One of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit and away from the stress of shopping is to go on the Medford Soroptimist Holiday Home Tour, a fun jaunt to five gaily decorated homes on Sunday, Dec. 2.

One of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit and away from the stress of shopping is to go on the Medford Soroptimist Holiday Home Tour, a fun jaunt to five gaily decorated homes on Sunday, Dec. 2.

Joan and Michael Kincaid, whose Shady Cove home is included on this year's tour, have built an 18-foot-long Christmas village, straight out of 1843, drawing you into a long-ago world where even the meanest Scrooge discovers the love and joy of the season.

The self-guided tour, now in its 21st year, has earned more than $200,000 for scholarships for local women and children and such causes as Court Appointed Special Advocates, Dunn House, KidSpree, Sexual Assault Victim Services, Community Health Center, Children's Advocacy Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Like most homeowners on the tour, the Kincaids recall fond memories of childhood yuletide and emphasize they live amid the holiday decor for two or three months, cozying up with morning coffee and evening wine by an 8-foot tree in the living room, and showing old movies such as "A Christmas Carol," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "We're No Angels."

The charming tree is living proof you don't have to stick with snowmen and candles for ornaments — it features crowns, coaches, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a cable car and a cow in a tutu.

"We go from before Halloween to right after Super Bowl Sunday," says Michael, noting they collect ornaments during their travels all year, even painting them with the names of European cities where they've traveled and found decorations.

Their "gold room" showcases just about everything in gold tones, while the family room, off the kitchen, holds the village and a silvery tree, with all the ornaments fashioned after fruit. The tree graces all the presents, none of them with tags, says Joan, so kin visiting for the Christmas Eve feast can't shake them in a quest to discover what's inside.

"I'm always so excited about Christmas," she says. "It's my favorite holiday, by far, and is so family-oriented. My mother always made it special, with a different theme each year for dinner."

The tour is meant to display architecture and home decor as well as holiday items. It includes:

In Jacksonville, a two-story Mediterranean-style home with a fireplace made from broken granite. It has a hidden TV above the fireplace. The kitchen includes self-closing doors, hidden spice racks, and a pot-filler faucet above the stove. The downstairs features a wine cellar, a bar and a pool table for entertaining. In Jacksonville, a historic house, recently remodeled. It has the original look from the front, with an old, brick walkway and red brick veneer. The interior features the addition of a master suite. The kitchen has a large granite island and wainscoting. The sun room just off the kitchen makes this part of the house perfect for large family gatherings and entertaining. Holiday decorations will be found throughout the home. You can see spectacular views of the valley from a Medford home and hear waterfalls that surround a pool as you walk to the front door. It's a two-story, ranch-style house built in 1980 and remodeled and updated. It showcases a 15-foot tree in the entryway. A log home on the Rogue River, built in 1990, provides a rustic cabin feel, but with elegance. It has an open floor plan with the master suite upstairs. A loft sits off the kitchen, decorated with a child's theme for Christmas.

Tickets cost $15 and are available at Essentials in Eagle Point, Judy's Central Point Florist, Comfort Zone Boutique and Terra Firma in Medford, Country Quilts and Fifth Street Hair and Nail Design in Jacksonville. The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets also may be purchased online via PayPal at

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at