Angels are watching over the Bess Streeter Aldrich House in Elmwood during the holiday season as its new “Journey Into Christmas” tour reflects one of the famous author’s short stories, “The Silent Stars Go By.”

For the tour, 10 rooms plus the exterior porch in the house are decorated by volunteers to reflect the chosen theme.

“Randi Van Dyne has decorated the sunroom for many years. This year, she reminds us of the beauty of the holiday season with her tree that is adorned with a light layer of snow, red and gold bulbs and a ‘silent star,’ directing you to a blessed holiday,” said Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation Executive Director Kurk Shrader.

Shrader’s wife, Kris, and Joanne Hanshaw gave a vintage holiday look to the living room. “Through their decorating they hope to have encouraged you to consider Christmases from your past with a wide array of vintage Christmas items prompting the thought, ‘Do you remember?’” he said.

Bonnie Brewer and Brenda Stewart teamed to decorate Aldrich’s breakfast room. They adorned the tree with blue, silver and white decorations. “Ironically, how could anyone have a ‘blue Christmas’ after seeing this room decorated,” Shrader said.

Elmwood’s Cub Scout Pack 360 members decorated the kitchen area with homemade ornaments and decorations. “We thank them for putting their arts and craft skills to work while serving their community in this way,” Shrader said.

The dining room is always breathtaking at the Aldrich house, but Kami Voboril and Sue Connour used a tea and angel theme for decorating, making it particularly beautiful and inviting.

Toni Heimes cleverly decorated Aldrich’s study with vintage and handmade touches. “Stars and angel wings take on a special significance throughout the space,” he said. “Although it was Toni’s first year to decorate at the Aldrich House, it’s obvious she has done this before.”

Mary and Norm Essink of Lincoln decked out the upstairs landing with an angel theme. “Mary affectionately reminds us that there are ‘Angels Among Us’ with the decorations,” Shrader said.

The southeast bedroom, Aldrich’s room, is referred to as the “Spring Came on Forever” room after one of her novels. This room was decorated by Terri Heckman of Terri’s Treemendous Tree Decorating in Hickman. “Her beautiful tree is only one of five she has made for various civic groups,” Shrader said.

The southwest bedroom, the “Mother Mason” room, was decorated by Mary Frances Reinke and Jean Reinke. They incorporated angels and blue, gold and white ornaments into the theme.

Elmwood-Murdock Elementary students and teachers decorated the “A Lantern in Her Hand” bedroom in the northwest corner of the house. “They made handmade decorations and ornaments for the tree,” Shrader said. “We thank the children’s teachers for teaching them about Mrs. Aldrich and sharing their decorations with us.”

Mary Johnson chose to decorate the “Rim of the Prairie,” northeast bedroom, again. “Mary’s extensive collection of antique toys, quilts and vintage ornaments all work together to take you back to the Aldrich’s early years.” Shrader said. “Many of the artifacts were made by Mary’s relatives including some ornaments, the nativity stable and the doll.”

Christian Church Sunday school students made angel ornaments for the upstairs bathroom. “They handcrafted the beautiful beaded angels and gold stars to fit with this year’s theme,” Shrader said.

Outside the house, Creative Cats 4-H Club members decorated a new pine tree from Eagle Nurseries with bird-friendly ornaments.

Annette and Mark Dougherty and their grandchildren from Dougherty Christmas Tree Farm of Alvo adorned the porch with a Douglas fir tree.

The Bess Streeter Aldrich House is open 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday November through April, and 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday May through October. The house is located at 204 East F St. in Elmwood.


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