DECORATING THE DEN? Or the living room or the patio or the front walkway? People understandably put a lot of care and consideration into what baubles and gewgaws and figurines and wreaths and strings of bulbs they place, and where they place them. Even a balcony that's on the more intimate side, size-wise, can challenge the creatively minded holiday fan, when it comes to including a pot of poinsettias or some tinsel strands or a bit of both. Now just imagine facing a much larger canvas, one that's as big as, oh, Hearst Castle. This is no hypothetical we're suggesting here; the San Simeon structure is grandly festooned each holiday season, and how it comes together so tremendously, with such domestic dazzle, is a wonder. Cheers to the team behind the landmark, and cheers to those holiday mavens and history buffs who make the trek up The Enchanted Hill each November and December to see what some grand spaces look like in their firs and lights.
THE 2017 DATES... for the Holiday Twilight Tour, which will take the place of the castle's usual Evening Tour over several nights, are live, and "(r)eservations are strongly encouraged." There are two November strolls, on Nov. 24 and 25, and several from Dec. 16 through the 30th (if you surmised that the tours would take Christmas Eve and Christmas off, you'd be correct). A ticket? It's $30 for an adult, $15 for a child from ages 5 to 12, and there's a service fee, too. As for the rooms you'll peek at during this magical, once-a-year, castle-riffic splendor? "House A (Casa del-Mar), the grand social rooms of Casa Grande, the Kitchen, Theater, Neptune Pool, Roman Pool, and the gardens." Those of us without castle-large abodes still face the delightful challenges of displaying our holiday treasures just so, and the rewards of our design choices still shine as brightly as any large manse. But peeking at a place of history and sweep with its over-sized trees and massive boughs is also an interesting pursuit, one that might even inspire our own ornament-hanging, tinsel-draping choices in the years to come.