Thanksgiving evening is the beginning of the Christmas holiday season at the Shriver House Museum in Gettysburg. The Shriver family moved into their new home just before the Christmas of 1860. In anticipation of showing off their beautiful new home to family and friends, their house is fully decorated for a mid-19th century Christmas gathering.
Come hear how very different each of the five Christmases they spent in their home were affected by the Civil War. One of the wealthiest families in Gettysburg at the time, the first holiday George and Hettie, along with their two daughters, Sadie (5) and Mollie (3), celebrated in their new home was one full of joy and delight. Just four months later the Civil War began. The country was in turmoil and George Shriver was fighting with Cole’s Cavalry which made it a challenge for Hettie Shriver to celebrate subsequent holidays with their girls while their father was away.
Guided tours of the pre-Civil War home of the Shriver family illustrate how Christmas was celebrated in the mid-19th century. The 4’ tall candle-laden Christmas tree sits in its place of honor on the parlor table as a fire roars in the fireplace of the handsome room decorated with holiday greenery. After stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree and hanging their stockings on the mantle, Sadie and Mollie set out clear toy candy and springerle cookies in anticipation of a visit from Santa Claus and his reindeer on that magical night. The smell of pine and popcorn fills the house bringing memories of Christmases past.
Christmas tours will take place from Thanksgiving Day, November 28th, through December 21st. Please visit us online for a current tour schedule. Private tours for groups of ten or more are welcome at anytime throughout the holiday season. Reservations are required for evening tours.