Every year we look for something new and exciting to do with the kids on the weekends leading up to Christmas. This year I found out that a nearby pioneer museum was hosting an evening called "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and the open air facility would be celebrating the season as Canadians would have in 1860.
The buildings were lit with candles and lanterns and inside each structure knowledgable guides filled us in on the little details that made Christmas 150 years ago so different from how we celebrate it today.
Upon arrival we paused for a "pit stop" and came across a cute little cafeteria that sold home-baked cookies for a few coins each. Of course I treated the family to one each but I have to say mine was the prettiest of them all!
We arrived at 5pm and the sun was already going down. Can you see my family in this pic? It's my hubby, my three kids and my mom. (Yep. My mother is brandishing a red light saber.)
We headed into the church first. It was built in the early 1800's and was moved to the outdoor museum during the 1960's. The tree inside was about 14 feet tall and covered in very pretty homemade decorations.
Inside one of the original 19th century homes, we were treated to a baking demonstration, just as it would have happened 150 years ago. The lady of the house showed us how tricky it was to bake using a wood stove particularly because it is very difficult to maintain a consistent temperature.
I loved the simple decor that the house had, too. Natural and free -- greens cut from the local coniferous trees and apples from the family's storehouse.
Next - into the schoolhouse. (Our favourite building - probably because my mother, my husband and I are ALL teachers!)
We were welcomed with this greeting:
The kids liked it, too.
Here they could do some Christmas crafting by candlelight.
Here's the Candy Shop all decorated for the season:
|I love the pattern this lantern made on the ceiling of the Inn.|
|Candlelight is so beautiful. Not a lot of illumination, but tons of ambience.|
Inside the weavers shop we watched a gentleman work an old-fashioned loom while his wife spun wool fibres straight from a sheep. My mother and I are both keen crocheters so we were intrigued by the crochet garland strung throughout the shop. It was created to mimic garlands of popcorn used traditionally to decorate homes during the Victorian era.
|This was "naturally dyed" wool. The yellow shade was created using onion skins and the red was made from brazil wood.|
Inside the "Train Station" we found our first electric lights and this colourful tree.
In a room off to the side a Telegraph Man could send your message off to Santa using a version of Morse Code. Unfortunately none of our three kids was willing to wait in line to have their turn!
By 6:30 it was plenty dark enough for the fireworks show to start. Christmas music played pleasantly in the background and Father Christmas kept watch from the bandstand.
It was the perfect end to a wonderful evening out with the family.
Feeling a bit cold, we travelled to a nearby family restaurant and enjoyed a cosy, home-style meal prepared and cleaned- up afterwards by some one else!
Just over two weeks until the Big Day!
Do you have any special "Christmas Outings" planned in the meantime?
Have a wonderful weekend every one!