Hunting for Christmas Past
Starlit skies and candlelit paths, no cars, fresh air, wreaths and garland made with local greens and fruit in doorways and on window sills. The smell of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and a wood fire fill the air. Town folk dressed in period attire walk past. Some stop, chat and provide insight into how Christmas was celebrated hundreds of years ago and how it has evolved in America. Learning the ways in which our forefathers and mothers kept the season helps to root the past into the present. Perspective is gained. The past comes to life before our eyes. What could have been hours spent at a hot, stuffy, crowded mall has become enlightening, interesting and spirit-renewing.
Our mission during the lead up to Christmas is to wander through the streets of days gone by in search of fun and respite. There are many living museums across the country representing different time periods and living situations in the United States. These wonderful tableaux provide a view into our history and a place to pause. We have walked the paths of a select few in search of Christmas past. Come with us and find your holiday spirit.
10. Stone Mountain Antebellum Plantation, Stone Mountain, Georgia and Christmas in Backcountry, Living History Park, North Augusta, South Carolina
Two places fall in the Tenth spot, Stone Mountain Antebellum Plantation, and Christmas in Backcountry at Living History Park in North Augusta, South Carolina. Stone Mountain Park is located in Stone Mountain, Georgia. You can stroll the pre-Civil War plantation, learning about life before the war. Homespun Christmas offers visitors a chance to make ornaments from local products, make Christmas cards and toys, learn about holiday cooking, and hear about the impact of the war on local life.
Homespun Christmas is open December 6-7, 12-14, and 19-31 from 1-4pm. Stone Mountain also has a more modern, but no less wonderful and glittery experience for the little ones. Tickets are $26.95 for adults and $20.95 for children (3-11). Tickets cover the whole experience so enjoy the gracious and lovely plantation life of the South and the modern celebration lit with millions of lights if you choose.
Christmas in Backcountry happens on Saturday, November 26th from 10-4 and is free. This event is a celebration of our colonial past presenting traditions from many cultural communities. Father Christmas will be there to share Christmas spirit with visitors. The historic buildings will be open and the day is centered on the joy of the gathering rather than the giving. A party will be hosted on the December 3rd to create ornaments for birds to snack on throughout the year. Participants are asked to bring oranges, apples, peanut butter and food for pet adoption centers if you can. But come and share cookies and cider, let the kids enjoy story time while joining in on a fun and festive tradition.
9. Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, Kansas
Number 9 is Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, KS. Old Cowtown is a town of relocated and recreated buildings from 1860-1870 featuring period furnishings, dress, life, tools, farming, and machinery. On December 2, 3, 9 and 10 the town comes alive with a Victorian Christmas celebration. String popcorn, find Santa working hard in his workshop, hear carolers singing songs of the season, sample cocoa and cookies, shop or take a wagon ride.
Tickets start at $7.75 for adults, $6.50 for 62 and over, $6.00 for youth 12-17, $5.50 for children 4-11 and those under 4 are free. You could start your day with Breakfast with Santa. He arrives by stagecoach in Cowtown. While waiting, there are crafts to keep people busy, or send a telegram to the North Pole! Tickets for breakfast are $12.95 for 16 and older, and $7.95 for ages 4-15. Tickets have to be purchased in advance.