The cool, crisp temperature this morning is the perfect backdrop for the Stetson Mansion’s opening day of the “Christmas Spectacular!” Holiday Home Tour. Now in its seventh year, the holiday tour of John B. Stetson’s historic home in Deland has become a Central Florida Christmas tradition. Three guided tours daily, excluding Sunday mornings, will be given through Jan. 15, 2018.
Knowledgeable guides lead guests through every room of the mansion’s first two floors, all filled with exquisite layers of decorations that the home’s owners, JT Thompson and Michael Solari, have collected through the years. Many of the decorations are family heirlooms.
Unlike many holiday home tours, the Stetson Mansion’s event is not staged by professional designers but rather Thompson himself.
“We close the mansion for two months so JT can devote every day to install every painstaking detail. It is amazing to watch his love for the season provide such original inspiration,” said Solari.
During a media tour earlier this week, JT jokingly said he had a little help from a designer named Irma. He painted and re-used many of the limbs and boards that he found in the yard after the hurricane blew through in September. The natural elements provided an ethereal beauty to the dining room, which was themed “Snow Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Each season, the decorations and themes change, but the traditional creches and arrival of the Christ child, as well as a “Salute to Veterans,” are always prominent. This year, the foyer and living room have Victorian themes – particularly appropriate as the Stetson Mansion was built in 1886 as a summer home for the famed Philadelphia hatmaker.
Online reservations are required for the tours, which begin at 10:30am and 1:30 and 5pm. daily except for Sunday mornings. The tours run 75-to-90 minutes, and guests must be able to climb stairs as the home does not have an elevator. Tickets are $25 plus tax for adults, and $15 plus tax for children and students ages 6-22. Children 5 and under are admitted free although the tour is not recommended for toddlers and infants. As an added bonus, Christmas guests can return free for unlimited regular tours from February to September 2018 when they bring a paying guest.
To reserve your space, please visit bookings.stetsonmansion.com/index.html.