The Christmas Tour of Homes will be held tomorrow through the 20th Century Cotillion Club.
Todd and Jona Little’s home, 1601 Mary Ellen, will be featured on the Tour for the first time after buying the home in 2011. Jona, who has a background in interior design, said she takes the simple approach to decorating for Christmas.
“I’m not an over-the-top decorator,” Jona said. “We’re pretty simple. I like the open branches on our tree so you can see the ornaments. When you go out in nature, trees are open and imperfect.”
Jona’s tree are among her favorite decorations in the home, featuring sentimental Christopher Radko ornaments.
“About 25 years ago, my mom bought me a Christopher Radko ornament,” Jona said. “She started buying me one a year, then started buying my girls one a year. Now I have a tree with all ornaments that my mom has either bought me, my girls or we bought together over the last 25 years.”
Jona also has ornaments from the many trips her family has gone on. The Little’s house also has the traditional nativity scene, gifted to her from her grandmother.
“This manger is from my grandmother, she made every one of her grandchildren manger scenes from ceramics,” Jona said. “We lived in Massachusetts at the time and she mailed it the first year we were married 29 years ago.”
Jona said, it usually takes a couple of days to get the house decorated for Christmas and blends the trendy ideas with her own tradition.
“I do a lot of greenery around my archways but at the same time I keep things very simple,” Jona said. “This year, I’m adding a lot of magnolia stuff. I’m really big into brush trees.”
Jona said her approach to the more simple decorations for Christmas came from her mother’s battle with cancer one holiday season.
“Going through something like that and almost losing my mom, only having my tree up, looking at my house and having my kids, it just changed everything for me,” Jona said. “I was like, ‘What is the meaning of Christmas?’ We had always gone so big, but it was spending every day through the holiday season and the following year (with my mom’s health). That changed everything.”
The Little’s home has it’s own bit of history.
The home was originally built in the late 1940s and has had several additions and renovations over the years. The home was built by a local civic club and raffle tickets were sold to win the house. A local rancher won the house in the raffle but never lived in it.
The house had several subsequent homeowners before Greg Dalton purchased the house in 1976. The original floor plan of the home was 1,200-square feet and the Dalton’s doubled the size of the home with extensive renovations throughout the years. Their renovations included the addition of a second story with a master bed and bath, bricking the exterior, adding a library with an antique oak mantel and creating a custom-made leaded glass front door.
Dr. Robert and Marcia Julian purchased the home in 1992. Upon purchasing the home, the Julian’s added an in-ground swimming pool, two covered deck porch areas in the back yard and enclosed the second story covered porch to create an office/exercise room. A few years later the Julian’s added the home’s south side addition that included a bedroom and bathroom as well as adding additional storage to other bedrooms, a full wet bar, sauna and modern windows throughout.
The Little’s have made a few renovations since living in the home that include the renovation of the staircase in 2018, updating the kitchen and laundry room cabinets in 2020 and completing a pool and deck renovation this summer.
Jona said what she enjoys the most about Christmas is the Christmas Eve service and spending time with family that accompanies the season.
“I love Christmas Eve service and I hate it when we miss Christmas Eve service,” Jona said. “I love celebrating Christ’s birth. If I was just with my family and friends and celebrating Christ’s birth, and that was it (I would be okay). I love getting together with the people I love. I love the decorations and everything about Christmas, but I just enjoy the season and sentimental things about it.”
The 25th Century Cotillion Study Club’s Christmas Home Tour is set for Sunday, Dec. 5 from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 and proceeds go to benefit The Opportunity Plan, Inc., a non-profit organization providing financial assistance in post-secondary educational programs.
**Historic information in this article provided by the 21st Century Cotillion Club**
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