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Posted: 12/05/12

HISTORIC HOLIDAYS. Above, Richard and Virginia Kyro of Romeo will be one of five homes featured on the Romeo Historical Society's Christmas Home Tour on Saturday, Dec. 8. Seen here are some of the decorations tour-goers will have a chance to check out on the tour. Below top, nutcrackers line the kitchen counter. Below middle, a decorated banner invites guests to go upstairs. Below bottom, one of many Santa Claus collections.

(Observer photos by Chris Gray)

Check out Romeo's halls
at Christmas Home Tour

Observer Staff Writer
      As 2012 starts to end, the Christmas season begins with one of Romeo's most popular holiday traditions.
       The Romeo Historical Society is hosting its annual Christmas Home Tour on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. for historic house lovers and Christmas enthusiasts alike to check out Romeo's decorated homes.
       A total of five homes are on this year's tour, with groups of ticket-holders meeting at the First Congregational Church before heading out to see the homes at three different tour times.
       Sue Kane, president of the Romeo Historical Society, said the fundraiser is a critical event for maintaining its facilities.
       "It's our largest fundraiser to support the three museums for the year," Kane said. "That's just for upkeep, to keep the doors open."
       The event has grown in fame over the years. This year, the society added an extra tour time to accommodate the volume of people snatching up tickets. Kane said they have received calls since August about the Christmas Home Tour, and as of Nov. 30 had all but sold out of the 125 tickets for each time.
       "We've got a reputation, we've been doing it for many years," Kane said. "We're probably the biggest and best in the Metro-Detroit area."
       Opening their 1856 Greek Revival home to the tour is the Kyro family. Richard and Virginia moved into the home 20 years ago and have amassed decorations and Christmas-themed collections ever since. Virginia said she loves Christmas, and perhaps as an extension of that, loves to give back, so the Home Tour fits perfectly.
       "I think, for us, we really like to support the community and support any organization that is trying to do some fundraising," she said. "When you have a home like this I think it's really important to share it."
       The couple worked for three weeks to put up all their decorations, which Virginia said is as much as they normally do with the exception of a few extra Christmas trees they set up for the tour.
       One of the largest trees is found in the formal parlor. The nine-foot tree has more than 350 ornaments, including handmade ornaments from their parents and grandparents and small flags that depict their family's heritage.
       Also found in the parlor, which Virginia admitted to being her favorite room, is a collection of vintage Santa Claus figures. Other collections can be found throughout the home as well.
       "I have to really connect to the face on the Santa in order to add it to my collection," she said. "I've just always loved Santas, but in particular it's all about the face."
       The kitchen has a gingerbread man theme along with nutcrackers, while another Santa collection and a wreath sit above the mantel in the informal parlor.
       Though he jokes about how much they decorate, Richard said he likes helping deck their historic halls.
       "I think the best part of the hobby is we do it together, it's a passion we share," he said. "We want people to enjoy the house."
       Alongside the Christmas decor, tour-goers will find a blend of historic and contemporary furniture and decorations, such as Richard's collection of oil lamps.
       "It's really a combination of respecting the historical perspective and the roots of the home but also making it comfortable because we live here," Virginia said.
       The Kyro's historic home is also the inspiration for the Romeo Historical Society's 2012 Romeo Village Christmas Ornament. The ornament, designed to look like the exterior of the home, is also an annual fundraiser for the society.
       Ornaments can be purchased for $22 at Connelly's Creations, Two Romeo Girls and Kane's Town Hall Antiques in downtown Romeo.
       Tickets for the tour are $20 each. To find out whether tickets for the Home Tour are still available, call Kane's Town Hall Antiques at (586) 752-5422.

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