Lisa and Stew Pickford sit with Stryder, their Catahoula dog, in their home in Snohomish on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Pickford’s house, a Victorian home built in 1890, will be featured in this year’s 26th annual Christmas Parlor Tour hosted by The Snohomish Historical Society. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

From Santa to ‘Star Wars,’ Christmas tour home has it all

SNOHOMISH — Lisa Pickford’s Christmas motto is “Leave no surface undecorated.”

This year’s Christmas Parlor Tour will include Stew and Lisa Pickford’s house, a Victorian home built in 1890 that has become a tour favorite over the years. It was last featured in 2007.

“I love Christmas decorations, so when I run out of table room, it goes on wreathes and windows and on top of bookcases — wherever I can put something,” Pickford said.

The Snohomish Historical Society will host its 26th annual Christmas-time tour from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 11 in and around the city’s historical downtown.

The self-guided tour showcases seven private homes and three historic buildings decked out with holiday decorations, most of which are along Snohomish’s Avenue B.

“I’ve been on these tours for 25 years,” said Chris Gee, chair of the tour. “I enjoy the Christmas spirit and all the decorations. It’s really neat because every one is decorated differently.”

The Pickfords’ home has 12 Christmas trees decorated with their own themes — such as Santa, sleighs and “Star Wars” — for the holidays, including a 9-foot tree featured in the bay window adorned with Slavic and Polonaise ornaments.

It also features a slew of Christmas villages, wreathes, garlands, nutcrackers, toys and a nativity scene with Fontanini figurines.

“She’s a Christmas diehard,” Gee said of Lisa Pickford. “It’s spectacular. That house has had a lot of requests. She does a great job of decorating her home.”

Pickford has been collecting Christmas decorations for more than 45 years. Hallmark ornaments are her favorite.

She also adds one homemade ornament to her collection each year from a batch that she makes and gives to the extended family. Her designs are kept top secret until Dec. 25. She makes 15 of each ornament.

“It’s hard for me to stop,” she said with a laugh. “Because there’s so much Christmas stuff to get out now, I start a few days after Halloween.”

Her collection has become so great that she has developed a master plan to decorate for the holiday season. A detailed chart lists each decoration and where it can be found in storage.

“I have a method,” Pickford said. “My attic is set up so that certain things come out first, and then when I’m all done I can put it all back in its place, so I can find the boxes later.

“I’ve got to stop collecting soon because I’m running out of room in the attic.”

She likes to shop for holiday decorations at the Bavarian Village in Leavenworth and Value Village. She’s found most of her nutcrackers at Bartell’s.

“I just enjoy the things that are Christmas to me, which are all the different things I can put around the house and the family,” said Pickford, who has two children and six grandchildren. “The little kids love coming here.

“It’s a happy time of year. Christmas is just joyous and no stress — except for getting it all up.”

Stew and Lisa have restored two historical homes before, and have brought their restoration talents to the Hensel house, which they purchased in 2001.

Proceeds from the tour go toward Snohomish Historical Society operations and scholarships for students graduating from Snohomish’s three high schools.

The nonprofit Snohomish Historical Society was founded in 1969 to preserve and share the history of Snohomish.

The all-volunteer organization owns and operates the Blackman House Museum, Waltz Building and the Kikendall Cabin, which will be featured on the tour.

The museum is housed in a Blackman brothers home built in 1872. The three brothers owned a sawmill on the Snohomish River around that time and their family homes dominated Avenue B.

Coffee, tea and desserts will be served at the museum, 118 Ave. B, Snohomish. Christmas ornaments will also be available for purchase.

Tickets will be available at McDaniel’s Do It Center (510 Second St.), Joyworks (1002 First St.) and Annie’s On First (1122 First St.) in advance and at the Waltz Building (116 Ave. B) the day of the tour.

Tickets are $12 or $10 for seniors and children. Each ticket includes a tour map with directions to each showcased home. Visit for more information.

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; Twitter: @sarabruestle.

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