Holiday in the Highlands is one of our neighborhoods oldest charitable endeavors, dating back to 1969 with the launch of the Lake Highlands Women’s League. With almost 50 years of seasonal home tours, it’s no surprise the event has become a family affair — something each generation not only looks forward to, but takes part in creating.
Just ask the Baggett family.
Matriarch Jo launched the family tradition in 1981 when she was asked to showcase her home on Estate Lane. Daughter-in-law Dee Ann followed suit in 2007 when her Blackwood Drive abode was featured. This year, it’s daughter Cary Woodall’s turn to bring Christmas cheer to thousands of neighbors at her Cliffmere Drive residence.
“With women’s league, I am certainly following in my mother’s footsteps and am proud to be able to do so,” Woodall says, adding that she learned grace in volunteering by watching her parents. “There wasn’t a lot of talk about the time they spent, it was just part of what they did, but we definitely noticed giving back as something important to them.”
All the Baggett women agree an unintended perk of being featured on a tour is that it forces a homeowner to tackle that neglected to-do list and provides an excuse to dust off the good china and silver.
“We pulled out wedding presents and dishes we hadn’t used before. It made us appreciate it all so much more,” Dee Ann says.
Preparing for a tour can be stressful, as homeowners feel pressured to fix all the scuffs while also decorating the entire house for the holiday season.
“I remember being told many, many times not to touch anything,” Woodall says of being a 5-year-old when her parent’s house was featured on the tour, something she can easily relate to this year with her own children. “I’m thinking that will be something that happens in my house, too.”
Then there’s the fact that the whole neighborhood comes by to peek in your house, something that is fun but slightly anxiety inducing.
“I do remember that I left the house quickly that morning because I didn’t want to overhear someone saying something negative,” Jo says.
But all agree it’s a worthwhile experience and a way to give back to a group that has raised $2,695,000 for student scholarships and Lake Highlands nonprofits. The tour, along with its holiday luncheon (which sells out quickly, so book early) are the signature event of the Lake Highlands Women’s League and something that has brought neighbors together for decades.
“We have people who have been coming for years and years,” says Julie Jodie, this year’s co-chair of the home tour with Cindy Terrell. “It’s a tradition we’re proud to carry on.”
Holiday in the Highlands Home Tour
Friday, Dec. 1, 9:30 a.m.- 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day of the tour (luncheon tickets are $15)
Get more information at lhwl.org