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It’s a good thing Lori Lathrop doesn’t have to feed all the men at her house.

But then, they don’t eat much.

Actually, they don’t eat at all — because they’re snowmen.

When guests tour Jim and Lori Lathrop’s house, they’ll see a pleasant plethora of smiling snowmen — enough to melt the heart of even the most cold-hearted Grinch.

The Lathrops’ cheerfully decorated house will be just one of five on the Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes. The event is planned from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday.

Tickets, which cost $20 each, are available at Interiors Plus, 408 N. Main St., Fremont — now and on the night of the tour. Tickets need not be purchased in advance.

Proceeds from the holiday event will benefit Heartland Family Service Jefferson House, a residential children’s shelter and group home in Fremont.

Fremont houses included in the evening tour are:

  • Home 1 – Terry and Norma Bokowski — 2835 Belvedere Ave.
  • Home 2 – Jim and Lori Lathrop — 3220 Peterson Ave.
  • Home 3 – Colleen Dilley — 234 W. 10th St.
  • Home 4 – Ronda Hollendieck — 132 E. 10th St.
  • Home 5 – Jeff Hoffman — 1049 N. Main St.

Guests can visit the homes in any order they wish. They simply show their ticket at the participating house, said Meldene Cushman of Interiors Plus, a Jefferson House supporter.

Besides the tour, tickets include a reception starting at 7:30 p.m., in the J’s Steakhouse and Winebar party room, a decorating tips publication and also a recipe collection containing 100 holiday favorites from Fremont residents.

Michelle Siers, manager of J’s, will provide a complimentary holiday cocktail.

Appetizers and Christmas treats will be served at the reception with samples from the recipe collection, including — white chocolate craisin scones, date balls and Christmas stars — bread with an assortment of spreads like shrimp and cheese.

The decorating tips publication will feature various ideas, including how to create an appealing table centerpiece.

“I just put together a list of things people ask me about when I decorate my home as to how I do it,” said Jeff Hoffman, a Jefferson House supporter.

A raffle for a fully decorated Christmas tree, available for viewing in the Kollmeyer Passageway, will be drawn at the event reception.

Hoffman notes the benefits of attending the event.

“We have some really beautiful, unique homes,” he said. “It’s really a great way to be inspired to prepare for the holidays.”

And the event is designed to help make the holidays brighter for children and youth.

“The money goes to help the kids at the Jefferson House have a wonderful Christmas,” Hoffman said. “It will go for gifts and since they (the kids) are on break from school, the board plans a lot of activities for them.”

That can cost some money.

“Taking 12 kids to the movies — for example — is expensive,” he said, adding, “They’ll use it for whatever they need to — as the needs come up for the kids this holiday season.”

Cushman also points out benefits to those taking the holiday home tour.

“It gets you in the spirit,” she said.

The tour can provide fellowship and decorating ideas.

“Everybody has different tastes,” she said. “Some things are new in their decorating and some are old. Some are nostalgic. Some have a ‘today look.’ It’s nice to see people use the new with the old.”

Those who visit the Lathrop home will see a light touch of the snowman theme at the kitchen table, which features an eye-catching centerpiece. The centerpiece appears to have sparkling ice crystal flowers with swirling red garland. Red cranberries encircle the centerpiece’s base.

The red swirl of the centerpiece is captured again in the delicate drinking glasses.

Festive red napkins with snowflake holders rest atop plates decorated with snowmen.

Before visitors reach the kitchen, however, they’ll pass by a tall, decorated tree in a purple room. A snowman with a sparkly royal blue scarf tops the tree.

Visitors wondering how to decorate their staircases may get some ideas at the Lathrop house where the banister is adorned with tiny, white lights and pine garland with red and white decorations.

A black top hat with a red band sits atop the newel post cap on the handrail.

At the top of the stairs, guests will find a tree decorated with shiny, colorful ornaments and ribbons. Written on the ornaments are Bible verses from the Christmas story found in the Gospel of Luke.

A wooden Nativity set at the base of the tree can remind guests a Christmas gift given more than 2,000 years ago.

People, who like pink, will find a room decorated in that color for the holidays.

A pink tree sparkles with tiny, white lights, silver bling and is topped with a tiara from daughter, Brenna, who was part of a homecoming court.

Shiny, pink glass ornaments fill a glass vase on the bed’s headboard. The bed has a black and white spread with pink accent pillows.

In between two bedrooms is a chalkboard wall decorated with snowmen and a winter scene.

Film buffs can appreciate a downstairs movie room, which has two trees. One tree is decorated with “Christmas Vacation” ornaments and the other with little “leg lamps” from “A Christmas Story.”

Lathrop enjoys getting her house ready for the holidays. Starting on Nov. 1, she played Christmas music and started decorating.

“I’ve always liked decorating,” Lathrop said. “I love snowmen. They’re so happy. My kids call me a snowman hoarder. I think it’s funny.”

She has more than 50 snowmen next to the fireplace in the family room — and the snowmen stay up for a couple months after Christmas.

And no snowman should feel unsafe — not with some sturdy soldier-like nutcrackers around.

“We have to have the nutcrackers keeping guard over all the snowmen, of course,” she said with a chuckle.

Two nutcrackers — each 5 feet tall — stand guard near the kitchen table.

Another two nutcrackers, at least 3 feet tall, are just inside the front door.

Outside, lighted nutcrackers — about 6 feet tall — can be seen from the street.

Lathrop hopes area residents will enjoy visiting her home and seeing the decorations.

“I hope they think it’s fun,” Lathrop said. “There’s some whimsy in it. … I hope they take some of that joy and happiness away with them.”

In the meantime, the shimmering holiday decorations can add a little warmth to a cold winter’s day.

“It just makes me happy,” Lathrop said of the decorating. “It brings out my creative side.”


News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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