Three couples opened their homes Sunday during the Pan American Round Table Holiday Home Tour to share their love of Christmas.
Maribel Barrera, whose two-story home on North Frank Street was on the home tour for the first time this year, said Christmas is special to her because it means the reunion of her family.
“It’s all about family coming together, and it’s the time of the year when family from out of town gathers here,” she said.
Barrera said she and her husband Alonzo have always decorated their home for the holidays. Their residence features a number of Coca Cola-themed decorations from the Barreras’ time working for the Coca-Cola distributorship here.
Alma Nuñez, whose lavishly-decorated Quail Creek Drive home was also on the tour for the first time, said she began putting up decorations at the beginning of October.
“When I moved to Del Rio, my sister-in-law, Edith, told me about this Christmas home tour, and she said, ‘You could even put your house in it,’ and I said, ‘No, what if mine’s not good enough?’ She said, ‘Believe me, it is, and you should put it in,’ but I wanted to go see the other homes first,” Nuñez said.
She went on the tour in 2016 and decided to try and add her home to the tour the following year. But Nuñez said she wasn’t aware of how early the selection process for the homes began, and by the time she mentioned her desire to add her home to the tour, the houses for 2017 had already been selected and the event tickets printed.
“So I said, I’ll apply in 2018, this year,” Nuñez said.
Nuñez said she has always loved decorating her home for Christmas.
“I go all the way, and one of the reasons is because my whole family comes to my house for Christmas. They live in San Angelo, and I’m talking my parents, three sisters, their children, who are already married, and they bring their kids, so we end up with beds and air beds everywhere,” Nuñez said.
Among her favorite decorating touches this year were the “Santa on the beach”-themed bathrooms.
In one, a palm Christmas tree sprouts next to the bathtub and Santa, decked out in a Hawaiian shirt, carries a beach chair. In another, a grass-skirted Santa plays the ukulele for a brightly-colored parrot.
“Those the ones I like the best,” Nuñez said.
Nuñez said she and her husband also work hard to remember the reason for the season, as she put it.
“In every room, I put a nativity, even if it’s only a tiny one, there’s always one there. It reflects my faith in God, and I don’t really like how commercial Christmas has become, so I have my nativities and in some of the rooms, a sign that says, ‘Christ is the reason for the season,’” Nuñez said.
This was the second year Laura and Joel Langton’s spacious Central Street home was on the holiday tour.
Langton said she and her husband Joel and daughter Danielle moved into the house about five years ago.
“It’s an older house, 140 years old. We love it, but of course it always needs some work. It’s got a lot of charm, a lot of space, 11-foot ceilings,” she said.
Christmas, Langton said, is simply a magical time of the year.
“I’ve always loved Christmas, but this house really brought out a way for me to show off my creativity because I haven’t always gone all-out with decorating for the holidays, and it’s just been really fun to have the space and opportunity to do that, and the home tour gives me that push to get it all done,” Langton said.
Langton complimented the Pan American Round Table members for the work they do helping homeowners prepare for the event.
“At first, it was a little strange, the thought of a lot of strangers coming into my house and wandering around, but the organization makes it really nice, with the hostesses, and I don’t ever feel like there are any issues. We love our house and we think it’s really cool, but it’s nice when we hear other people like it, too,” she said.
Langton said her favorite decoration is the red tree, a Christmas pine standing along a bank of windows in the Langton dining room, which also features a piece of original art by Del Rio artist Adrian Falcon.
All of the money raised by the Pan American Round Table from the sale of tour tickets goes to fund scholarships offered by the organization.