By KATIE V. JONES                    

For Clayton Cooper, featuring his home in Laurel Historical Society’s (LHS) holiday house tour offers several benefits. It is a chance to be an active participant in the community, he is supporting the historical society, and, it is an excuse “to puke Christmas all over the house.”

“We open our whole house except for two rooms upstairs,” he said, with excitement. “We have four trees. There is Christmas in every room, even closets.”

After a five-year absence, the popular tour, which showcases a variety of homes, returns on Dec. 9 from 1 to 5 p.m.  First held in the spring of 1976, the tour has been scheduled every other year in December, for the most part, according to Ann Bennett, LHS executive director.

“We resurrected the garden tour last year after a 24-year absence,” she said. “We are back on track. Odd years will be the house tour, even years the garden tour. People are very excited.”

The tour begins at the museum, where participants receive a map with directions to the featured homes as well as a little history about each property.  As of early November, about eight homes were listed for the tour. Cooper’s home and the Gude Mansion, now owned by the city and used as the office for the parks and recreation department, will both be featured.

“It will be a nice snack stop,” said Michelle Keating, a LHS board member, of the mansion. “People can hang out there and have Christmas treats.”

According to Bennet, participating homeowners are not required to offer snacks or even decorate, but many do go all out. Cooper, a former chair of the house tour committee, noted that homes have featured not only Christmas decor, but both Jewish and Kwanzaa traditions, as well.

“People want to get in your house and see what it looks like,” he said. “They come in, walk through and leave. It is not a lot of work.”

Neither rain nor snow – unless extreme conditions, will cancel the tour.

“Weather does not stop them,” Copper said. “The show must go on.”

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 on tour day. For more information, email or call 301.725.7975