Cranbrook decks the halls for new holiday fundraiser

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 25, 2015

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — For 40 years, the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary has kicked off the holidays with its famed Holiday Tables event, with a variety of elaborately adorned tablescapes displayed throughout the historic Booth home.

But the group decided that such a milestone anniversary can’t be observed with the same old celebration. That’s why this year the auxiliary will present for the first time Holiday Splendor: Tinsel and Trees.

The new fundraiser will feature a dozen uniquely decorated artificial Christmas trees and other holiday décor, set in the enchanting Cranbrook House for three weekends through mid-December. Auxiliary member Randy Forester said he thinks the trees will attract a broader crowd to the annual event.

“We thought we needed something fresh, and we thought that trees would give people new ideas as far as decorating in their own home,” he said. “We think this will be a little more family-oriented and appeal to a larger audience — not just ladies, but men, families, young people.”

Forester said that individuals and companies were invited to create trees for the collection. He described one of the displays, created by Delmarie LaGrasso and her friend Cate Nelson, called “Toy Land.”

“Delmarie raised her kids in the mid-’80s and early ’90s. She was a busy working mom with General Motors, and they did a lot of fast food dining. She saved the little toys that McDonald’s and Burger King gave away and she put them on this tree. There must be 150 of them on there,” he said.

He said he is excited about a tree created by Allen Gorgas, of Castlerock Landscaping in Dexter, called “The 12 Days of Christmas,” which is decorated with hundreds of Christopher Radko ornaments. It’s the auxiliary’s hope that every year, designers will present a tree that guests have never seen before.

Visitors can enjoy the trees noon-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 13, or they can attend one of the special events planned to coincide with the display.

“Guests will experience the full charm of our historic manor home during a buffet tea on Dec. 3 and cocktail party on Dec. 4,” Cranbrook House and Gardens Public Relations Coordinator Eric Franchy said in an email. “Still a kid at heart, I’m looking forward to flying our guest of honor back in from the North Pole on Dec. 5 for our Santa Sighting.”

During all of the tree viewings, the Thistle Gift Shop inside the estate will be open for guests to purchase a keepsake for themselves or get a start on holiday shopping.

As always, the proceeds from the fundraiser will support the auxiliary and its nonprofit work.

“It’s always to raise money. We’re always trying to raise money to preserve and restore Cranbrook House and its historic gardens for future generations to share,” Forester said.

General admission tickets for Holiday Splendor: Tinsel and Trees cost $15 per person in advance and $20 at the door. Public viewing will be noon-4 p.m. Nov. 28-Dec. 13.

Tickets for the Holiday Tea, which will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 3, cost $60 per person. Tickets for the Holiday Cocktail Party, set for 6-9 p.m. Dec. 4, cost $125 per person. Advance registration for those events is required.

Admission to the Santa Sighting, to be held 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 5, cost $20 per adult and $10 per child 10 and younger. Advance registration is encouraged for that event. For more information on all these events, call the auxiliary at (248) 645-3149 or visit housegar

The Cranbrook House and Gardens are located at 380 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Hills.