On the evening of December 21st, the citizens of Origin gathered with EM Faine Morgan and EM "Buzz" Infinity for the 2nd Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes. Once everyone was equipped with a candle and had their voices all warmed up to spread Christmas cheer, the tour began! Our first stop was at Ragnarok. It was clear that this house was a must see on any evening light tour. We were met with an impressive display of Christmas trees and lights and I'm sure the owner has worked out a nice payment plan with Sosaria Power and Light to cover what must surely be a costly lighting bill. I apologize for not having any pictures to display of this lighting master piece. By the time I managed to figure out how to load the film and stopped for batteries, the decorations were down. Yours truly is convinced the pixies took them home for their own! Our next stop was at the KK Guild House where many jolly snowmen waved to us from the front. Upon entering, Buzz and I dashed immediately for the tree to see if any of the packages glittering underneath had our names on them. Buzz was convinced he found one package that he swore had his name on it and contained the Britannian Express Train Set he'd told Santa he wanted. Luckily, Santa appeared to be taking a break from his sleigh so I'm fairly certain he did not see me shake ANY of the packages! After gathering around and singing in our best Christmas voices, we next set off for the Villa of Miyo. Upon entering, we were greeted with a grand piano set near a lovely Christmas Tree. The perfect place for gathering to sing those Christmas Carols in true harmony! As we toured the house, many "oooh's" and "ahhhh's" were heard at the creative decorations. A special surprise was found whereby you stepped near the bartender and were transported to a wonderful checkboard with a statue of Medusa in the middle. But beware! Stepping near Medusa resulted in a bit of a trick as she would drop your through the floor into a fountain room with two warriors. From this room, a wonderful panda and teddy bear were clearly visible and several tried their best to figure out how to take these charming creatures home. Once I, um, I mean WE could be torn away from trying to figure out how to hug the panda bear, we set off for our next destination aptly named, Santa's Retreat. It was quickly apparent that Santa would indeed choose to retreat and unwind here from the stress of the holidays. Of course, Buzz immediately discovered the open bar and set about spreading Christmas "cheer" of the liquid variety. As the majority of citizens gathered around the bar and exclaimed over the lovely singing by the Christmas Carollers, others continued upstairs where we found Santa and Mrs. Claus making a list and checking it twice. Sure enough, in front of them was a Naughty and Nice list! Perhaps next year they may want to check it thrice because, somehow, I wound up on the Nice List! Our final stop of the evening on the Candlelight Tour of Homes was to Black Castle. As we entered the castle, we were amazed to be greeted with a beautiful band ensemble and pool table. Continuing through the castle there did not seem to be time to look at all the wonderful creations that filled this home. While the basement reflected a definite Halloween theme, as is fitting for a basement, the roof displayed a Christmas flavor complete with snowmen and red steps allowing the citizens to wander through the various levels of the upper floors. This amazing home even included a whale! With so many wonderful displays of creativity, it was hard to choose just one winner! However, after retouring the homes, snapping pictures, much discussion and an arm wrestling contest, we are pleased to announce this year's Holiday Home Decor Winner. Based on the overall reflection of a Holiday, the winner is: Santa's Retreat Thank you so very much to everyone who participated in this. You never cease to amaze us with your creativity and imagination. Buzz and I both took many notes during this tour. I have locked down a rune book at the Award House on the front steps and would encourage anyone who couldn't attend the Tour to take some time to go look at these houses. It will definitely be time well spent! At the conclusion of our Tour of Homes, I was pleased (and a little apprehensive) to be able to announce that Santa had sent a special helper along as a treat for all the good boys and girls of Origin. The helper had apparently wanted to get in on the decorations and so I held my breath and opened a gate to the location I had been provided with. We were all surprised to find that the Trammel Star Room had been covered with Christmas decorations! Santa's "Little" Helper turned out to be a very large, um, elf? After recovering from the initial shock and finding out that he did not mean to squash us all, the players formed the famous Origin Line and received a small gift from the Helper. Many shouts of Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays could be heard as yours truly seranaded the crowd with that classic Christmas favorite "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". With assurances that the Helper would be making appearances throughout the lands over the next few days, we all said goodnight and headed off. Thank you, Origin, for allowing Buzz and I to be your EM's and may Santa be very, very good to each and every one of you this year.