Front Entrance with Nutcraker, "Welcome",
Sample Sandwich Boards

Animated card from The Shedds
Hopefully my animated card will render on your browser.
(In the card, notice Claradell's skating picture over the mantel)
As one approaches our property, the theme was nutcracker soldiers.
Approaching the front entrance.
Lattice installed overhead to house lights and ornaments. Lights illuminated during tours.
The nutcracker figure wore a customized graphic welcoming specific visitors by name.
Overhead lattice was decorated and illuminated
Every tour was customized for that specific group.The nutcraker at the front door bore a welcoming sign with the names of the individuals visiting in that group. Inside within the various villages were placed customized sandwich boards acknowledging the specific interests of the visitors. Examples: a young girl who played the piano, a woman who gardened, a man who fished... The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the specific visitor, but the sandwich boards created interest for every group, because immediately the guests realized they were indeed a part of this experience. We served refreshments to each group. After the tour, all guests were given their customized sandwich boards and a summary of what they had seen on all three floors of the house. The largest single tour consisted of two chartered buses. Harry took one group and started on the lower level; Claradell and the other group began on the upper level. They met on the middle or entry level and exchanged groups. On the day of the chartered bus visit, we gave tickets to each person. At the end of the tour, we drew tickets for gift wrapped door prizes. The door prizes often included a "village" building. Some sandwich boards shown below. I had to allocate at least three hours of computer design work in preparation for each group. Reservations "by word of mouth" began in July for display times from Thanksgiving through the middle of January. We scheduled two tours of two hours each per night and three per day on Saturdays and Sundays. It took about one-half hour to put up the new signs and light the candles again for each incoming group. We totaled about 500 visiting per holiday season, and we did this for twelve years. There was no charge. We had displays in each and every room of the house. Some of the displays are still up in areas not disrupting our normal traffic flow (but covered by black plastic to reduce the accumulating of dust). It takes forever to dust these minute figures and buildings. Dusting is done by taking each figure, building, tree, etc. outside and cleaning with an artist's soft brush. I did a complete dusting of the villages in 2015.
Music: "Over The Rainbow"
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