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If you love historic houses and you’re in a holiday kind of mood, see if a historic
house museum near you is decorated, vintage-style, for the holidays. You’ll get a
feel for Christmases before plastic tinsel and the crazy Target lady.
Run a web search or check the events section in your newspaper for events at museums
near you, or tours of private homes. You also can browse the historic house museums
in the MuseumsUSA
directory. I did a little Web surfing, and my personal jet, if I had one, would
fly me to these holiday houses:
Meade Plantation, Nashville Tenn. A Century of Christmas: 1853-1953, shows how
Christmas celebrations here evolved from fresh greens and a simply decorated tree
in 1853 to 20th-century electric tree lights and characters.
Glessner and Clarke
House Museums, Chicago. Two museums display different aspects of holiday celebrations.
Clarke House exemplifies emerging holiday customs of the 1850s with simple decorations,
and more elaborate decor at Glessner House reflects the growing interest in the celebration
Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee. This
beer baron’s mansion features a nationally recognized Christmas display representing
America’s Gilded Age.
House Museum, Battle Creek, Mich. A lovely Victorian house museum features lavish
House, Charleston, SC. This home re-creates the Victorian Age in its holiday decor.
House, Toronto. This row house belonging to Toronto’s first mayor is decorated
in holiday greenery.
at Arlington, Birmingham, Ala. Flowers transform this Antebellum home, built by
one of Birmingham’s founders, into replicas of Christmas past.
A Christmas Story House,
Cleveland. So this isn’t exactly pre-outdoor electric lights, but it’s definitely
nostalgic for those who remember Ralphie’s quest for an air rifle and Randy’s immobilizing
snowsuit. You can tour the house where much of the 1983 movie was filmed and and get
your own version of the Old Man’s leg lamp.