Dress up for the holidays

By Karen Colbenson

Glittery gold stars, shiny red ornaments and strings of bright lights were pulled out of their boxes Wednesday at the Hormel Historic Home.

As the wind blew cold outside, local merchants and volunteers were warm and festive inside decorating for the holidays and preparing for the annual Christmas open house, which begins Friday.

Each year, the Historic Home opens its doors to local business owners who choose a room to decorate for the holidays, and at the same time, feature their inventory.


Using her own decorations, Leanna Hanson, owner of the Blooming Prairie shop A Touch of Charm, was busy transforming the living room with a Victorian Countryside theme.

"It’s how I think it may have looked when the Hormels lived here," she said.

Hanson has decorated the room around the holidays for the past 12 years. She said it usually takes a full day to complete the one room.

"I love old houses and I love decorating," said Hanson, as she adjusted a festive wreath above the fireplace. "It’s also a great way to showcase my products."

Back in the Carriage House, sisters Anita Ulwelling, of Austin, and Becky Renchin, of Owatonna, were bustling around with rolls of plaid ribbon and jingling sleigh bells. Item by item, wooden pine cones, plastic red cardinals, lacy doilies and bouquets of holly, slowly found their place in the room’s "Christmas at the Cabin" theme.

"We change the theme every year," said Ulwelling. "Some years we get this place so glittery, but this year, we’re going for natural and rustic. We want it to look like walking into a cabin at Christmastime."

Assembling the wreath and decorating the mantel are the most challenging parts of the ornamental process, the women said.

"The mantel is the centerpiece of the room," said Ulwelling. "Once that is done, then other things fall into place."


For more information, go to

Hormel Historic Home

What To Read Next
Get Local