‘Tis the season for touring the historic Moss Mansion in Billings, gleaming with holiday spirit and 15 Christmas trees, one in each room of the house. Each tree is decorated with the “Wild About Christmas” theme in mind. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite trees; “People’s Choice” and “Best of Show” winners get $150 to donate to their charity of choice.
Among this year’s imaginative offerings:
“Have a ‘Pheasant’ Holiday” tree, located in the library and decorated by Travis and Geri Heringer and family; a flamingo-themed tree, located in the girls’ room and decorated by the United Way of Yellowstone County; “Wild About Sea Turtles” tree, located in the sitting room and decorated by the Northern Hotel; a fox-themed tree, located in the music room and decorated by the Junior League of Billings; and a tree adorned with farm animals, located in the master bedroom and decorated by Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.
“Wild and Woolly,” located in the dining room, was decorated by volunteers from Montana Agri-Women, a non-profit that promotes education and communication for Montana women in all aspects of agriculture; and the kitchen is home to “A Very Beary Christmas,” decorated by A Christmas to Remember, a nonprofit that works to ensure every child enjoys the celebration of Christmas. The Pollinator Tree is appropriately tucked in the conservatory and was decorated by Thumb-R-Green Garden Club.
The swan-themed tree, located in the French Parlor and decorated by the Moss Mansion staff, is the only tree on display at the mansion that guests are unable to vote for (to keep the competition fair).
The pressed-paper holiday village that emerges this time of year was one of John Jr.’s favorite items and has been preserved in the family’s collection of personal heirlooms since the small boy’s death in March of 1932 at age 7. The Moss staff credits “the care and gentle work of devoted volunteers” with making the delicate village available to the public each holiday season.
The mansion offers self-paced holiday tours from noon-3 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays and Sundays, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 7, with guided tours available at 1 p.m. Saturdays ($20 per person; free for children 5 and under). Special evening tours are on tap from 5-8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, through Dec. 30.
Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for senior, military and students and free for 5 and under. Call 406-256-5100 or visit mossmansion.com.