We have some very exciting news to share today. The home of the Old Town Alexandria bloggers, Wendy and Alex, ahem, that's us, has been selected to appear on the Scottish Chrismas Walk Weekend's Holiday Designer Tour of Homes taking place December 1 in Old Town Alexandria! Yes that's right, our humble little row house will be decked out to the Christmas nines and open to guests for a tour. Best of all, it supports a really great cause!

Want even better news? We're also giving away two tickets to the tour right here on the blog.

As you can probably guess, we're a little bit excited about this whole adventure, but we're also a bit frantic. I mean, after experiencing this festive weekend as a spectator for the past 12 years, this is our first opportunity to be a participant, so we have some pretty big expectations of our own to live up to.

If you're not familiar with the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, let us fill you in on some of the details. After all, it is one of our favorite events of the year, and one of the prime reasons we think it's pretty great to live in Old Town Alexandria.

Each year during the first weekend of December, the Campagna Center hosts their annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend. This year marks the 42nd year of the event, which is a multi-day celebration covering the streets of Old Town Alexandria. The Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend celebrates the Scottish heritage of Alexandria, the shopping associated with Christmas, and the pomp and circumstance of a good parade. Throw in a little Scotch tasting the evening before, a whole bunch of men wearing skirts, and an official sponsorship by the Scottish government, and you've got yourself a recipe for a wonderful and festive weekend.

Yep, that's me on the left.

And if there are two things Old Town does really well, they're Christmas and men in skirts.

After the Friday evening marketplace and "Taste of Scotland" Scotch tasting, the weekend's events on Saturday kick off with a parade full of bagpipes and Christmas spirit. The streets of old town are packed with pipe and drum bands, dogs, antique cars, city government officials waving to the crowd, and Scottish clan representations from around the area. 

Following the parade, hundreds of visitors enjoy the annual Holiday Designer Tour of Homes, where several private residences around Old Town are open for all to see. That's where we fit in. 

Home from last year's tour. We have a lot to live up to...

While we were on vacation back in September we were contacted out of the blue by one of the chairs of the Designer Tour of Homes. The chair that wrote to us happens to be a reader of our blog and she was coordinating the various homes that would be on this year's tour. Her email asked if we'd be interested in participating in the tour as one of the subject houses. To say we were shocked, flattered, dumbfounded, excited, and surprised would all be an understatement.

Wendy and I have long talked (primarily in a joking manner) about the possibility of being on one of Old Town's home tours. A home tour was one of the events that first introduced us to the interiors of homes in Old Town, and the various tours over the years have allowed us to gain glimpses into some of the most interesting, grand, beautiful, and awe inspiring homes in our surrounding neighborhood. As a result, the thought of our tiny little 15 foot wide row house appearing on a tour of homes alongside multi-million dollar places that are literally jaw dropping is almost unimaginable. Surely the email we received asking about the tour had to have been a mistake? Perhaps our wide angle lens made our house look far larger than it actually is? 

After much internal deliberation (that's code for us freaking out a lot and exclaiming many times over, "What if our house sucks and it's the worst one on the tour?"), Wendy and I decided we should throw caution to the wind, pull the trigger, and in the name of supporting a local charitable organization, just go for it. We excitedly wrote back to let her know our interest in participating and began working on the next steps to make this thing we always thought of as a pipe dream a reality. The main reason behind our decision to go for it? We love Christmas, it's for a good cause, and we think it's going to be a whole lot of fun!

Each homeowner on the tour is paired with a local florist and interior designer to pull together the whole look. Last week we met with our home's team to begin putting together a game plan. We're going to be working with Wendy's favorite local florist, Helen Olivia, as well as one of our blog readers and local designer, Sarah Bohl. Sarah also happens to be the person who thought it was a pretty great idea to contact us about the tour, so we're really glad she's our designer. We'll also have an elaborate table setting provided for the day that is sure to turn our red dining room into a veritable Christmas Party wonderland.

Last year Sarah was the designer for another home on the tour, and she did a spectacular job. She used old books as the inspiration and wove pages into almost every facet of the design. Here's a photo from the dining room, including the handmade wreath above the fireplace made from pages taken from a book.

You might recognize that dining room as it's in an 18th century home that was one of our Open Housing subject homes from earlier this year. Needless to say, we're super excited for the collaborative efforts that will surely result from this event, and for the final and beautiful look of our house. We're also especially excited to share the whole process and results with all of you. You had better believe you'll be seeing a lot of photos in the coming weeks. 

Now Wendy and I have the pressure on us! We have just a few weeks to finish up a laundry list of items around the house, including the ongoing sun porch project. Wish us luck.

We really hope that those of you that are local will be able to make it. And I said earlier, it all supports a great cause. If you're interested in purchasing tickets to the Designer Tour of Homes, or learning about any of the other Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend events, visit the Campagna Center's website. We also hope you'll stop back later today for a chance to win two tickets to the home tour.

Does your town have a local holiday celebration that you enjoy each year? Any special traditions you have that make you feel like the holiday season has officially begun? Any thoughts on us being the tiny house on the tour that everyone says "How did that house make it on the list?" Sure, maybe we're being a little bit neurotic, especially given the awesome team of people that will be getting the house ready with us, but the voice is still in the back of our minds.

Comments 25


11/12/2012 at 12:31 PM
Congratulations! It must feel good to be able to show off the results of all your hard work, especially decorated for Christmas. Our neighborhood does a "candlelight evening" where all the homeowners line the sidewalk in front of their house with lit candles, but that's about it. That's fine with us, though, as I don't think we'll live to see the day when our house is finished.

If we lived a little closer, we would certainly order tickets!
11/12/2012 at 1:10 PM
Forgot to mention, please post a lot of pictures!
It does feel good, but as we're learning what other houses are on the tour, we're also just looking forward to the event (though a bit intimidated).

Don't worry, we'll take tons of photos.

Also, don't set your sights too low. We're in the same boat as far as being "done." We just needed to make the area where people will be look "done."
11/12/2012 at 12:46 PM
Congratulations! I love all things Christmas and am looking forward to seeing how you deck your halls for this event!

A local event that I love is the Festival of Trees. This year it runs Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. Groups (can be business, church, families, etc.) decorate Christmas trees which are then auctioned off. There are also table top trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, a Gift Shoppe (where you can buy handmade gifts), and a Sweet Shoppe (food). All items are donated and the money raised goes to our city's Primary Children's Medical Center to provide charity care. PCMC is the premier children's hospital in the Intermountain West. When my third child was born, he had really bad jaundice and had to spend 24 hours in the RTU (rapid treatment unit) undergoing intensive light therapy. The staff at PCMC are just wonderful and have been specially trained to work with children and infants. The hospital itself is designed around the needs of children. Their motto is "The child first and always". We will always have a special place in our hearts for PCMC for the wonderful care they gave our newborn son for the 24 hours he was there.
That sounds like a very cool event and great cause. It always feel good to participate in that sort of thing knowing you're both doing a good thing and getting nice decorations out of it.
Katie Boyle
11/12/2012 at 12:49 PM
I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!!! Wait, yes I can!!! This is like a dream come true for you guys. I couldn't be happier for you to be able to show off the fruits of your labor. I wish we could be there to see the process unfold, but we'll be patiently waiting for updates on Old Town Home :) I'm sure it'll be simply MARVELOUS! Will the designer make room for Plastic Light Up Santa? Hope so!!
We wish you were still here to frantically get ready with us and help us cope. I think we'll need to make a special request for Santa...or not ;-)
Susan Aster Sawyer
11/12/2012 at 12:50 PM
Karin K
11/12/2012 at 12:50 PM
Please post lots of pics for those of us who can't make it....that happens to be the likely date for my daughter's birthday sleepover party (shoot me now). Maybe I can convince her that a parade near DC will be SO MUCH MORE FUN..... Your house will be gorgeous!
I think a parade is almost always more fun than a sleepover. No brainer there. ;-)

Good luck during that event regardless of where you end up.
Jill PP
11/12/2012 at 1:22 PM
eeek! So exciting! Thad and I haven't done the tour yet since we moved to the area, but maybe we can make it this year :) Congrats guys!
Sounds like this is the perfect year to start. The other houses are amazing. We gladly welcome you to look down your nose when you come through our house. I know for a fact that four of our house could fit inside one other house on the tour, and there'd still be plenty of room to live.
Jill PP
11/13/2012 at 8:31 AM
Haha - no way! I adore smaller homes (we live in one!) and will be psyched to take a peek at yours if we go on the tour :)
11/12/2012 at 1:35 PM
HOLY COW!! I kid you not, our annual family tradition is to come to Alexandria for the Scottish Christmas walk. Our guys get kilted up, we bundle our babies, and as a plus for me, it is frequently on my birthday (the 1st, yay!).

I have ALWAYS wanted to do the tour of homes but it might be a bit ambitions to think I should bring my three year old and one year old sons into all the beautiful houses!

I wonder if we have ever walked past your house before! Congratulations on being a part of this, I cant wait to see pictures of the things you guys(and every one else) do!
That's very cool that it's your tradition. Keep an eye out for us even if you can't make the tour. We'll be out and about.

We can't wait the share photos of the whole thing. Should be fun.
Paula Pagano
11/12/2012 at 1:55 PM
That is super cool. Congratulations.
Lea Hendershot Andrews
11/12/2012 at 2:40 PM
11/12/2012 at 3:02 PM
Congratulations! One more thing I miss about living in DC... Old Town at Christmas. Can't wait to see the pics :)
For all of its beuracracy, DC and surrounding areas sure know how to do Christmas up pretty nicely, that's for sure. And as you know, Old Town does it particularly well.
11/12/2012 at 6:32 PM
Congratulations! I can't wait to see pictures.
Hopefully it'll go smoothly and all will have a great time, but well be sure to photograph even the debauchery (including the Scotch tasting the night before).
11/12/2012 at 9:21 PM
You guys have nothing to worry about. Your house is amazingly gorgeous, and I'd ABSOLUTELY LOVE to get a tour of it some day. It's too bad I'm so far away.

Side note: I was wondering if Alex had any Scottish roots, or if he was just wearing a Kilt "for fun". I happen to have a few friends with Scottish roots, so that's mainly why I was wondering.
Some day maybe we'll be able to do a "get our Candian readers to Alexandria" giveaway. That would be fun.

As much as I wear the kilt "for fun," it's also legitimate. I don't wear it often, but I do have a bit of Scottish heritage (in addition to Irish, Italian, French, and German). The kilt I wear is the Ancient Macfie (like Nanny McPhee) tartan and is one of two clan associations my family had. It was fun doing the research and connecting the dots.
11/13/2012 at 11:02 AM
DANG! We'll be in NYC that weekend... Bummer!!
Darn! It's such a fun weekend in Old Town, but I'm sure NYC will be fabulous as well. :-)
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