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Volunteers help HHH show off its holiday cheer

I was reminded last weekend how important volunteers are to a nonprofit agency. At least 25 people went above and beyond by contributing hours of physical labor and mental effort to help make the 26th annual Hormel Historic Home Christmas Open House a success. I can't name them here (I only get 400 words) but I hope they know how much I appreciate them all.

Thank you to all who attended and embraced the changes we made for this year's event. There was music throughout the house and every room was a creative Christmas showplace with many items from area merchants. Our guests enjoyed a traditional English Tea menu while they relaxed at tables beautifully adorned with silver pots and fresh flowers. From singers to readers to violins, there was entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Austin is full of talented artists and we are grateful that several were willing to participate in our open house. Plans are already in the works for our 2014 Open House so stay tuned.

Decorating the rooms is not a new tradition for the HHH. On Dec. 2, 1929, the newspaper wrote, "Already the rooms at the YWCA are taking on a Christmas air. An attractive booth, gay with bright red trimmings, the work of the Junior Business Girls, stands in the large east room. Here are displayed numerous articles, gifts suitable for friends and various members of the family, from babies' wearing apparel, children's picture books and toys, to some little personal gifts that will delight the heart of grandmother, too."

Another article dated Dec. 18, 1929, refers to the outdoor adornment of the home. "The beautiful and elaborate decorations over the entrance are a Christmas offering to the YWCA and to the people of Austin, from the Girl Scouts, under the able direction of their leader, Mrs. H.P Laslett, who personally superintended this artistic arrangement."

There is something special and magical about the tradition of decorating a home for Christmas. Although some items used to decorate for our Open House have gone back to the merchants the House will remain decorated for Christmas into January. Our tour hours will remain the same-10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday-with a $3 admission so make plans to come see the festive decor in this beautiful home.


Correction: Regarding column dated Nov. 9, MarySue Hormel Harris does not have a brother. A very close family friend, Michael Klingner was killed in action during Vietnam. "He was like a brother," she recently clarified. Ben Hormel, Jr. only had two daughters, MarySue and Anabeth Hormel Cox.

Holly Johnson is executive director of Hormel Historic Home.

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