All Decked Out

  • Visit North Central

When the holiday season arrives, do you feel stuck in a rut — dragging out the same decorations year and after year? Could you use a little inspiration, but don’t know where to begin?

fireplace-by-dianeYou’re in luck! A quick tour through Johnny Appleseed Country is sure to kick your creativity into high gear.  All across the region, doors are being thrown open on ideas to make your season bright.

Christmas trees are the focus of attention in many homes at this time of the year, festooned with twinkling lights and shiny, colorful globes.

Think Again!


There’s more to decorating the tree than hanging those same old ornaments! Check out the Festival of Trees in Leominster City Hall on West Street. Starting on November 27, City Hall becomes a winter wonderland, filled with dozens of uniquely decorated trees and styrofoam holiday carvings created by the late Louis Charpentier, who was known locally as “Mr. Christmas” because of his holiday displays.

Visitors can vote for their favorites, and the trees will be auctioned off at the close of the festival to raise money for local charities.

A short ride down Route 2 will bring you to The Gardner Museum, at 28 Pearl St., Gardner, which also hosts a Festival of Trees. The museum will be filled with trees creatively decorated by local groups. Again, you can not only get some great ideas — but you could also get lucky and win one of the trees, providing instant decorating for your home!

More Than Trees

The Fitchburg Historical Society, meanwhile, kicks it up a notch, opening some fabulously decorated local homes for its annual Holiday House Tour. Stop by the society’s building on Main Street to buy a map, then take a self-guided tour of holiday inspiration.  You can start wherever you wish, and go at your own pace between 11 am and 4 pm.

Tickets can also be purchased in advance at City Hall or the Historical Society, so you can get a quicker start on your day of idea-gathering.

This year’s house tour will include a dozen or more of the most popular homes from previous years’ tours. Some have new owners, some have been renovated, but all are beautifully decorated for the holidays. The owners and representatives from the Historical Society will be present in each home to greet visitors and answer questions.

Fitchburg grew and prospered in the post-Civil War period and the Victorian era, so many of its finest houses date from that time (approximately 1860 to 1920).  The house tour is a unique opportunity to be a guest in these fine homes and appreciate their architecture and design. Many are in original condition and have been lovingly cared for over the years.

While the Victorian homes are often very ornate, colonial and Greek revival homes from Fitchburg’s earliest settlement in the late 1700s and early 1800s are simpler. The Greek Revival style (which has much in common with the Federalist style, because they both date from before the Civil War) is particularly elegant in its classical simplicity.

holiday-harpsThe Society will also host a tea room with refreshments and holiday music, so plan to take a break from your touring.

Need more inspiration? The Country Roads Christmas Tour through the Templeton and Phillipston area on December 3 and 4 will lead you through a variety of  shops filled with items to brighten your spirit.

Leave the old stand-bys in the attic, and put a new spin on your holiday festivities this year!