The 2010 Urban holiday tour ended yesterday after sharing a healthy dose of Christmas cheer with as many as 400 guests in four short afternoons. As an Ocala native, I am ashamed to say this was my very first time making the tour, but have heard that this Ocala treasure gets better with each passing year. Collected over the past 35 years from all over the world, I dare say Santa's very own house could not compete with this comprehensive collection of Christmas magic. It has even been said of past year's tours that Joyce's decor rivals that of the White house.
As I toured through the Urban's home, if the thousands of holiday pieces had not enthralled me and sounds of holiday music hadn't coaxed me into holiday good spirits then the smell of cookies and homemade candy would have surely pushed me over the edge. At the center of the home in the Urban's kitchen was the tour's "Cherry on Top" if you will. Homemade cookies and gourmet cupcakes decoratively packaged, ready to purchase for gift giving and Chocolate Candy being made and sampled before my very eyes. The baked goods were offered for sale by my favorite cupcake baker, Mackenzie DeHart of Kupkeyk, who is currently raising money to finance a mission trip to Haiti.
But above and beyond the simple fact that Joyce and her husband, Dr. Paul Urban open their home to the public each year, is the greater good they give back to the community. The thing that makes this event an Ocala treasure is the monies raised from the entrance fee do not go to add another Santa to the shelf or star on the tree. The Urban family have lived, worked and raised a family in Ocala and believe in giving back to their community. Proceeds from the tickets benefited;
- Tony and Tracey Herrera, former Ocala residents, now serving the people of Haiti with Harvest International.
- Cornerstone School
- Central Florida College
- The Counseling and Resource Center