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Sturdivant Hall planning annual Christmas Open House

Sturdivant Hall is opening its doors to the public for its annual Christmas Open House Dec. 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The house, built in 1852-53 by Edward Watts, is now a museum and a time capsule of the 1800s, and Christmas is no different.

“The primary function of the museum is to be educational about a period of time in our history,” said Jana Garner, chairwoman of the Christmas open house committee. “So to have period decorations for Christmas gives people an education of what it would be like to celebrate Christmas during that time period.”

Decorating the 10-room, 6,000 square-foot home is quite a task, so volunteers sign up to decorate just one room each downstairs.

“We don’t let them use anything but natural stuff,” said Mary Hansell, director of Sturdivant Hall. “They don’t go about and buy the cutesy stuff, it has to be from the yard.”

Garner said she enjoys seeing how the decorations differ from year to year and person to person.

“Even though you have some people decorating the house year after year, they continue to volunteer their time and talents … they’ve changed over the course of a year. They’ve learned something from the way they did it last year, and they’ll have different changes,” Garner said. “It’s not only fun to see how the different people express themselves and their creativity through how they decorate one of the rooms that they’ve been assigned to but also to see the evolution of their creativity over the years.”

Garner said the decorations are a work of art, and it’s worth it to go back year after year to see the new ideas.

“Every year there’s something new to see and a good reason for people to come back and visit the house,” Garner said. “It invites the Christmas spirit.”

Hansell said she enjoys working during the Christmas season and enjoying the decorations each day.

“I love coming in and smelling the fresh Cedar tree, and I just go in every room every day I’m here and admire how people put stuff together and how it just looks beautiful,” Hansell said.

Garner said she hopes people will come out and visit the house and even check out the gift shop in the back.

“During the holidays when you have family and friends from out of town, you want to put your best face forward with your community, … so we certainty want to be put on people’s calendar as they have visitors,” Garner said. “Please come and spend some time going through the house and enjoy the decorations while they’re here.”