he Victoria Mansion Christmas Gala on Nov. 30 was the grand reveal of the mansion’s “A Currier and Ives Christmas” theme, with 10 rooms re-imagined based on mid-19th-century winter scenes. Selected design volunteers were invited to deck the halls – and the rooms – with interpretations of the Currier and Ives theme.

“This is the biggest response we’ve ever had to the gala,” said executive director Tom Johnson, noting that the event sold out.

“We’re so fortunate to have this in our community,” said Dan Kennedy of Harmon’s and Barton’s, who has been designing at the mansion for 25 years. His theme for the parlor, inspired by “The Skating Pond,” involved 38 pairs of figure skates and 24 top hats.

The snow theme throughout the mansion is at its most spectacular in the stair hall, where Emerald City designers used 250 feet of garland, 3,000 lights and 650 paper snowflakes “falling” from the ceiling.

“I love the simplicity of the white,” said patron Lonnie Leeman of Gray.

First-year designer Karen Cole, a paralegal by day who is starting a design company under the name KD Cole in her off hours, decked out the green bedroom.

“I have always been in awe of the incredible transformations that the designers bring to their rooms, and I’ve secretly dreamed of the day when I might be able to become part of the team,” Cole said. “My husband and I rented a small U-Haul and brought the mannequin trees, wreaths and many other items. We were greeted so warmly by the other designers and the mansion staff, who made the hours of decorating a very fun experience.”

“I love the changing themes,” said trustee Sue Sturtevant of Portland. “I think in today’s world we need a little nostalgia for peaceful and cheerful times, and that’s what I think ‘Currier and Ives’ does.”

“That’s why I work here, because I can’t get enough of it,” said docent Annemarie Loffeld of South Portland.

Victoria Mansion will be decked out for the holidays through Jan. 8, closing only for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]