Open for cheer: Symphony tour shows off holiday decorations

Melinda Watson decorates a tree in a bedroom of her home as she prepares for the Grand Junction Symphony Cup of Cheer holiday home tour. Watson’s home, which was involved in a fire nearly two years ago, has been rebuilt. The Waterford crystal ornaments seen here were salvaged by Watson after the fire.



These are the stops on the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s holiday tour on Dec. 4. Tickets are $25.

• St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 230 N. Third St.

• Tom and Melinda Watson’s home,  417 N. Seventh St.

• Meadowlark Gardens, 2259 Broadway.

• Dave and Karen Hildebrandt’s home, 285 Chinle Court.

• Ralph and Karen Mika’s home, 1913 Broadway.

• Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, 2087 Broadway.

Melinda Watson can’t wait for strangers to walk through her home.

Her house is one of three homes, two businesses and a local church that will be decorated in their holiday best for this year’s Grand Junction Symphony Cup of Cheer holiday tour from 1–5 p.m. Dec. 4.

Cup of Cheer is a fundraising event for the symphony. Tickets to the self-guided tour are $25 and can be purchased at, or through the symphony office at 243-6787 or 225 N. Fifth St., Suite 120, in the Alpine Bank building.

Some may recognize Watson’s address, 417 N. Seventh St., as the place ravaged by a winter fire nearly two years ago.

Since mid-January 2010, the family has watched as the home was rebuilt from the foundation up after the fire destroyed nearly everything. The insurance provider deemed the house a total loss.

Consequently, the Watson family of four spent last Christmas in a rental house.

“We had a lovely rental home, but it isn’t the same,” Watson said.

This year, the family is back in their own expanded home on historic Seventh Street.

“I know it sounds Pollyanna, but honestly all I can see is the blessing,” Watson said.

Tom and Melinda Watson’s two teenage children, Amelia and Maxwell, likely will play their piano during the Cup of Cheer tour, and the house will be decorated with mostly traditional items such as artificial Christmas trees and garland.

Melinda Watson is still too nervous about fire to use real trees.

She plans to decorate one tree completely in the Waterford crystal she salvaged from the ashes after the fire. That tree will stand in the southwest corner of the home where the fire accidentally started.

“I’m especially excited to decorate the front” of the house, Watson said. “I love lights ... (My children) know if it’s not nailed down, mom is going to decorate it.”

Tour-goers are encouraged to begin the Cup of Cheer tour at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to see the holiday decorations and the stained-glass windows, then move to the Watson house before heading out toward the Redlands.

Tour-goers can stop at Meadowlark Gardens for holiday floral arrangements and artists selling holiday gifts, then move to the Hildebrandt home to see an extensive Santa collection and more.

Karen Hildebrandt is the symphony board president.

The final two places on the self-guided tour are the Mika house with its collection of elves, and Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, the final stop, for edible treats and holiday table settings.

“The whole idea is to see how people decorate and to see what people have for a collection,” Hildebrandt said.


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