This view of the Elizabeth and Derrick Allen home includes two of the many Christmas trees that are located throughout the home. Participants of the holiday home tour on Sunday will see many such festive displays throughout the home.
This view of the Elizabeth and Derrick Allen home includes two of the many Christmas trees that are located throughout the home. Participants of the holiday home tour on Sunday will see many such festive displays throughout the home.
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The Chatfield Lutheran Church's Holiday Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec. 2, promises to be a wonderful kickoff to the holiday season in Chatfield. The tour, being held from noon to 3:30 p.m. will feature five local homes, decorated and adorned with the most festive of decorations.

The tour, sponsored by the Youth and Family Committee, will begin at the church where one can enjoy a few refreshments before deciding which of the five homes to visit first. The homes featured on the tour this year are owned by Nancy Giehtbrock, Elizabeth and Derrick Allen, Ross and Jen Johnson, Michael and Michelle Pederson and Doug and Kelly Nosbisch.

The first two homes on the tour were featured in last week's Chatfield News or can be found online at www.bluffcountrynews.com under the Chatfield News heading. The final three homes on the tour are featured here.

Elizabeth and Derrick Allen

The Allen home, built just 10 years ago on the south end of Main Street, has provided a great deal of space for the Allen's four daughters to play and for the Allens to entertain.

"Our home is filled with many snapshot pictures of special places we've been to or things we've done as a blended family," shared Elizabeth.

She added their home is filled with many worded sign decorations that encourage living life with faith and putting the family first.

"We are grateful for all we have despite the difficulties we've experienced and I believe our home is a tribute to our desire to celebrate life and happiness," Elizabeth continued.

The Allens have only lived in the home a little more than a year. "Before we moved, we painted the girls rooms and bathrooms to fit their tastes and personalities," she explained. "We also painted our downstairs family room and added a few personal touches to make it our own."

The family utilizes many magnetic photo boards to display its family photos and they enjoy using old doors and windows to make furniture. "I have a great deal of Christmas and seasonal hand-painted windows you will get to see displayed throughout the home from the Flower Gallery in Osage, Iowa," Elizabeth described.

Having lived in Osage originally, Elizabeth explained she loves having local artists' work in her Minnesota home. She added that GeriAnn Hanson fulfilled two unique requests in their home as well, painting two murals in the home. The first is in the upstairs bedroom of Isabelle, who has a mural of the horses she loves. There is also a mural in the playroom that "looks like heaven" in honor of Isabelle and Payton's late father.

"Definitely check out the wonderful work Geri Ann did creating clouds and sunlight - it is beautiful," Elizabeth added.

Christmas would be special for the Allens wherever they lived, said Elizabeth. "While we love this home, it wouldn't matter where we lived," she explained. "Christmas is always special when we can be together. We appreciate and celebrate every day we are given together."

The entire Allen family, including daughters Isabelle, Teagan, Peyton and Tatum, all worked hard to get things ready for the tour. The girls saved their money and invested in American Girl dolls. They have set up their playroom to showcase these dolls - a tribute to their hard work and their idea of fun!

"Our decorating is eclectic," Elizabeth concluded. "There is very little rhyme or reason. Just as we try to teach our girls to try different things, never limit yourself, color outside the lines and have fun in all you do!"

Ross and Jen Johnson

"Holidays take on many meanings, but for us, it is simply a time to reflect on the blessings that surround us," explained Jen Johnson. "Along with this, we enjoy the signature sights, smells and traditions that Christmas time brings."

She explained that she and her husband, Ross, were married in 2010, so are at the beginning of starting their own family traditions and noted they have been on an adventure so far.

"From Christmas spent in the mountains of Montana to Christmas Eve services held at the small country churches of Southeast Minnesota, we are experiencing new and wonderful traditions we will surely carry on through the years," Jen added.

The Johnson home was built in the fall and winter of 2009 and the couple was able to move in just before Christmas of that year. "We quickly went and bought the 10-foot tree seen in the main level family room," Jen said. "That year, it only had a few ornaments, but we have added many more in the past few years."

The Johnsons have started a new tradition, a holiday party they call the "Jingle Mingle." "It is the perfect opportunity to invite family, friends and neighbors over to our home so we can begin warding off cabin fever while enjoying other excitement of the holiday season," Jen said. "You will see signs and décor referencing 'Jingle' as a tribute to this celebration."

The wall color on the main level of the home shows off the Johnsons' adventurous side and "go for it" attitude while the lower level is a more cozy and tranquil space.

"Focusing on making our home twinkle, shimmer, sparkle and shine is key to our decorating style," Jen added. "Most everything will have lights on it, in it or around it! Many of the extras we have are covered in sparkle. Sometimes we blame the mess of glitter, often surrounding the trees, on the glitter fairy!"

The Johnsons' collection of trees has become a favorite of the holidays and they have accumulated many in just a few years. Jen explained, "Each has its own color scheme and was picked to compliment the room itself. Ornaments and other accessories have been added to objects we have out all year to make it merrier. This is something we do for all holidays throughout the year; it allows us to keep special décor out year round, but with a fresh twist."

The Johnsons wish everyone a wonderful and safe holiday season, surrounded by those whom are cherished. "We will leave you with these words by Calvin Coolidge, 'Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas.'"

Michael and Michelle Pederson

The Pederson home, built at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010, features a comfortable living space complete with a fun entertainment area in the basement. There is a wet bar with cabinetry constructed of willow with a unique pattern on the walls. The bar countertop was made by the Amish and is a two-tone wood top consisting of walnut and maple.

"It's a great place for hanging out, catching a ball game on TV, playing board games and filling up on popcorn from the big popcorn machine," said Michelle.

As the holidays approach, Michelle explained the family likes to add a touch of Christmas in every room. "Our Christmas decorations include everything from Santas to snowmen, angels, carolers, numerous trees and lots of greenery and lights," she continued. "Our girls each have an ornament collection and you will see this in their bedrooms."

A unique piece of furniture one will see on the tour is a lead glass window that came from Michael's parents' house from 822 Fillmore Street in Chatfield and would be about 80 years old. "It is pretty hanging on the wall all by itself or adding a wreath to it," Michelle added.

Christmas is made special by the Christmas traditions the Pedersons have created in their home and established as a family. "We have Elfie in the house watching the girls to see if they are naughty or nice," Michelle shared.

The family also makes a gingerbread house every year, which is always entertaining and sometimes a bit frustrating. They decorate the house together, bake cookies and go to Christmas Eve mass. Michelle also enjoys setting a beautiful table with china dishes. Another tradition in the family is that everyone gets new pajamas for Christmas on Christmas Eve.

As community members tour the Pederson home on Sunday, Michelle asks that they look for several special things throughout the home. "Decorating with things that have special meaning is what you will find in our home," she said. "You will find special Christmas outfits hanging up, arts and crafts our girls have made in school, an angel tree for all the special angels we have in our lives, with angel wings tied on to the lights."

The most beautiful decoration, according to Michelle, is the nativity scene telling the Christmas story and the reason they are celebrating the holiday. "You will see multiple nativities on display," she concluded. "One nativity in particular is very special. It is very simply carved, but was made by the hands of my grandfather and the wood came from his farmland."

Tour details

The tour begins at Chatfield Lutheran Church, 304 Fillmore St. SE, Chatfield. Tickets are $5 and are available, along with maps and shoe bags, beginning at 11:45 a.m. Refreshments will be served in the narthex from that time until 3:45 p.m. For more information, call Chatfield Lutheran Church at (507) 867-4721

The first two of the five homes will be previewed in this issue and the other three will be featured in next week's Chatfield News.