas Home Tour began as a fund-raiser. It now is one of the first opportunities in our community to put others first, showing our Christmas spirit. It may be a good way for the person who wrote in SpeakOut to show their Christmas spirit by volunteering their home for next year's tour. We can only hope that the comments in SpeakOut will not affect next year's home tour.
The Standard Democrat gave us excellent coverage and has supported us every year, not only for the tour but all of the other exhibits and projects we have undertaken. We are grateful for their support.
Home Tour coordinator