Christmas represents many different things — it’s remembering past holidays and loved ones who made those times so special. There was always the biggest, brightest and most beautiful Christmas tree, a piece of cake or candy worth every calorie and a song that touched us when we especially needed to hear its message.
These memories are a part of who we are, and they are what make us look forward to and enjoy each holiday season.
The Hinesville First United Methodist Church wants to provide a unique holiday experience Dec. 8 — one that will make this holiday season extra special and leave visitors full of Christmas spirit.
The church has planned a six-hour adventure that includes tours of seven very different houses — each landscaped, decorated, full of Southern Georgia hospitality and Christmas cheer. Visitors will travel from 1898 to 2012, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
The first four homes are in Hinesville, as is the First United Methodist Church, where high tea will be available from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Covered in the tour cost, the high tea includes a luncheon and door prizes and coexists with a specialty bakery.
Tickets cost $30 until Dec. 1 and $40 thereafter and are available in Hinesville at the following locations:
• Carla’s Colonial Bridal Shop
• Colonial Floral and Gift Gallery
• Hinesville Day Spa and Salon
• Stacy’s Floral and Gifts
• The Davis House-Tea Room, Bed and Breakfast
• The Hinesville First United Methodist Church
Tickets are available in Midway at Coastal Discount Pharmacy and in Richmond Hill at Ella’s.
For a list of organizations and churches selling tickets in neighboring counties, call 368-2200.
Visitors are welcome to bring cameras so they can share their tour memories with others.
The first stop on the Hinesville tour is a 2,000-square-foot American bungalow built in 1898 by D.J. Noble of Hagan, Ga., for Judge Simon B. Brewton and his wife, Nancy.
The hostess, Mary Malick and her husband Dick bought the house in 1972. They renovated and decorated it with pieces of furniture, such as a red settee (fainting couch) that had traveled around the world with them.
Today, the house sits on a half-acre lot at 325 N. Main St. and provides eating and sleeping space for Mary Malick; her cat, Little Girl; and some birds.
The next two houses are at the Cherokee Rose County Club on South Topi Trail.
The first, at 235 S. Topi Trail, is a two-story, 6,800-square-foot house built in 1990 by Dryden Enterprises of Hinesville. The architect was Larry W. Garnett and Associates of Pasadena, Texas. The owner and hostess is Frances Roberson.
At the front of the house, the brick exterior is accented with a multi-gabled, high-pitched roof that shows off several chimneys and copper bay windows.
Entering through the leaded beveled glass front door into the foyer, visitors will step on Italian and Spanish marble and walk under a German Schonbek crystal chandelier.
This 17-room house, of country French design, has six bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms.
Roberson decorated her house using jewel-tone colors and handsome antique furniture and accessories found throughout her worldly travels.
Libby Neesmith is the hostess at 220 S. Topi Trail.
Built in 1987 by Bob and Laura Pirkle, the Neesmith home boasts oak hardwood floors, and ceilings vary from 10-11 feet, depending on the location.
The design team renovated and decorated the house to reflect Neesmith’s personality and create a better flow throughout the home. Today, there are approximately 2,723 heated square feet in 10 rooms.
The fourth house on the tour, at 801 Forest St., belongs to George and Babs Holtzman.
Built in 1962 for Olin and Annette Fraser, the 4,800-square-foot home sits on a 5-acre lot just inside Hinesville city limits.
The Holtzmans bought the house in 1981 and renovated. The traditionally decorated home has 13 rooms with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Babs Holtzman especially enjoys the sunroom because of its view, which includes a pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, palm trees and manicured backyard.
After a short ride to Sunbury, the fifth house on the tour is at 3284 Fort Morris Road next to the Sunbury community dock.
Owned by Don and Brenda Crawford, the house was built in 1998. Don Crawford created the house plans and also worked as the contractor.
The neo-eclectic house has multiple rooflines and almost appears to be modern contemporary from certain angles.
The use of windows seems to bring the lush outdoor foliage inside, especially in the sitting room, where visitors feel like they are outside among the water, boats and dolphins.
The 4,500-square-foot home has 20 rooms with three bedrooms and five bathrooms.
The sixth home on the tour belongs to John and Doris Rogers, who reside at 132 Japonica Drive on Colonels Island.
Built by Bill Hardee in 2007, the Rogers’ home sits is about a 5-minutes walk from Half Moon River. Designed by Richmond Hill Design Center Inc., the home has 2,255 square feet of heated space and 3,046 square feet of unheated space. Its nine rooms include three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a great room, dining room, kitchen and laundry/office.
The last home on the tour is at 1281 Maxwellton Road. It belongs to Sheriff Steve Sikes and his wife, Dean.
The Lowcounty-style house has a pool, pool house, gazebo and dock arranged on the water at Yellow Bluff. Visitors can see the river as they walk through the front door. In fact, the house was built to showcase the river and marsh throughout most of its 14 rooms.
Steve Sikes served as his own contractor.
The décor is mainly traditional with a few accessories, such as a blanket chest from Central America, adding touches of flair and panache.