ALAMEDA -- If you need a break from shopping, baking and other activities, the Alameda Family Services League hopes you'll join its 42nd annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 8.
The event, which benefits Alameda Family Services, will include a gift boutique and gourmet shop, as well as entry to five well-decorated Island residences.
"We are spanning everything from the Victorian era to Mid-Century, including a beach house," said Winkie Campbell-Notar, a volunteer and public relations coordinator for the Alameda Family Services League. "There's almost a century's worth of different architecture in the tour, with lots of different styles and features. People should really enjoy them."
The theme of this year's tour is "42 Years of Holiday Magic." Tickets for the Dec. 8 event range from $35 to $40, and guests can visit all five homes on the tour, four of which are within walking distance of each other, according to Campbell-Notar. They can all enjoy tea, cookies and music at the First Presbyterian Church from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The gift boutique, which will be based at the Alameda Elks Lodge, is open to the public without charge. Baked goods, candies and specialty food items also will be sold at the lodge in the event's gourmet shop.
"It's an eclectic group of homes," Campbell-Notar said. "One home has been completely remodeled to take advantage of its Bay View and deck. It's fantastic!"
There's also a home built near the lagoon "that's relatively untouched except for a modernized kitchen," she said. "It used to be a ballroom and party house that was part of a larger Spanish Revival residence."
Another home set on the lagoon "exudes light and serenity," she says, and includes a "wonderful Asian art collection."
In addition, the tour includes a Craftsman, built around 1910.
"Its owners have maintained the feeling of the house beautifully and it looks like a classic Craftsman," explained Campbell-Notar, "with some original built-ins that include mirrored and leaded glass in the dining-room buffet."
The final home on the tour is a Victorian cottage.
"The owner keeps it quaint, and it will be really decorated for holidays," she said.
Members of the Alameda Family Services League encourage community members to stop by the holiday boutique and gourmet shop. They also hope that -- as in past years -- 500 Alamedans or more will join the home tour, which includes a shuttle-bus service.
"The boutique will have gift certificates from all over town featuring premium wine, dog-grooming services and a whole lot more," Campbell-Notar said. "We'll also have a silent auction and gourmet shop at the Elks Lodge, which are open to the public."
The mission of Alameda Family Services is "to improve the emotional, psychological and physical health of children, youth and families" at its central Alameda and new facility at Island/BASE High School. Its programs serve several hundred families each year and include Head Start and Early Head Start.
AFS also provides child development and family support services, free medical and mental health services, youth development and health education at school-based health centers, an emergency shelter and support center for runaway, exploited and homeless youth, drug and alcohol treatment for adolescents and adults, and individual, group and family low- or no-fee counseling.
What: Alameda Holiday Home Tour
When: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Dec. 8
Where: Alameda Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Ave.
Cost: Entry to the gift boutique and gourmet shop is free; tickets for the home tour and dessert tea range from $35-$40 and benefit Alameda Family Services.
Information: 510-629-6208 or www.alamedaholidayhometour.info