Sam Bell Maxey House Christmas

The Sam Bell Maxey House Historic Site is decorated for Christmas in this undated image.

Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site is hosting “Christmas at the Maxey House” on from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. This year’s event highlights the Maxeys’ Christmas traditions.

Visitors will be invited to step into a Victorian family’s home in the midst of preparing for and celebrating Christmas. Guides will be located throughout the house to explain past Christmas traditions from the Victorian era to the visitors. The event is an opportunity for visitors to see how the Christmas of today is both different and similar to a Victorian family’s Christmas, as many of our current Christmas traditions arose from the Victorians’ Christmas celebrations.

During the event, visitors will learn about Victorian Christmas traditions like Christmas cards, decorations and gift giving and the Maxeys’ Christmas dinner. Along with learning about these topics, visitors will have the opportunity to view artifacts that are known to be associated with the Maxeys’ Christmas celebrations during the late 1800s, such as books given to Marilda Maxey by her husband and her grandson as presents and Christmas cards sent to the family by different West Point Military Academy classes.

While exploring the house, visitors will be invited to participate in activities located throughout the rooms that highlight different Victorian Christmas traditions, such as making Christmas cards and home-made Christmas tree decorations. Victorian Christmas trees were decorated with home-made ornaments, especially when they first came into use. Many of these hand-made ornaments involved food in some way, from popcorn or cranberry garland strands to small nuts and fruits being hung on the tree for decoration.

Pomander balls, made from oranges and cloves, could be hung on the tree or placed around the house during the Christmas season. During the event, visitors can make their own pomander balls and fortune walnut ornaments to take home, as well as try stringing popcorn to make popcorn garland to be used at the site after the event. Admission is $5 per person and free for children 5 years old and younger.

“Christmas at the Maxey House is one of my favorite times of the year. We always try to show the similarities in the way the Victorians celebrated Christmas and how we celebrate Christmas today, which is easy to do as many of our traditions started with the Victorians. All of the staff and our volunteers look forward to this each year and we can’t wait to share Christmas with our visitors.” said Kristie Lee, site administrative assistant.

In addition to “Christmas at the Maxey House, the site will also be hosting “Yuletide Magic at the Maxey House” from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 21. Visitors are invited to stop by the Maxey House to make some last-minute decorations for their holiday festivities. “Yuletide Magic at the Maxey House” is included in the site admission fee.

“Christmas at the Maxey House” and “Yuletide Magic at the Maxey House” will take place at the Sam Bell Maxey House, 812 South Church St. For information, contact the Sam Bell Maxey House at 903-785-5716 or visit the site’s website, www.visitsbmh.com, or the site’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/visitsambellmaxeyhouse.

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