WESTMINSTER — If you're looking for some Christmas spirit, holiday decorating ideas, or just some relaxation from the hustle and bustle of the season, look no farther than the Carroll County Farm Museum.
The 19th-century farm will open its doors Saturday for its annual Christmas tour, this year based on Clement C. Moore's 1822 classic, "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
"This is sort of everybody's fantasy (about) what you're going toget for Christmas," said Dottie Freeman, Farm Museum administrative assistant. "But we'll leave some things to the imagination."
The story opens outside the mansion, where St. Nicholas' sleigh will be parked. Inside, the stockings will be hung by the fireplace.
"The Christmas tree is huge, floor-to-ceiling, with packages piled around itto fulfill your every wish," Freeman said.
Mamma and Papa can be seen in the master bedroom listening for St. Nick's arrival while thechildren sleep peacefully in their rooms.
"The children won't be real, but we're trying to get volunteers to stand in the master bedroom as Momma and Papa," Freeman said.
A Christmas tea will be set for St. Nicholas, and in the kitchen and dining room, preparations areunder way for the holiday dinner.
Special displays around the mansion will include a variety of items loaned to the Farm Museum for the nine-day tour. Countians Oden and Gail Kemp and J. W. Schaeffer have offered their collections of snow babies.
Happy Hollow Gift Shopis lending a giant dollhouse, as is Jean Scott, the museum's programcoordinator. Allan Passman of Finksburg has provided a train exhibit, and Heinz Bakery, a gingerbread house.
The winners of the Farm Museum's handmade doll contest also will be on display, showcased as "Doll Mania."
The story continues inside other Farm Museum buildings.
"We're housing St. Nicholas in the broom house this year, whichwill be a nice place for the children to visit him," Freeman said.
The jolly man in the red suit will be on the premises noon-2 p.m. daily and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday during the tour.
In the summer kitchen, watch as Susan Koch designs the magical gingerbread house. Kits to make your own will be on sale. Then stop in the general store for your gift shopping.
You may be hungry by now, so have lunch in the bake oven room, courtesy of the ladies of St. Mary's United Church of Christ.
If you come on the weekend, you can enjoy a wagon ride around the Farm Museum grounds.
"We're hoping to get someChristmas carolers to lend to the spirit of the Farm Museum Christmas," Freeman said.
Don't forget to go back in the mansion for your poinsettia, where different varieties and sizes will be for sale.
For a different view of the Farm Museum, take the tour one evening. Come up the driveway, lighted by luminaria, and see the mansion awash in night light.
"It should be gorgeous -- just like a winter wonderland," Freeman said. "Some snow would be nice."
The Farm Museum is open for the 1991 tour 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily Saturday through Dec. 8, and until 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for children 6-18 and seniors 60 and over; free if under 6 with an adult.
Information: 848-7775 or 876-4645.