The exterior of Rosie Masula’s Weston home reflected the season in late October, with pumpkins resting on the wraparound front porch, and a cool breeze rustling branches from trees ready to shed their autumn colors.
So visitors might have been a bit surprised to step through the front door, smack into a winter wonderland. From the full-scale Santa sled in the foyer to the workshop for St. Nick in the back of the house, even Scrooge or the Grinch would have a tough time not feeling the warmth of the holiday season.
“I was a costumer by trade, so I’m a bit theatrical,” says Masula, whose home is on the Candlelight Homes Tour in Weston, Dec. 6-8. “I see everything in terms of vignettes and sets.”
Her historic home is a perfect setting for small sets, or groupings of everything from vintage toys in “Santa’s Toy Shoppe” to a collection of German Father Christmases on a shelf in the dining room.
Masula is one of many homeowners across the area opening doors to visitors during the holiday home tour season. It’s a great chance to find decorating inspiration, turn up that festive spirit, and simply be nosy, as you can snoop through the inside of everything from contemporary homes to historic gems.
You’ll be doing a good deed while you’re at it, as the tours benefit everything from Special Olympics to upkeep of the Rice-Tremonti Home in Raytown and the Vaile Mansion in Independence.
Talk to Masula and you’ll quickly discover the best reason to buy tour tickets: The chance to mingle with neighbors and make new friends.
“I put my heart and soul into this home, and I really want to share it,” says Masula, who has raised six children. “With all of those kids, Christmas was a big extravaganza.”
After her divorce Masula decided she wanted to move from California, and went on the hunt for the perfect home. She wanders through the house, pointing out the beveled glass windows, peculiar small doorways to upstairs closets, and heavy wood pocket doors that distinguish older homes.
“I love the juxtaposition of fancy and simple in this home,” she says.
While every room is filled with holiday touches, from colorfully lighted trees to vintage ornaments, the room most likely to delight children — as well as the child lurking in every adult — is a craft room that’s been converted to Santa’s workshop.
A working train set she’s borrowed from her brother dominates the room, and tiny structures replicate some of the buildings in Weston. A sign near a workbench reads “Good little boys and girls.”
“We’ve had a lot of fun with it,” says Masula with a laugh, adding that she’s eager for visitors to see the home’s treasures.
“I fell in love with this home and this area because of the warmth,” she says. “Everyone stops and talks to you in this sweet little town.”
Kansas City Symphony Guild ‘Intermezzo’
Tour a Northland home by candlelight with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Symphony musicians provide entertainment. 6-9 p.m. Nov. 13. Symphony attire recommended. Tickets are $100 per person. Benefits the Symphony Guild, which supports the Kansas City Symphony. kcsymphonyguild.org; 816-741-4014
Rediscover the Holidays, Lee’s Summit
Tour seven homes and admire the talents of Kansas City’s top designers and florists, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 17. Luncheon Nov. 14 will feature tours and a panel of experts, including HGTV’s design star Jennifer Bertrand. Tickets are $25 at participating Hy-Vee stores or online. Discounts for groups of 10 or more. Luncheon: $150. Benefits ReDiscover mental health and substance abuse services in Jackson County. rediscovertheholidays.com; 816-581-5800
Johnson County Young Matrons
Tour four homes in southern Johnson County and visit a boutique at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park. Tours are 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 20; boutique noon to 10 p.m. Nov. 19 and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 20. Tour tickets $20 in advance at select Hen House, Hy-Vee, Price Chopper locations, others; $25 at the door. Boutique free. Benefits Evergreen Living Innovations, Shawnee Indian Mission, Head Start of Shawnee Mission and other nonprofits. jcym.net
Soroptimist International of Liberty
Tour four homes at the 27th event, 1-6 p.m. Nov. 23. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of the event, available at Quotations - A Fashion Statement or at the homes. Benefits various charities. 816-591-4605
26th annual CASA tour
Local designers and florists will decorate five elegant Topeka homes. Tours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 23-24. Tickets are $12 at the door; $10 in advance at Topeka Walgreens and Hy-Vees. Benefits Court Appointed Special Advocates of Shawnee County. casaofshawneecounty.com; 785-215-8282
Merry and Bright is the theme at the historic estate at 313 W. Pacific Ave., Independence, including a tea room and boutique. Tours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-4 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 29-Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 23-25). Twilight tour with light refreshments and music 4-7 p.m. Dec. 1. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for children 6-16, free to those younger than 6. Funds raised help preserve the estate. bwestate.org, 816-461-3491
Victorian Winter Wonderland is the theme for the more than 75 decorated trees at this stately 1881 Victorian mansion at 1500 N. Liberty St., Independence. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 29-Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 23-25). Twilight tour with music and refreshments, 4-7 p.m. Dec. 1. Tickets are $6; children $3. Funds raised help preserve the mansion. vailemansion.org; 816-325-7430
Blue Springs Historical Society
