The double doors of the William and Cindy Gasper home on Circle Drive in Palmerton, are a welcoming Christmas red, all year round. All they need to add for the holidays are the two big decorated evergreen wreaths that proclaim the Christmas season.
The Gasper home was the newest home on the Palmerton Concourse Club's Christmas House tour.
Originally, a stone Tudor-style mansion had been built on the site in 1910. It had been destroyed and the present 14-room French Provincial-style home was built in 1970. Some of the original stone from the mansion remains in the walls and can be seen in the landscaping around the Gasper home.
A painting of the original home hangs on a wall in the dinning room, done by local artist Mary Kocher. There are many other paintings gracing the Gasper home's walls by Mary, and Jeannie Stemler and the Gaspers' daughter, Jessica.
Jessica's artwork is featured throughout the home. She is a graphic arts/commercial design senior at Kutztown University, who plans on earning her teacher's degree in art education. One of Cindy's favorite's is a scene of people ice skating at Memorial Park, which hangs over the mantle in the family room. And as an added gift to all visitors on the tour, Cindy handed each a print of Jessica's painting of the old Palm Theater.
Cindy, a medical transcriptionist, says she doesn't lavishly decorate for Christmas but enjoys a traditional look, with decorated greenery throughout and things displayed that are nostalgic.
A prominent feature in the living room is the Gaspers' Dept. 56' North Pole collection village featuring a pond with ice skaters.
"I wanted that because we did a lot of ice skating as kids," says Cindy of her five siblings.
In the corner of the living room is a beautifully decorated old fashioned Christmas tree with ornaments near and dear to the family. Spiraling red, green and white ribbons add a touch of a festive air.
"I got the idea from a Mardi Gras party we attended and I thought the curly ribbon would be great trimmings for the tree," says Cindy.
On the kitchen island counter is a ceramic Gingerbread House all aglow with a lighted candle inside that gives off the aroma of Christmas.
For the tour, Cindy set the dining room table as she would if expecting dinner guests, complete with her good china, glassware, silverware, red satin napkins tied with gold ribbon and a golden poinsettia centerpiece. There are little wrapped presents at each place setting and the table is strewn with chunks of glittering make-believe ice. A three-tier server holds three delicious looking pies that are actually scented candles. The large brass chandelier hanging above the table is believed to come from Hess's Department Store and an antique table in the corner had once been in the Harry Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe.
The Gaspers' three daughters, Jade, 25, Jessica, 23 and Keira, 12, loved the dining room table setting so much they told Cindy she should keep it like that all the time.
A beautiful ceramic Nativity set graces a shelf in the family room. Cindy painted it herself.
In a place of honor are an old cloth Santa and a couple sheep that had belonged to her grandmother. The items were purchased in a street market in Germany around 1840.
Cindy's both parents passed away several years ago. She felt so strongly about continuing the tradition of a Christmas family get-together that she and William have hosted Christmas Day in their home ever since.
"We usually have at least 50 people here. It's loud, noisy, and a wonderful day. I love it," says Cindy.