The Spirit of Christmas Past

Christmas Tree inside Glenn House in CapeThe region is full of historical gems, and littered with the influence of different cultures, from the French before the Louisiana Purchase, to the Dutch/German population that occupied the area. These have all left their mark, and the Christmas season is an opportunity to look back on the lifestyles of our ancestors, and how they celebrated the special holiday. Several historic homes in the area are windows to Christmases past.

Glenn House is a popular location for the residences of Cape Girardeau. Built in 1883 it is a perfect example of Victorian architecture, and every year in November the volunteers of Glenn House work together to bring out that Victorian atmosphere for the holiday season. The vintage decorations reflect on a Christmas of yore.

In Carthage, Missouri they have a collection of historical homes, including the beautiful Phelps House. 2014 is a special treat, since they only provide the Holiday Home Tour every other year. The homes are all decorated for Christmas, and include classic cars, an antique model train, and other vintage toys. At the Phelps mansion they host tea parties around the Christmas tree for an immersive experience.

The Hunter-Dawson Home of New Madrid, Missouri takes their immersion a step further by giving candlelight tours for Christmas, decorating the White Antebellum house in greenery, and lighting it as it would originally appear with oil lamps and candles, with the historic staff dressed in Victorian Era clothing.

None enjoy their historic preservation quite like Sainte Genevieve, Missouri, and they have two historic locations for their holiday season. The Bolduc House visits back on a Colonial French Christmas with the Vieux Noel in Lights where you can “stroll along with members of the colonial community to the crèche hidden in the boxwood grove.”

Keeping in tradition with the French Colonial influence, the Felix Valle House State Historic Site (Ste. Gen) has several homes dating back to the 1700’s. Their heavily authentic celebration includes traditional foods, live historical music, and the practice of the French customs that would have been observed at the time.

Celebrate Christmas the historical way by visiting any of these locations, look back on “the shadows of things that have been” and get a taste of some Nineteenth-century holiday!

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