There’s a saying among committees: If you suggest an idea, be prepared to take ownership of it. Ann Dunbar learned that lesson when she was brainstorming with her fellow parishioners at St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights about fundraisers to help rebuild their church which was destroyed by fire last April.

Dunbar mentioned that she and other ladies enjoy going to the semi-annual Whittier Home Tour where they get to view magnificent homes all decked out for the season. Msgr. Tim Nichols, her pastor, wasn’t too sure that such a tour would be attractive as a fundraiser (“These tours really are women-centric” acknowledges Dunbar), but he finally agreed and appointed --- of course --- Dunbar to head up a committee to organize the first ever St. John Vianney Home Tour.

“Well, that’s what I get,” she says with a laugh. “But I think it’s going to be a great event. We have sold a lot of tickets so far and there is quite a buzz about it.”

Slated for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, the Home Tour involves four area homes, three showcasing festive Yuletide décor and one “hospitality house,” the Gorgone home, where homemade items (jams, jellies, gifts baskets, knitted scarves and other goodies) will be for sale. 

Three homes on the tour are located in Hacienda Heights and one in the nearby Friendly Hills section of Whittier. All homes are owned by parishioners or friends of St. John Vianney.

Mrs. Cecilia Sanchez, for example, lives in Friendly Hills and while she isn’t a parishioner, “she used to attend 5:15 a.m. daily Mass at St. John,” says Dunbar. “When she heard we were doing the Home Tour, she immediately offered her home.”

The Sanchez home is located on an acre property and every year has professionally-installed lighting gracing the estate.

Down the road in Hacienda Heights, the Altman home has been attracting passersby at holiday time for years with its traditional Santa’s Village motif. “It’s done very tastefully and everyone wants to explore that house,” says Dunbar. 

Finally, there is Dunbar’s home which she and husband Ron will be opening to the public. “We both love decorating the house for the holidays --- and we may go a bit overboard,” she admits. The tradition started when their kids were growing up and now has extended to decorating for the grandkids.

This year, Dunbar plans on a nostalgia theme that will include a gingerbread kitchen, an elegant dining room and an aluminum Christmas tree from the 1950s. “My husband sets up the train around one of our three trees and we let the little ones decorate the tree in the family room,” she says about the holiday tradition. 

Most importantly, she adds, “We make sure that they realize that all of this helps us remember that Jesus came to us, that we celebrate his birth. Christmas is a time to give and remember all the things that have been given to us.”

The 2011 Home Tour to support the rebuilding of St. John Vianney Church will be held Dec. 2, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets are $30; for more information, call Ann Dunbar, (626) 336-9514.

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