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By Erin Schwager

Home for the Holidays

Orchard tour of homes a success


December 19, 2019

Erin Schwager

District 57 Schoolhouse

W.T. Ellis stated, "It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."

The Orchard Historical Society seems to keep the community involved by hosting events for people to partake in.

On Sunday, Dec. 15, they hosted a tour of homes, with six participants.

Each destination featured a different thing to intrigue visitors with the holiday season.

First on the list to visit was the old schoolhouse in Orchard.

The Historical Society has put a lot of time and effort into restoring the schoolhouse, so this was a way to show people how the school used to look.

The District 57 schoolhouse even included a real cedar tree with hand-made ornaments and paper snowflakes on the windows.

The next destination was the United Methodist Church.

Jenelle Erb presented a tour of the church, where Christmas trees and decorations were donated by various parishioners. In the fellowship hall, every table included nativity scenes that Erb has collected over the years. She has 31 nativity scenes and she sets up all of them every single year. Erb said she has received nativity scenes as presents, gotten them at conventions and bought them from Christian stores or thrift stores.

Ashley and Ramzee Hauf decorated their house with a wreath on every single door, and they had a different theme for every room in the house, including mermaids, peacocks, angels and wine.

Hauf has a Christmas tree within the house filled with angels. Her mother, Darla Hauf, started a tradition giving Ashley an angel ornament every Christmas and she also carries on the tradition now with her granddaughter, Ramzee.

John and Alexandra Shively McClanahan's home has an interesting history. They turned a barn into a house, where they reside now; however, they travel back and forth between Nebraska and Alaska.

The house includes belongings with interesting stories behind them. There is a huge bookshelf in the upper part of their house, showcasing AJ's love for reading and writing. Several pictures and belongings from Alaska are a touch from John. They even have a narwhal tooth hanging on a wall.

Desirae Schwager's house includes a Christmas tree in every room, including the aquarium. Nate and Desirae have four children, whose tree's themes included Huskers, Golden State Warriors, black and white woodland and purple and white woodland.

Schwager's aunt, Janet Montgomery-Pierce, passed away in October, and Desirae said she has seen many cardinals on her back porch at times when she needs it most. She captured some photos of the cardinals, printed them on canvases and placed them above her cabinet in remembrance of her aunt and grandparents during the Christmas season.

Erin Schwager

Reason for the season: Jenelle Erb displays a nativity scene given to her by her grandfather in the 1950s. The Methodist Church was one of six stops on the Orchard Historical Society's tour of homes.

Schwager also created wreaths on the doors using greens, pine cones and berries from her own backyard.

One Royal resident participated in the Tour of Homes event.

Terri Hergert has nearly 200 Santa Clauses within her house.

Over the years, she cross-stitched each of her grandchildren a stocking. She displayed all of them in her living room.

Even in small-town Nebraska, folks find ways to get involved and socialize with people from several communities.

The Tour of Homes was an opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the company of others during the Christmas season.

As W.T. Ellis said, "We need to remember the true meaning of Christmas season within our hearts and the rest will be shared amongst others."


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