One of the four homes on the tour will feature hundreds of Santas: 5-9 p.m. Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 30. Tickets are $13 in advance at several businesses in the Blue Springs area including Prospero’s Parkside Books; $15 day of tour. Benefits the historical society. Facebook; bluespringshistory.org
Harris-Kearney House candlelight tour
Family-friendly event with games, refreshments and entertainment; tours every 15 minutes of the 1855 home, 4000 Baltimore Ave., 6-9 p.m. Nov. 29. Candlelight tour and speakeasy for adults 6-9 p.m. Nov. 30. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students for the Nov. 29 tour; $10 for speakeasy Nov. 30. Benefits restoration projects at the historic home in Westport. westporthistorical.com; 816-561-1821
Kappa Homes Tour
Tour four festive homes in Kansas City and Mission Hills, stop at the gift and gourmet foods shop at Homestead Country Club, 6510 Mission Road, Prairie Village, from 3:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 4; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 5; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 6. Girls’ night out event 6-9 p.m. Dec. 5. Preview luncheon 11 a.m. Dec. 4. Kickoff party 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8. Tickets are $20 in advance at Hen House locations and other retailers; $25 day of tour at homes or the shop. Special event ticket prices on website. Benefits the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault. kappahomestour.com
Tour seven homes in the New Longview neighborhood of Lee’s Summit with holiday-decorated mantels and other interior decor; taste martinis and hors d’oeuvres from 7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Tickets are $40. Benefits Special Olympics Lee’s Summit and the New Longview Foundation. mantelsandmartinis.com
Independence Young Matrons
Four homes and a sweet shop at a local church in the Holly and Mistletoe event, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 5. Tickets are $12 in advance, from members or ticket outlets (see website); $15 at the door. Benefits community organizations. independenceyoungmatrons.org; 816-289-4988
Weston Candlelight tour
Tour four homes and a loft in the 175-year-old town. Eventful supper 5-8:30 p.m. Dec. 6; tours noon-8 p.m. Dec. 7; noon-5 p.m. Dec. 8. Candlelight Christmas Shoppe at 708 Spring St. Dec. 7-8. Tickets are $30 on Dec. 6; includes drink and light supper at Eventful at Locust Grove (seatings 5-6:30 p.m. or 7-8:30 p.m.); Dec. 7-8 tours $13 in advance, $15 day of tour, $5 for children younger than 12. Benefits Weston Chamber of Commerce. westonmo.com; 816-640-2909
Kearney First United Methodist Church
Tour five homes Dec. 7, enjoy lunch and craft booths at the church, 1000 E. Highway 92, Kearney. Tours 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. crafts; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. lunch. Tickets are $9 in advance at church or Bea’s Flowers and Gifts; $10 day of tour at church. Benefits Kearney First United Methodist Women’s projects. kearneyfumc.org; 816-853-7666
Visit homes in the Northeast area that “This Old House” magazine voted best old house neighborhood in Missouri, noon-5 p.m. Dec. 7. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Benefits Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association. pendletonheights.org
Tour five homes decorated for the holidays, one filled with handcrafted dollhouses, noon-7 p.m. Dec. 7. Tickets are $10 in advance through the chamber of commerce; $15 day of event at the homes. Benefits the Christmas Committee to Light Up Excelsior Springs. exspgschamber.com; 816-630-6161
The historic 1844 Rice-Tremonti Home, 8801 E. 66th St. in Raytown, will be decorated for the holidays from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-22. Tickets are $4; discounts for groups. rice-tremonti.com; 816-356-2338
Victorian Christmas in Leavenworth
The Vintage Homes Society of Leavenworth presents its 22nd annual candlelight tour featuring six homes, the Carroll Mansion and the Leavenworth Masonic Lodge from 1-7 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets are $12 in advance; $17 day of tour, available at the Carroll Mansion and businesses. Benefits the Leavenworth County Historical Society. leavenworthhistory.org; 913-682-7759
Health Care Access Clinic benefit
Tour seven homes in Lawrence with a holiday boutique that includes local artwork, noon-5 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets are $15 in advance at Lawrence Hy-Vee and Sigler Pharmacy, Weaver’s, Health Care Access Clinic and online; $20 day of event. Benefits Health Care Access Clinic; healthcareaccess.org; 785-856-1672
Harrisonville Business Women of Missouri
The 16th annual tour includes homes ranging from historic to modern, 1-5 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets are $10 at the door; advance tickets at Harrisonville Area Chamber of Commerce, 2819 Cantrell Road. Benefits nonprofit organizations including Hope Haven, a shelter for domestic violence survivors. harrisonvillebwm.webs.com; 816-887-2323
Tour beautifully decorated homes, place bids on gift baskets, shop in two boutiques from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 9. Tickets are $10 in advance at the Creekmoor Clubhouse; $12 at door day of event. Benefits Hope Haven, a shelter for domestic violence survivors. 816-388-3401 or 816-318-8395.
Tour includes three private homes in Lawrence; two have been decorated by designer Christine Julian in Christmas decor and a third, that of Win and Linda Campbell, founders of Winfield House, will feature fall decor. From 1-4 p.m. Nov. 3. Tour begins at Winfield House Home Furnishings, 647 Massachusetts Street. Free, no reservations are required. facebook.com/winfieldhouse; 785-842-6000