Sippican Woman’s Club prepares for a classy Christmas

Dec 4, 2018

MARION — For many tri-town residents the Holiday House Tour is a fun Saturday event with lovely decorations and tea. For the Sippican Woman’s Club, it’s a nearly year-long process of planning to make that event happen.

The Holiday House Tour was started a little over 30 years ago, as a way to fund the scholarships that the Sippican Woman’s Club gives out to students that demonstrate financial need, good grades and community service.

Last year’s Holiday House Tour earned more than $11,000 for undergraduate or graduate students in need of assistance.

To raise that money, the Sippican Woman’s Club chooses five houses to showcase in Marion each year, gets permission from homeowners to show part or all of their house, hires five florists around town (one to decorate each house), and decorates Handy’s Tavern, which serves as the Woman’s Club headquarters.

The process of picking houses can get quite complex. “We keep a list of the houses we’ve done in the past and try not to reuse houses within ten years,” explained Sippican Woman’s Club President, Mary Verni.

The club will reach out to members or members friends to host, and has even been known to keep a “do not call” list of houses that have declined to host the event. Then it keeps track of house sales to know when it might re-approach new owners. 

“We appreciate the graciousness of homeowners in Marion who are willing to open their homes,” Verni said.

Individual homeowners may choose how to decorate their homes, and are given a stipend from the Woman’s Club to pay the florist. The greens on display in houses are for sale if they have a tag on them.

If greens do not sell during the tour, the florist that designed the arrangement may take it back to their shop to sell, or homeowners may buy the arrangements to decorate for the holidays or another event.

The Woman’s Club always chooses a theme for Handy’s Tavern during the Holiday House Tour. This year, the theme is “An Elegant Christmas,” and decorations feature elaborate dinner jackets draped over the chairs, just waiting for guests.

Though the tavern takes multiple days to decorate, the Woman’s club turns it into a bit of a social event as well.

“It’s a great way for new members to meet other members,” Verni said.

Still, Verni’s favorite part of the house tour is is, “the excitement and the build up of the event. And seeing the participants be overwhelmed with the beauty of the houses.”

The 2018 Holiday House Tour will be held Dec. 8 The Woman’s Club will assemble to hand out brochures and admissions to the houses on tour at the Coldwell Banker on Front St at 10 am. After that the tour will last until 4 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 the day of the tour. They are on sale at the Marion General Store, and Isabelle’s and the Ropewalk in Mattapoisett. Tickets may also be purchased by mailing a check to the Sippican Women’s Club, P.O. Box 121, Marion, MA 02738. The group requests that mailed submissions include the word “tickets” on the envelope.