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All aboard for the land of Christmas

Trolley rides between lavishly decorated abodes and one Medford décor store are the new, hot ticket on an annual holiday home tour.

Fifty participants can ride with Allaboard Trolley Tours during the 24th annual Holiday Home Tour, presented by Soroptimist International of Medford. Departing at 10:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, the trolley will run from Medford, including two of the city’s homes, to Central Point, where the tour’s other two residences are located.

“We’ve never had anything like that before,” says Soroptimist President Stacy Straub of the trolley rides. “It would get you in the holiday spirit.”

Trolley tickets can be purchased for $35, first-come, first-served. The self-guided tour costs $15. All proceeds benefit a variety of local nonprofit organizations.

Easy access and owners’ desire to decorate determine which homes comprise the annual tour, which hosted nearly 600 people last year and raised more than $11,000 to assist local women and girls in need, says Straub.

“A lot of the people start in October,” says Straub, explaining that Soroptimist always is looking for nominations to the next year’s itinerary.

Raffle tickets also support Soroptimist causes and can be purchased at each of the tour’s homes. Ten percent of the day’s sales at Essentials Home Décor, the tour’s fifth stop, will go to Soroptimist, says Staub.

Home décor takes a back seat to Darcey Mann-Self’s 22 Christmas trees in all sizes and states of embellishment. From an upside-down Coca-Cola tree to a rotating nativity amid evergreen boughs, Mann-Self’s trees feature numerous animated components and scenes set to music.

“I’m kind of maxed,” says Mann-Self, whose three-bedroom Central Point home has hosted 22 trees for several years running.

The 51-year-old insurance comptroller says her collection of trees sprouted three decades ago from a friend’s tradition of erecting a formal tree and a “kids’ tree.” Mann-Self thought she could take the concept a bit further and started amassing ornaments on her travels from Alaska and Hawaii to as far away as Italy.

“I had never, ever thought about two trees in a house before,” she says. “I started out with five, and it’s grown since then.

“I’ve got every theme you can think of,” she adds. “I’ve got trees in every nook and cranny.”

Tannenbaums tuck into bathrooms, a partridge roosts in a laundry-room pear tree and an angel tree hovers in the hallway, says Mann-Self. Beloved characters — such as Charlie Brown, Winnie the Pooh and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas — keep company with Santa Claus, who lounges in the bathtub with a drink and chocolates to melt away the season’s stress.

Gingerbread adorns the kitchen, nutcrackers march through the dining room and Christmas villages populate plant shelves. Hosting hundreds of guests at a variety of parties every year, Mann-Self says she finishes decking her house for the holidays around Halloween.

“Everybody gets into the Christmas spirit early,” she says of visitors to the triple-wide manufactured home she shares with husband Steve Self.

Outside, Mann-Self sticks to a “classic” display of white lights — thousands synchronized to sounds of the season. Two acres of her five-acre spread are landscaped, says Mann-Self, describing her home’s everyday interior design as a “country look.”

“Asian tribal with a western twist” awaits visitors to an east Medford home. Also on the city’s east side is a traditionally styled house full of Christmas collectibles, says Straub.

Home-tour tickets can be purchased in Medford at Essentials and the Medford Visitor Center, in Jacksonville at Country Quilts and at Judy’s Florist & Gifts in Central Point and Grants Pass.

Past tours have benefited ACCESS, Community Works’ Dunn House Shelter, Hearts With a Mission, Jackson County Relief Nursery, KidSPREE, Lions Sight and Hearing Center, Magdalene Home, Maslow Project, Sexual Assault Victim Services, Start Making a Reader Today, Rebecca Bender Ministries and Youth for Christ.

Darcey Mann-Self sits with her Coke tree, one of 22 Christmas trees at her home in Central Point. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch