An Answer for ‘Christmas of Old’ Longings

I don’t know, I guess I have a subtle longing, a desire spurred by one of my favorite Christmas shows, ‘A Christmas Carol’. That longing, as enduring as it is, would be to visit towns of old, when festive auras seeped from loose window panes, and gathered on city streets. And although that wish simply won’t come true, there are some houses from yesteryear, ones decked out in appropriate decor, right here in northeastern Wisconsin.

You’ll have to pardon me…just a tad. Of all the 19th century homes in the area, I’ve only meandered through two during the holidays. Yet, I’ve read about a few, and I’m talking about houses I’m familiar with, that sport holiday festivities. So, break out the figgy pudding and put the Christmas goose over the hearth, we’ll find some old fashioned merriment.

I’ll start with the homes I’ve experienced around Christmas time, and then, move on to ones I’ve perused amid other seasons. And although you won’t get a first hand account, at least not about all of them during the season, I’ll let you know what is up.

First off, I’ll start with a place I had experienced a few years ago. Unfortunately, this particular Greek Revival style home, a mansion in the woods, known as Kaukauna’s Grignon Mansion, really hadn’t featured much holiday decor.

Yet, with a Victorian holiday vibe set on its exterior, and a horse drawn carriage ride on the grounds, which is a short jaunt accompanied by jingle bells, you’ll get a dose of pioneer winter fun.

Another fun endeavor, and, in my mind, a better holiday experience, is the ‘The Holly and Ivy,’ at Appleton’s Hearthstone Historic House Museum.

There, accompanied by 7-watt light bulbs, holiday decor is strewn about this three story home. The trees look absolutely radiant, glowing amongst a shadowy backdrop, in this Queen Anne Revival structure.

Now, I’ll start with homes I haven’t visited during the season. First up, Green Bay’s Hazelwood House, an 1837 Greek Revival style home, is featuring an exhibit known as ‘Christmas Through the Decades’.

It is how it sounds, I believe it starts in Victorian times, the decor and ambiance that is, and works its way towards the trends of today.

Another home, Oshkosh’s Paine Art Center, being inspired by Tudor mansions of English taste, puts on an extravaganza known as ‘The Nutcracker’.

If I understand correctly, there are ballet performances on select days. Either way, a Tudor mansion, especially one decked out for Christmas, inspires some old world daydreams, ones involving Ebenezer Scrooge, after he was converted of course, to play within one’s mind.

In closing, I’d just like to mention, as I know you might be interested, that other old homes stand in the area-some that pose as museums. I know there is an Italianate home that serves as a winery in Green Bay also. So my short list is not the limit, just some pretty solid suggestions. Whatever your choices this year, I hope you find warmth and cheer!

Safe Travels!

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