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A West Linn holiday tradition returns

WLHS fundraiser, the Holiday Tour of Homes, is back and better than ever


If the holidays are all about traditions, residents of West Linn should be glad to hear that a favorite tradition has returned to the city.

After a two-year hiatus, the West Linn High School Holiday Tour of Homes has returned — in a big way.

“For years it had been the tradition,” WLHS parent Michele Beyer said. She is the co-chairwoman of the WLHS graduation night party committee, for which the home tour is a fundraiser. “The last time the home tour happened was in 2010. At that point, it had been going on for 13 years.”

With five West Linn homes and their holiday décor on display, tour-goers on Dec. 8 should be prepared to be wowed by the beautiful displays of holiday cheer. The homes this year include a historic home in Willamette with traditional decorations; a country Christmas barn decorated for the holidays; a NW Natural Street of Dreams home; a home featuring quilts and snowmen on display; and a home with so much festive cheer that it takes 30-plus trees to contain it all.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Nancy Stallings is opening her fully decorated home for the West Linn High School Holiday Tour of Homes on Dec. 8.Nancy Stallings is the owner of that last home, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. Every room in the home’s 7,500-square-foot interior, including the first-floor powder room, contains at least one tree. If you count the miniature trees here and there, Stallings said, the total is closer to 40 trees.

“My mother has a Christmas store, called Christmas at the Zoo,” Stallings said. “She’s had it for 25 years. It’s now in Oregon City. Being surrounded by it, you start collecting ornaments. To be able to show them, you have to have more trees.”

Stallings has two favorite trees, one decorated entirely in black and silver ornaments. The other is her children’s tree, displaying mementos of their changing interests as they’ve grown. The oldest is a sophomore at University of Oregon, and two younger brothers are a senior and a freshman at WLHS. A stepdaughter lives just a few blocks away with her family, including a 1-year-old daughter.

“They love it. The whole family enjoys it. My husband likes it just as much as I do,” Stallings said.

by: VERN UYETAKE - This whimsically decorated tree is just inside the front door of Stallings' home.The majority of Stallings’ ornaments are by two designers, Christopher Radko and Patricia Breen. If you can think of a theme, she probably has more than one ornament to reflect it, including some that don’t naturally make you think of Christmas. She may be the only person in West Linn, for example, to have a tree fully decorated with gecko ornaments.

With so many ornaments, it’s hard to imagine anything lacking from her collection. However, Stallings is a true Anglophile, and her upstairs sitting room, decorated in a British theme, lacks one ornament.

“I always wish they’d do more royal ornaments,” she said. “I have never been able to find a throne.”

Each of Stallings’ three sons has a fully decorated tree in his room. There’s even a tree in the family’s wine cellar — with wine-themed ornaments, of course.

“I have so much that I don’t have out,” Stalling said. “I’ve run out of room to place things.”

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Nancy Stallings' home features more than 30 full-size trees and a table already set for Christmas dinner.The table is already set for Christmas dinner. Tucked in among the china are nearly three dozen velvet pumpkins, made by West Linn company Hot Sqwash in black and silver, as well Burberry fabric pumpkins custom ordered by Stallings. The pumpkins are new this year.

“All my decorations, it’s not like I do it all in one year. It’s a collection that’s been going on for 15 years,” Stallings said. “I don’t add as much every year, because I only have so much storage.” Still, each year she adds an estimated 20 to 25 pieces to a collection that tops 3,000 ornaments and more than 30 artificial trees.

“If I were to do a live tree, I’d put a whole different set of ornaments on it,” Stallings said, because a live tree’s moisture and potential for insect life could damage her ornaments.

“We’re gearing up for 200 people,” Stallings said. “Hopefully it will be a lot bigger.”

“I’m excited,” Beyer said. “People are excited. So many people I’ve talked to have said, ‘I’m glad it’s back.’”

The holiday tour of homes will be your only chance to see Stallings’ collection.

“Dec. 26, I start taking it down,” she said.

If you go

The Holiday Tour of Homes is scheduled for Dec. 8. The self-guided tour begins at West Linn High School, 5464 W. A St., and runs between noon and 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased in advance at westlinngradparty.com.

A craft boutique will be held at the high school from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day. Local crafters will be offering handmade items for sale. Admission is free; no tickets are required.

Kate Hoots can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 112 and katehoots@westlinntidings.com. Follow her on Twitter @CommuniKater.




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