Participants may be able to gain a new perspective on the holiday by experiencing 19th-century holiday activities intertwined with local writings of Christmas past. “Shall We Have Christmas?” will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown.
According to a media release from the museum, this one-night-only event will leave visitors with a new perspective on how upstate residents celebrated the holiday season in the 19th century and what they really thought of it.
In the museum’s buildings, visitors will find a variety of festive activities including holiday gift-making in the More House; holiday foods in the Lippitt House; singing and dancing with Katie Boardman in Bump Tavern; greeting card printing in the printing office; and decoration making in the church. Remedies for winter ailments will be made in Dr. Thrall’s Pharmacy, just as they were in 1845.
Visitors will hear or read a quote from a diarist or author, such as Susan Fenimore Cooper, that describes the details and happenings of an 1840s Christmas in central New York.
Here, Cooper expresses her thoughts in an entry from Rural Hours, published in 1850:
“Everybody recollects that it is Christmas; presents are made in all families; the children go from house to house wishing Merry Christmas; and probably few who call themselves Christians allow the day to pass without giving a thought to the sacred event it commemorates, as they wish their friends a ‘MerryChristmas.’”
There will also be horse-drawn wagon rides throughout the event. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors age 65 and older, $5.50 children ages 7 to 12, free for children 6 and under and for members of the New York State Historical Association. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.