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November 18, 2014

20th Anniversary of Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate ‘Best Christmas Ever’ at Bok Tower Gardens November 28 to January 4

LAKE WALES, Fla. – Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens is an annual celebration for all ages and one of the best times of the year to visit the National Historic Landmark. Events and festivities take place from November 28 to January 4, 2015.

This year’s celebration features the 20th anniversary of the ever-popular Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, as well as poinsettia, bromeliad and amaryllis displays, live holiday carillon concerts, winter walking tours, decorating workshops, family activities and more. The Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is Saturday, December 6 at 6 p.m.

Now in its 20th year, the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate is the longstanding highlight of Bok Tower Gardens’ season of holiday-themed events. The 1932 Mediterranean-style mansion on Gardens property is decorated by volunteers and sponsored designers. This year’s home design isn’t based on a single theme, but instead is a “Best Christmas Ever” edition featuring design themes from the past 19 years. Each room will be different, as no theme is being duplicated anywhere in the house.

Following is a breakdown of the Holiday Home Tour room themes, designers and sponsors:

  • Butler’s Pantry, Prelude to a Grand Party, 1999—Sponsored by Wish Vintage Rentals; Designed by Lisa Malott
  • Dining Room, The Pleasure of Your Company, 2002—Sponsored by Citizens Bank; Designed by Citizens Bank Staff
  • Mr. Buck’s Office, Elegance of Christmas Past, 1996—Sponsored by 1026 SoFlo Fine Art Gallery & Marketplace; Designed by Mary May Witte & Bill Hinson
  • Loggia, Making Spirits Bright, 2003—Sponsored by SASSI; Designed by Roxanne Fulwood & KeeLee Tomlinson
  • Living Room, Christmas Memories, 2010—Sponsored and Designed by The Amaryllis Club
  • Mr. Buck’s Suite, The Nature of the Holidays, 2012—Sponsored by Nettle Creek; Designed by Candace Holladay, Courtney Marshall, Heather Wilson, and Pat Weber
  • Bedroom 3, Celebrating Traditions, 2013—Sponsored by Ambius; Designed by Ambius Staff
  • Bedroom 4, Once Upon a Time…A Storybook Christmas, 2008—Sponsored by Ashton Events; Designed by Laura Helm
  • Lucy’s Bedroom, Holiday Splendor, 2005—Sponsored by Rainbow, Wicker, & Silks; Designed by Diana Michalski, Owner, and Ricky Fortner, Floral Designer

“The Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate is consistently our largest fundraiser of the year thanks to thousands of visitors who have made it a family tradition,” says Jennifer Beam, director of visitor services & programs. “Every dollar we raise through admission tickets and activities during the holiday season goes right back into the Gardens.”

With as much work that goes into every detail of the décor, the Holiday Home Tour wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated help from Gardens’ volunteers, who have handcrafted most of the decorations for the hallways, entrances and other spaces to complement the room designs.

“The staff, volunteers and designers who make this event happen have worked tirelessly throughout the year to plan for a spectacular 20th anniversary display,” Beam said. “This is shaping up be our best Christmas season ever at the Gardens.”

Inspired by the history and beauty of Pinewood Estate, members of a new volunteer patron group, The Amaryllis Club, have raised funds to purchase new holiday decorations and are decorating the Living Room as part of this year’s Holiday Home Tour. Their mission is to promote and preserve the heritage and vintage style of this historic home, and to take on other special projects on behalf of the Gardens.

“The Amaryllis Club is so pleased to join other designers in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Holiday Home Tour,” said Cindy Alexander, one of the club’s organizers. “Our members are excited that it's an inaugural project in support of the Gardens that focuses on preparing a very special home for the holidays.”

Patti Bostick, lead designer for The Amaryllis Club’s decorating team, said the Club’s main intent was to not compromise the integrity of the house in their design of the Living Room, and to make sure they emphasize the home’s architecture, beauty and style.

“It’s an honor and a privilege for us to be decorating a room in this one-of-a-kind home,” Bostick said. “Our entire team of 25 has worked on this project since spring, and we’re excited that visitors will be able to experience how the Buck family would have spent Christmas Eve together, playing instruments, and enjoying desserts,” she said. “The house just speaks to you; you can feel its history. It’s an amazing place, and we all just love it.”

Returning to the Holiday Home Tour this year is “Pinewood Place,” an intimate outdoor seating area adjacent to the estate serving light snacks and drinks. Menu items include beer, wine, specialty sodas, green tea, bottled water, coffee, hot chai, hot tea, hot spiced apple cider, cocoa, cookies, carillon crunch, biscotti, sourdough dill pretzels, and potato chips.

