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December 3, 2013 > Christmas at Ardenwood

Christmas at Ardenwood

Submitted By Isa Polt-Jones

Celebrate the holiday season Victorian style at Ardenwood Historic Farm! Visit the beautifully decorated Patterson House, sing Christmas carols, search for the Yule log, and visit Father Christmas. Enjoy musical performances, puppet shows, and bring your cookies and their recipe to enter the homemade Christmas Cookie Baking Contest.

Victorian celebrations of Christmas had great variety from place to place. It was a time of change that saw some older holiday traditions fade and new ones introduced; we still observe many of them today, such as Christmas trees and wrapping presents. Traditions that held steady throughout these changing times included special gatherings of friends and family, hosting a Òholiday mealÓ with special dishes, and live music and dancing.

Music and dancing ranged from informal concerts by family members to formal Christmas Balls with hired musicians. Formal dances include both ÒfolkÓ group dances and waltz and polka couple dances. Dance masters were hired by well-to-do families to teach children and young adults to dance and explain the latest in steps and etiquette.

Burning the Yule log provided a blessing for the coming year. It marked the end of days getting shorter; a celebration of the ÒreturnÓ of the sun and lengthening of days. A piece of the Yule log kept in the home radiated good luck throughout the year. It was used to start the fire for the next yearÕs Yule log.

A blessing of the orchard insured a bountiful harvest from the trees in the coming year. It involved pouring wassail (warm spiced cider) on the roots and singing to keep away evil spirits.

ÒChristmas at ArdenwoodÓ also includes yummy old-fashioned treats made on a wood burning stove at the Country Kitchen, handcrafted gifts for sale by local vendors, and Christmas crafts. Each craft has been chosen to represent an item that can be made with materials found on the farm. Christmas decorations of the Victorian Era were mostly homemade items made from what was at hand. Store bought decorations were expensive and much less common. Materials used to make decorations included food (popcorn, fruit, berries, wheat stalks, etc.), odds and ends (scraps of cloth, paper, ribbon, bits of metal) and evergreen plants.

DonÕt forget to schedule a visit to the Patterson House Museum which has been transformed into a Victorian Christmas fantasy. Celebrate the holiday season 1900s style and enjoy a docent-led tour of the farmÕs elegantly decorated centerpiece. On Friday, December 13 the house will be open for a magical evening, ÒA Christmas Evening at the Patterson House.Ó Elegantly lit in all of its Victorian splendor, each room will transport visitors on a journey into Christmas Past, filled with holiday music and cheer.

Christmas at Ardenwood
Saturday, Dec 7 and Sunday, Dec 8
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(888) 327-2757
Fee: $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children (4-17), children 3 and under free

Christmas at Ardenwood Event Schedule:

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.: Christmas Crafts
10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Visits with Father Christmas
11 a.m.: Christmas Cookie Baking Contest, winners announced at noon
11 a.m.: Holiday Sing-Along for Kids of all ages with David Maloney
Noon: Broceliande: Holiday Songs From Long Ago
1 p.m.: Yule Log Hunt
1:30 p.m.: Puppet Show
2 p.m.: A Christmas Ball Community Dance
2 p.m. (Sunday only): The Jazzinators
3 p.m.: Christmas Caroling and Wassailing in the Orchard

Christmas Tours of the Patterson House
Thursday, Dec 12 - Friday, Dec 20
1p.m., 2 p.m., and 3p.m.: Thu-Fri, Dec 12-13 and 19-20
11 a.m., Noon, 1p.m., 2 p.m. and 3p.m.: Sat-Sun, Dec 14-15
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 791-4196
Fee: $4 adults and seniors, $3 children (plus farm admission)

A Christmas Evening at the Patterson House
Friday, Dec 13
5 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 791-4196
Advance tickets: $5 adults and seniors, $3 children
At the door: $6 adults and seniors, $4 children

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