Victorian Holiday Traditions and Christmas Decorations Abound at David Davis Mansion
New Christmas traditions come along every year, but as time passes we seem to end up losing a part of the old traditions our grandparents truly loved. This year, during Christmas at the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site in Bloomington, visitors can journey back in time to discover how Victorian children (and adults) celebrated the magic of an old-fashioned Christmas.
At the David Davis Mansion this year, one room will be newly decorated with naturalistic elements – outdoor greenery, along with ornaments representing animals, birds, pinecones and walnuts – as a backdrop for a visit from St. Nicholas. On the second weekend in December, a Victorian Santa will be seated in this room, where children can have their pictures taken by their parents and whisper their Christmas wishes in Santa’s ear.
In another room, a new and spectacular arrangement of vintage dolls (from the 1850s-1918) will show visitors the old fashioned dolls Victorian-era girls played with in an era before the advent of Barbie, Cabbage Patch, and the American Girl. A third room will also be newly decorated this year, premiering a very different display of a nativity scene – or putz village – that was a part of a 19th century family Christmas.
The rest of the house will also be decorated with the sights, sounds and wonderful aromas of other, old-fashioned Christmas traditions: A blazing fire, roasting chestnuts, and Santa’s unwrapped gifts under the tree; games, theatricals, and parlor dancing; mince pies, plum pudding, roasted turkey, and a wassail bowl for the family dinner; popcorn garlands and candy canes for a child’s tree; Tuck Christmas cards, toys, and teddy bears; feather trees, holly sprigs and mistletoe everywhere; and, gingerbread houses, Christmas cookies, and charity baskets for the poor.
The impact of Charles Dickens’s stories on the creation of an old-fashioned Christmas in the 19th century will also be featured this year. Exhibits in several rooms will show how Dickens novellas shaped the Victorian Christmas. Visitors will discover what A Christmas Carol meant to America in the 1870s and especially to David Davis and his family.
The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site will be open for its holiday tours – “Christmas at Clover Lawn” – from November 29th through December 28th in Bloomington. Tour hours are 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. The site will be closed Sundays through Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
|Event Date||11-29-2019 9:00 am|
|Event End Date||12-28-2019 3:30 pm|
Mark your calendars for the 2019 “Christmas At the Mansions” event in Bloomington on Saturday, December 7, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at two of Illinois’ most beautiful historic homes.
This year, this self-driving event will include special holiday tours of the historic David Davis Mansion, home of Judge David Davis, his wife Sarah and their family as they celebrate “An Old-Fashioned Christmas", and the stately Ewing Manor as part of the “Christmas at the Mansions” event in which both homes will be elegantly decorated for Christmas.
Tour tickets may be purchased in advance for $15.00 at the David Davis Mansion Visitors Center, Casey’s Garden Center, The Garlic Press, HyVee, or either Schnucks location in Bloomington-Normal. Tickets may also be purchased for $16.00 online at www.christmasatthemansions.com. Tickets purchased on the day of the event on December 7 will be $18.00, cash or check, and will only be available at the David Davis Mansion. Tickets are available only until sold out and are not refundable.
Visitors may tour the two mansions at any time between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and may begin their tour at either site if tickets are already in hand. Parking will be available at the David Davis Mansion and at the St. John’s Lutheran Church parking lot across the street from Ewing Manor.
The annual “Christmas at the Mansions” event has become a traditional holiday kickoff for families and friends from throughout central Illinois.
Event proceeds benefit the Preservation and Educational programs of the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site and Ewing Manor. Both are supported by 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations.
|Event Date||12-07-2019 2:00 pm|
|Event End Date||12-07-2019 7:00 pm|
|Ticket Sales Start Date||11-01-2019 1:00 am|
|Cut off date||12-05-2019 11:55 pm|