Children are once again encouraged to tour the 1930’s-style home and participate in an ongoing search for “Buddy” the Magical Elf in every room. A special “Holiday Home Tour for Kids” student tour package is also available through the Gardens education department at 863-734-1221.

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens is sponsored in part by Visit Central Florida, Visit Florida, Winter Haven Honda, WEDU, WUSF, and by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

Tickets to the 20th anniversary Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate are available online at or by calling 863-734-1222.

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens – Events and Programs 2014-15:

Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate – Hours & Admission Prices – Nov. 28 to Jan. 4, 2015
The 20th anniversary Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate is open Mondays – Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sundays from noon - 5 p.m. Admission is $20 adults; $9 children ages 5-12. Members: $7 adults; $6 children ages 5-12. All prices include general gate admission. Children under 5 are admitted free.

Christmas Carillon Concerts LIVE! – Nov. 28 to Jan. 4, 2015
Geert D’hollander performs Christmas music from around the world at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday on the 60-bell Singing Tower carillon. Student carillonneur Julie Zhu from Yale University and the Royal Carillon School in Belgium performs live on the carillon every Monday through Wednesday throughout the holiday season. All 30-minute live carillon concerts are included with general gate admission.

Winter Walking Tours – Nov. 28 to Jan. 4, 2015
Gardens’ volunteers lead visitors on an hour-long winter walking tour, sharing information about the flora and fauna and guiding visitors through the Gardens from Pinewood Estate to the Singing Tower. Tours are Mondays through Saturdays at 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.; Sundays at 1:45 p.m. only.

1930s Holi-DAYS at Pinewood Estate – Dec. 2, 9 & 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
See vintage Model A’s outside Pinewood Estate, meet historical characters from the 1930s, and catch a few surprise personalities from the past. Included with general gate admission.

Formal Fridays – Dec. 5, 12 & 19
Show off your holiday glam with our Pinewood Angels, who will greet you in their holiday best. Guests are welcome to take personal holiday photos while enjoying roaming carolers around Pinewood Estate.

Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra – Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.
Enjoy the sounds of the season as the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Singing Tower carillon perform together in one of Central Florida’s favorite holiday concerts. Visitors are encouraged to prepare themed picnics and arrive early to participate in the instrument petting zoo beginning at 4:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $20 adult; $8 children ages 5-12. Children under 5 are admitted free.

Holly Jolly Saturdays – Dec. 6, 13 & 20
Break out those festive holiday sweaters, hats and accessories to wear to the Gardens on Saturdays during the season and join our Pinewood Angels in the fun. Guests are encouraged to take photos in our life-sized Holiday Photo Frame.

Holiday Happy Hour at Pinewood Estate – Dec. 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Join your friends for an early evening tour of Pinewood Estate and enjoy the season with a complimentary drink, light fare and holiday tunes. $15 per person; ages 21 and older.

Holiday Home Workshop "Charming Centerpieces" – Dec. 13 at 9 a.m.
Visitors learn to transform a container into a gorgeous centerpiece using natural materials. Tips and tricks also provided to keep flower arrangements fresh throughout the season. Workshop is Sat., Dec. 13 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. $15 per person, some supplies included. Reservations are required at 863-734-1222 and space is limited.

Family Holiday Weekend – Dec. 20 & 21
The spirit of the holidays comes to life at Bok Tower Gardens! Enjoy family visits with Santa Claus, Charles Dickens-style roaming carolers, ice sculpture carving, and holiday nature art activities. Included with general gate admission.

Carillon & Chorale Concert plus Holiday Home Tour Open Late – Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Enjoy an hour-long carillon concert with a live choir under the stars. Pinewood Estate remains open late for a special nighttime tour complete with hot chocolate and cookies. Light dinner available at the Blue Palmetto Café before the concert for an additional fee. Last entry to Pinewood Estate is at 9:00 p.m. Concert Only: $5 per person; free for members. Concert & Home Tour: $13 per person; $7 for members.

Christmas Day at Bok Tower Gardens – Dec. 25
Celebrate Christmas Day with free Holiday Home Tours of Pinewood Estate and enjoy the sounds of the season with live carillon concerts at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Café, gift shop and Holiday Home Tour open noon to 5 p.m. Free tours subject to availability on timed entry and a first-come, first-served basis. Regular gate admission rates apply.

Flicks in the Garden “Elf” – Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.
Enjoy an evening under the stars with the fun, family movie, Elf, on the big screen. Last entry to Pinewood Estate is 6 p.m. Included with $5 admission; ages 5 and up.

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Download printable PDF - Download 2013 Holiday Home Tour Photos (2014 Coming Soon!)


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