Though Sunday's warmer weather made it feel a bit like early fall, inside several historical Quad-Cities homes, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Hundreds of people toured the Hauberg Civic Center in Rock Island; the Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman house in Moline during the homes' holiday open houses.
The three were decorated to the nines with several Christmas trees, lights and beautiful garlands, and they were filled with warmth, laughter and the smell of cinnamon and cookies.
Attendees enjoyed tours; short history lessons; punch, cookies and other treats; carriage rides; kids' crafts, music and more.
"I got a picture with Santa," said Bryce Lowry, 8, of Rock Island, who colored at Hauberg with his mom, Erica; brother, Drake, 11; and grandmother, Kim Block.
The family said it was their first trip to the Center, and they were enjoying a scavenger hunt and coloring.
Bryce said the dining room was his favorite in the house -- "because it has candy!"
His grandmother said she has been to the event several times and enjoys it every year.
"This is a beautiful home to tour," she said. "I love it. I love this house."
Not far from the kids' craft room where Bryce and his family colored was a larger room with a piano where a girl sang and a boy played. Santa happily waited in the room, greeting several smiling children while their parents took photos.
John and Allanette Mueller, of Rock Island, brought their granddaughter, Delanie Franklin, 5, to the event on Sunday.
"We have wanted to do this for years," Ms. Mueller said.
The sights and the scavenger hunt were great, she said. "I think it's wonderful, and the people are cheerful."
Delanie added she enjoyed the snowflake cookies.
Across the Quad-Cities, Ruben Guerrero, of Moline, wandered the dining room of the Deere-Wiman house with his sister, Mae Ashcraft, of Geneseo. Mr. Guerrero said he was along because his sister invited him, but he enjoyed seeing all of the woodwork, the carpets and the workmanship of the home.
"I can't imagine people lived like that," Ms. Ashcraft said.
Their sister, Dee Ziegler, of Hampton, came into the room and her eyes scanned its features. She said she has attended the open house and visited it many other times over the past several years, and "I still never get tired of coming to see it."
Homes now just aren't built the way they were then, with all of the granite, marble and woodwork. "I wish I lived in the times (when the Deere family) were holding parties," she said, smiling and glancing around the room.
While she has visited the house during all seasons over the years, coming to the annual open house is a "tradition," she said."It starts off the holidays and gets you in the mood."
The dining room table was set at the Deere-Wiman house, complete with sample Christmas Dinner menus from 1896.
A band played Christmas music in a nearby room, and a crowd gathered to listen.
Down the driveway and across the street from the house, the Moline Boys Choir just finished its performance at the Butterworth Center.
Several red-jacketed boys and their families scattered throughout the house, enjoying punch and cookies and admiring the home's intricate features and holiday decor.
Moline Boys Choir member Jack Obert, 12, of Bettendorf, said his favorite part of visiting the house was seeing the "architecture of it and how it's shaped."
He and his brother, Alex, 11, had just finished performing, and they were enjoying cookies and punch with their parents, Andrea and Michael.
"This is my favorite show," Ms. Obert said of all of the Boys Choir performances. "It's a beautiful building," she said. It's "festive."
Mr. Obert said being in the home gave him an "old-fashioned Christmas feeling."
His family agreed.
The Butterworth Center "is nothing like the homes we live in today," Ms. Obert said.
The family said they hadn't attended the homes' open houses before the boys performed there, but now that they've had a taste for it, they know it's something they will continue, Ms. Obert said.
"(We'll) add this to our (holiday) family events."
Today is Thursday, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2013. There are 19 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Two boys who haul coal from Coal Valley to Davenport were arrested yesterday for running their teams through the city street at a furious rate. 1888 -- 125 years ago: E.H. Barker dislocated his left wrist and suffered a compound fracture of the right wrist when he fell from the roof of his icehouse. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Lou Harris was elected county superintendent of schools to fill the unexpired term of the late S.J. Ferguson. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a state must give equality in educational privileges to white and Negro law students. 1963 -- 50 years ago: About 300 employees of the Augustana Book Concern, staff members of the Board of Publication of the Lutheran Church in America, as well as friends of the community and out-of-town guests honored Dr. Birger Swenson at the annual Christmas dinner of the Augustana Book Concern last night in Westerlin Hall on the Augustana College campus. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The Christmas shopping season began early this year and continues to bring out shoppers in record numbers, according to Quad-Cities retailers interviewed today.