5. Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Crossing, Grand Island, Nebraska
Crossing the country to Grand Island, Nebraska we head to Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer for number 5. This 19th-century museum forever embraces the life of the Pioneers who called the central plains home. Come to Railroad Town and visit homes and businesses housed in original structures moved to the town. Christmas Past and Present happens December 3, 9, and 10th from 6-9 and on December 11th from 2-5.
Admission is $7.00 for all, except children 2 and under are free. The historic homes and businesses are open and dressed for the holidays in 1890. Live music can be heard at the church and around town, make tinsicle at the Tinsmith Shop, check out the Mercantile, make a paper ring chain to take home, create a wooden train car or meet Father Christmas. If you need to shop, the Prairie Treasures Gift Shop has lots to offer, many items from Nebraska.
4. Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Coming back across the country to western Massachusetts we find ourselves at number 4, Old Sturbridge Village for Christmas by Candlelight. Set in the 1830’s, in a rural village with water-powered mills and a working farm, Sturbridge Village is another fantastic living museum. Christmas by Candlelight offers live music, dancing, gingerbread, roasted chestnuts (which are delicious), storytelling, festive food, bonfires, and sleigh rides. Picture costumed figures winding their way through the lighted village square with lanterns and all sharing explanations of their holiday traditions such as roasting chestnuts, Yule logs, and mistletoe.
Enjoy demonstrations of period gingerbread baking, cider mulling, tin making, pottery and 19th-century printing. There will be Victorian carolers, Nativity scenes and puppet and magic shows. Mrs. Claus has a bake shop, kids can join the holiday craft workshop, and watch the nightly tree lighting. Santa will be there. There is so much more to enjoy in this quaint 1830’s town. The event is held on December 2-4, 9-11, 16-18 and 23rd from 3-9pm.
3. Old World Wisconsin, Eagle, Wisconsin
Destination number 3 is Old World Wisconsin near Eagle and the Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison triangle. This 19th-century crossroads museum offers insight into life in Wisconsin. There are about seven areas featuring settlements typical of immigrants at that time with 10 ethnic farmsteads from various cultures such as African American, Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Polish, and a Yankee Village that also contains non-Yankee buildings to demonstrate the integration of other cultures.
Old World Christmas happens on December 3rd and 4th from 10-4 hosting full day historical Christmas stories, customs from the 1800’s, live performances featuring characters representing the immigrants from the past, horse-drawn sleigh (or wagon) rides, caroling and hymn sings, and food sampling. The village is done up for the season with bonfires and woodstoves blazing. Hear from people who have come to Wisconsin from around the world and what their traditions are. Santa is dressed as expected for the times.
Beware, Krampus may be lurking. Not sure who that is, then you need to head over to find out. Enjoy the Finnish sauna. Start with the Old World Breakfast (which also gives you a break on your ticket). Adults pay $10.00, youth 5-17 pay $7.00 and under 4 are free. Purchase breakfast and get 20% off your ticket.