A fascination with old-fashioned Christmases is something that carries on even by today’s standards. As can be seen in today’s ornaments, décor, and other nostalgic reflections, Christmas thyme is an olde-fashioned holiday that merits the classical reflections of yesteryear.
Christmas thyme portrayals are often laden with Victorian holiday appeal, and these portrayals are what people most often hope to capture each holiday season—a descent back to these simpler days. Well today, Nov. 29, you can take a step back in time yourself when you come out and experience Christmas in the 1860s.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gettysburg National Park Museum and Visitor Center, you are cordially invited to a Victorian Christmas event that is free and open to the public. Since dancing was a major part of any fine Victorian-era party it was, of course, part of any holiday tradition and get together of that time. Therefore, the Victorian Dance Ensemble, the performing troupe of the Civil War Dance Foundation (CWDF), will be onsite, offering up exhibits along with dance demonstrations in the Group Lobby. Come out and watch as the Ensemble performs some of the most common dances of the day, recreating an authentic 1860s-style Christmas Ball setting. Visitors can also get in on the action themselves learning all the moves and steps to some of the Civil War era’s most popular dances.
While taking a break from dancing, be sure to look around at the CWDF’s antique displays and civilian artifact collections on exhibit. Take in the jewelry worn by attendants and partygoers, discover a sense of nostalgia as you look at the old, authentic photographs taken of this bygone era, and truly connect with the past in the timeless, holiday spirit of the season. The CWDF will also be giving various lectures on a variety of Civil War topics throughout the day.
As this is the season for giving, the CWDF will be accepting donations for the military through “Soldiers Boxes,” which will be on-hand at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Soldiers Boxes in themselves are an old-fashioned tradition that got started during the Civil War, and they are just as popular today as they were then. You will learn all about the many different kinds of items that were donated to the Civil War soldiers while contributing to today’s military through generous gifts such as toiletries, toothpaste, deodorant, disposable razors, and other much-needed items.
This 1860s Christmas event is part of the Civil War Dance Foundation’s educational outreach program for the Civil War Dance Foundation, and offers a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow in your historical knowledge of the Civil War era while enjoying the civilian party and entertaining theme and experience of the holiday season. The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is located at 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325. For more information, please call 717-338-1243 or visit www.gettysburgfoundation.org.