Dunedin homes shine with holiday cheer for Dunedin Youth Guild's Holiday Tour of Homes

Published November 28 2014

DUNEDIN — Nine decorated Christmas trees glow throughout the 1966 vernacular home. Ten if you include the glitzy holiday tree freshly painted on a piece of plywood in the artist's studio.

The dining room table is set with Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dinnerware; silver and red decor serves as a backdrop.

In the kitchen, a wine bottle and glass, monogrammed with an S, await Santa's arrival. A comfort tray with books, wrapped packages and a reindeer are posed on the guest bed just in case "S" needs a quick nap.

Every nook and cranny of the home owned by Sharon and James Appler displays festive cheer. Yet it only took about a week to create the Christmas fantasyland — they got by with a lot of help from their friends.

"Everything you see is the result of collaboration," said Sharon Appler, who was in charge of lining up the homes for the Dunedin Youth Guild's 45th annual Holiday Tour of Homes. "I only have one Christmas tree, so when I decided to put my home on the tour, the elves really came through."

The tour, showcasing five Dunedin and Palm Harbor homes, is slated for Dec. 6. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the tour.

"These homes are decorated beautifully, each in a style of their own," said Kendal Hughes, who is chairing this year's event. "It's worth spending some time to pay attention to all of the little details."

The self-guided tour is an eclectic collection of historic, midcentury and modern homes, many featuring personal collections such as Santa purses, Christmas villages, dolls, and multigenerational family items.

In the Appler home, a White House tree is adorned with every White House ornament made since 1980. Another home features a 13-foot Christmas tree embellished with brain cancer awareness ribbons and Swarovski crystals to honor the homeowner's husband, who died from the disease.

The guild was formed to serve the youth of the greater Dunedin area as well as to support civic and cultural organizations. It's helped fund playgrounds, parks, bands, clubs and places like the Dunedin Fine Art Center. In 2014, the guild awarded more than $34,000 in youth scholarships.

In addition to generating funds through ticket sales, this year the guild is raffling off a cleverly decorated tree dubbed, "Under the Sea." See it at the Appler house.

"We toured all the houses and they are so inspirational," Appler said. "I am stealing ideas for next year."