From the old-world charm of stained glass windows to an exhibit of 18 uniquely decorated Christmas trees, five stunning Merced homes will open their doors this holiday season for the Merced Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' 20th annual Christmas Home Tour.
This year's home tour will be held on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
"It's very festive," said Carole Steinhauer, SPCA publicity director. "People come and enjoy seeing all the decorations and they get ideas about their own decorations. It gets you in the mood for Christmas."
The Merced Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers people the rare opportunity to visit and walk through five magnificent homes, each with a unique holiday theme.
There's an array of astonishing exhibits with something for everyone, Steinhauer said.
For those who love history, one home from 1913 boasts an original carriage house and rock walls. Anyone inspired by holiday décor will get a thrill from an upside-down Christmas tree, as well as NASCAR and starfish trees -- all part of the 18 unique trees inside one home.
"There are decorations everywhere, and it's awe-inspiring," Steinhauer noted.
In addition to the astonishing displays, those attending the tour will enjoy holiday treats, carol singing and a raffle with prizes.
Steinhauer said every penny from the home tour -- one of the SPCA's biggest fund-raisers -- will benefit animals in need by purchasing supplies and funding veterinary costs.
The Merced SPCA is a no-kill adoption center whose goal is to find families for each shelter pet in the facility. Run by a team of volunteers, the agency is home to more than 30 dogs and 70 cats looking for loving families.
Since opening in 2000, the organization has found homes for nearly 2,000 pets.
Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at Expressions of Love in Atwater, and at five locations in Merced: Maciel & Co., Christina's Fine Clothing, Rabobank on M Street, Wash'n Wag and A Blooming Affair Floral.
Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.