Christmas home tours offer inspiration, aid community organizations

The halls are decked at a number of dazzling dwellings on tour around the Atlanta area, just in time for decoration inspiration. Along with festive finery, the events benefit a number of community organizations while making our bustling metro feel like home for the holidays.

“It’s really a community event,” said Johnny Sinclair, co-chair of the 30th annual Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour. “One of the reasons I love the Pilgrimage is because it’s Marietta coming together. People get involved.”

The event is jointly organized by the Marietta Visitors Bureau and Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society, with scores of volunteers pitching in as docents, and proceeds benefit restoration and educational efforts. This year’s tour features six homes in the Kennesaw Avenue historic district. Kennesaw Avenue, once known as Cassville Road, was rechristened in 1882 and coined “The Peachtree Street of Marietta” by The Marietta Journal a few years later, according to the event’s history notes.

Event co-chair Sarah Bullington, at the helm for the third time, has played a key role in at least a dozen Pilgrimages. Her home has been on tour in the past, and she enjoys the chance to view other historic homes each year.

“They’re not building any more old houses,” she noted.

Here are details for this and other area home tours.

Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (day tour) and 7-9:30 p.m. (candlelight tour) Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Day tour tickets are $30, candlelight tour tickets are $25 and combination tickets are $35 on site on the day of the event. They’re available online at a $5 discount at Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the Marietta Welcome Center (4 Depot St., on the Marietta Square; 770-429-1115) or the William Root House, right off the Square at 80 N. Marietta Parkway; 770-426-4982.

Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes. The 36th annual event highlights a number of private residences, including the Burns Mansion on Grant Street. Established in the late 1890s, Grant Park is Atlanta’s largest historic district with homes built in the Victorian, Craftsman, Italianate and other styles from the turn of the century, and the homes on tour reflect the area’s diverse architectural styles. In addition to the home tours, the event features an artists’ market, a Winter Wonderland with visits from Santa, and a concert by the St. Paul United Methodist Church choir. Proceeds benefit the church, the Grant Park Cooperative Preschool and the Grant Park Parent Network.

Tour hours are 6-10 p.m. Dec. 10-11. The Winter Wonderland is 4-6 p.m. Dec. 10, and the concert is at 5 p.m. Dec. 11; both are free. The tour starts at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 501 Grant St., and corresponding festivities take place there. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of tours. Call 404-688-7501 or see

The Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse & Marketplace. The home on Woodward Way in Buckhead showcases the talents of Charles Heydt of Pak Heydt & Associates, builder David Childers of Macallan Custom Homes, landscape architect Graham Pittman and a number of the region’s best designers. Proceeds benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Tour hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 11. Tickets are $25 each. Note: There is no parking at the showhouse. Parking is available at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, 351 Peachtree Hills Ave., and a shuttle will take visitors to the home and back to their cars. For tickets and other information, see

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