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An inch of snow arrived just in time to provide an early white Christmas Dec. 2, as 245 guests toured four beautifully decorated homes in “Christmas at Wilderness Ridge,” an event that raised $2,450 for St. Michael Catholic School and Parish.

“In years past, we had more people buying tickets on the day of the event, but the winter storm put a damper on that,” said event chair Jenny Medinger. “Even though our attendance was lower than usual, our spirits were soaring and we all had a wonderful time!”

The homeowners opened their homes and hearts to the tour guests, sharing many cherished Christmas memories.

In the Terry and Joan Foote home at 9041 Whispering Wind Road, guests were welcomed to decorations that go back several decades, including Simpich angel and caroler dolls handmade in Colorado Springs in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Of course my nativity set is another favorite, and it’s the most important of our decorations,” said Joan. “It is Italian and was a gift from my mother-in-law when our five children were young. I insisted on non-breakable figures so the kids could play with the set.”

Driving south to John and Pam Fecht’s home at 9400 Larges Court, guests walked inside and saw a variety of decorated Christmas trees.

“I find an abundance of joy in decorating Christmas trees,” said Pam. “To me, the Christmas tree symbolizes the spirit of the Christmas season.”

A hutch in the dining room displayed Pam’s snowman collection.

Father Kenneth Borowiak of St. Michael Parish visited with guests at the Fecht residence.

“This is one of St. Michael’s biggest fundraisers,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, and one that brings a festive spirit to the Christmas holiday.”

At the next stop, guests found Mike and Jan Steele’s home at 9809 Wildfire Circle nestled in next to the seventh hole at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course, which of course was covered with snow.

In the master bedroom, a coastal-themed Christmas tree reflected the family’s love for the ocean and trips to Hawaii. The tree in the lower level was adorned with handmade storybook character felt ornaments – a gift from Mike’s parents 45 years ago.

In the great room, guests watched a small musical carousel that has been enjoyed over the years by the Steeles’ three children and four grandchildren.

Pianist Margaret Tomek played traditional Christmas songs on the piano while guests joined in with caroling.

A few houses away at 9839 Wildfire Circle was the final tour stop – the home of L.G. and Becky Searcey. Students from St. Michael’s School sang carols while guests toured the home.

Two traditions stand out as family favorites, said Becky.

“Many years ago, we received a Presepio Italian nativity as a gift from a close family friend that had just returned from Rome,” she said. “Our children’s grandfather built a stable for the scene, and each year our daughter, and most recently granddaughter, place the pieces in the manger.”

The second tradition dates back to the births of the Searcey children, when each received their first Christmas ornament as a gift. Each year, a new ornament has been added to the collection, and now the boxes overflow with memories from the past.

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