For 12 days starting Dec. 5, the Carroll County Farm Museum is offering a holiday tour of the farmhouse and grounds decorated in the "12 Days of Christmas" theme.
"I'm always telling people you have to come out here and see Christmas," said Farm Museum volunteer Lynn Rosenthal, of Upperco.
This year's theme gives the farmhouse a touch of whimsy, and visitors can have fun at trying to spot all of the items listed in the carol that are displayed throughout the house.
"I tried to hide them because I want the kids to really have to look for them," Rosenthal said of the pipes, or flutes, the 11 pipers would be piping in the song.
Each of the six main rooms on the first floor of the farmhouse features two days of the 12-day song, starting in the parlor and ending in the kitchen.
"We have to make all the doves and the partridges and the pears because we don't have anything like that," said Sue Molare, a staff member at the Farm Museum. "It took a lot of time."
The Farm Museum's regular hours ended on Oct. 31, she said, so set up for the holiday tour began Nov. 1. Molare said she worked on the parlor with friend and volunteer Sylvia Bellak, of New Windsor, as well as the hallway and staircase.
Joanna Peregoy, of Woodbine, said she got her room assignment of the master bedroom in mid-October, and has been working on it casually since then. During the planning time, she and other volunteers searched for specific details they wanted to have in the room from the Farm Museum's storage area, in dollar stores, on the Internet and even in their own homes, she said.
"We had a hard time finding the geese," she said of the "six geese a-laying" she wanted to feature, along with the "five golden rings."
Peregoy ended up finding some geese in wreath-shaped Christmas ornaments, which she supplemented with ceramic geese ornaments on the small tree in the master bedroom. She also found some napkin rings with geese on them, and had a fabric stuffed animal goose donated to use
For the five golden rings, Peregoy found strands of golden beads that she formed into rings to hang on the tree, giving the tree some extra sparkle.
Debbie Hann, of Manchester, said she learned some interesting history about the song while doing research for her room, the study.
"I'm starting to think most of these things were things that were going to be eaten instead of just kept around," she said.
What we sing as "four calling birds" were originally "four colling birds," she said, or blackbirds - which a nursery rhyme tells us were "baked in a pie."
Hann said she found some beautiful paisley-esque Christmas fabric on sale at the fabric store that reminded her of bird tail feathers and decided to use that to make little stuffed birds for the room.
"It just kind of comes to you, you just have to have an open mind," she said. "I love making things, it's just my thing."
Hann said she started volunteering at the Farm Museum about five years ago. Before that, she was involved in the Civil War reenactment community, she said, but due to her health, was unable to participate in some of the overnight camp outs. Not wanting to hang up her period attire for good, Hann started volunteering at the Farm Museum, where she now dons her "gay apparel" as a tour guide at the museum.
Rosenthal said she also enjoys the creative aspect of decorating the Farm Museum with the annually changing Christmas theme.
Some of her favorite years have been "It's a Wonderful Life Mr. Scrooge," based on Charles Dickens' novel "A Christmas Carol," and the Victorian storybook theme.
"I love it every year - I just love to spend a few months thinking about what we're going to do," she said.
While most years the Farm Museum holiday tour has been open for just two weekends in December, this year the schedule was amended to allow 12 consecutive days to go with the "12 Days of Christmas" theme, which they are hoping will draw more people to come visit the museum.
"I wish more people would come," Rosenthal said. "I'd like more people to enjoy it."