For those dreaming of a white Christmas or a dream home, inspiration will be on display next month during the American Association for University Women’s annual Tour of Homes.
Each year, hundreds of people come from Tulsa and beyond to join with locals in picking up a map and touring select homes beautifully decorated for the holidays. This will be the 32nd year for the event.
AAUW Tahlequah has organized the tour, also known as “Homes for the Holidays,” since 1982, said Peggy Glenn, president, AAUW Tahlequah Branch and Northeastern State University director of development
“In 2003, we began producing an annual, limited-edition ornament as well. This year’s ornament will feature the Cherokee National Museum’s three seminary columns in a winter scene,” said Glenn.
The Tour of Homes is the major fundraiser for AAUW. All proceeds from tour tickets, ornament sales, and baked goods sales go for educational opportunities for women, including the NSU scholarships awarded by AAUW Tahlequah. The AAUW gives $500 to one undergraduate and $1,000 to one graduate student. The recipient must be female, with a GPA of 3.0, and she must write an essay. Application deadline is in the spring, usually March.
Involved in AAUW Tahlequah for the past two years, Glenn has known about the organization since her days as an NSU student in the late 1980s.
“When I moved back in 2011, then-President Dr. Laura Boren invited me to a meeting, and I found I had a lot in common with the broad range of local women who were members,” Glenn said.
Her interest in AAUW stems from a desire to improve future opportunities for women.
“As an attorney who enjoys legal history, including the role women have played in that history, I am still frustrated by the inequality in pay, employment opportunities, and political involvement for women, and I want to make things better for this and future generations,” Glenn said.
“I believe in the mission and purpose to advance and empower women, and the Tahlequah branch specifically, because of our women who are a part of this organization and the long-standing history of this branch,” Boren said.
She has attended most of the tours the past 20 years.
“My grandmother [Wilma Carpenter] was one of the originators of the first tour 32 years ago,” Boren said.
In 2011, Glenn’s first year back in Tahlequah, she hosted at a home so she didn’t have a chance to tour all the others.
“I was blown away by the effort that homeowners put into decorating for one month of holiday joy,” she said.
At more recent tours, she’s gotten great ideas for innovative decorations and design elements for a future dream home.
“This year, I’m looking forward to checking out the art at Spider Gallery, as well as the home of Dr. Tom Jackson, who, in addition to his NSU duties running the Graduate Office, serves as a reserve campus police officer and rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle wearing cowboy boots,” Glenn said.
NSU President Dr. Steve and Penny Turner change up their decorations each year, Glenn said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what campus building will be in the place of honor on their mantle, which last year featured Wilson Hall,” Glenn said.
Homes on the tour this year include:
• Dr. Tom and Mrs. Jackson, 716 Victor St., a beautiful restored home with vintage holiday decorations.
• Dr. Steve and Penny Turner, 526 Seminary Ave., also the location of the Goodie Sale Shoppe, with a new and vintage Christmas decoration showcase.
• Hank and Becky Wright, 508 Covington Place, a newly expanded home filled with family tradition and music.
• Cherokee Arts Center Spider Gallery, 215 S. Muskogee Ave., with the reception and Ornament sale site.
“We try to find a mix of new and original homes, featuring varied decorating styles in different parts of town,” said Glenn. “If you love to decorate for the holidays and entertain, let us know and we may be able to fit another home or two in this year’s schedule or will circle back to you next year.”
The 32nd Annual Tour of Homes is Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets that day are $10 at tour homes and the reception site, the Cherokee Nation Spider Gallery, 215 S. Muskogee Ave. Pre-sale tickets are $8 beginning Monday, Nov. 25 through Saturday, Dec. 7 at area merchants.
To read an online exclusive about the history of the AAUW, go to www.tahlequahdailypress.com/onlineexclusives