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Christmas Celebration at Bok Tower Gardens features ‘Nature of the Holidays’ home tour

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Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens has returned for its 18th year and is open every day through Jan. 6, 2013 for self-guided tours. Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens includes the traditional Pinewood home tour, new workshop activities, poinsettia displays, holiday concerts, winter walking tours and more.

The highlight of this seasonal event is the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate. Now in its 18th year, volunteers and sponsored designers have decorated the 20-room, Mediterranean-style mansion on the Gardens property.

“The Holiday Home Tour is our largest fundraiser of the year thanks to scores of visitors who have made this event a family tradition over the years,” said Jennifer Beam, director of Visitor Services and Programs. “We are so excited to finally open Pinewood the day after Thanksgiving after a month of installing more than 15 Christmas trees, hundreds of feet of garland, masses of faux snow and thousands of lights.”

Each room has a different focus, but they all coordinate with the master theme of “The Nature of the Holidays,” as the designers concentrate on making the décor naturally classy. Every room is decorated by a different sponsored designer and the hallways, entrances and other spaces are adorned by Pinewood volunteers who have handcrafted most of the decorations.

In the room Gerstenecker designed for Bok Tower Gardens, she incorporated both educational and creative elements. In addition to her text panels that share historical information about Pinewood, she also decorated the room in the style of a 1930’s living room.

“I found an old article in American Home magazine that talked about how to make a centerpiece for Christmas,” Gerstenecker said. And she created exactly what they suggested—a wooden bowl of popcorn balls with evergreens and red berries. “It’s neat be able to give people an idea of what things were like back in ye olden times, even though it wasn’t really that long ago,” she said.

Children are encouraged to tour the 1930’s-style home and are invited to participate in an ongoing hunt to search for unique holiday decorations. And visitors young and old can experience the decked halls of Pinewood for free on Christmas Day from noon to 5 p.m.

For tickets or more information on all the Christmas events and programs at Bok Tower Gardens visit www.boktowergardens.org/christmas or call 863-676-1408. Bok Tower Gardens is located between Orlando and Tampa in Lake Wales, not too far from Legoland Florida.

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