Holidays come early to HHH

Published 7:01 am Sunday, October 25, 2015

You many think it is a little early for me to start writing about the upcoming holiday season, but it starts early at the Hormel Historic Home.

Our tradition has been to host the annual holiday open house prior to Thanksgiving. This is not an attempt to speed the season along or to seem ungrateful during the season of offering thanks, but it is a way of ensuring that guests, both local and out of town, can find time to enjoy the beautiful decorations that fill the Historic Home.

HHHThe Hormel Historic Home will expand the holiday showcase this year by illuminating the Peace Garden. Many of you have contributed financially to our purchase of over 16,000 lights that will shine throughout the garden from Nov. 21 through the start of the New Year.  A special event has been planned from 5 to 8 p.m. on the 21st that will include a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, craft making, a family photo opportunity in the decorated home with Whitnei Abel Photography and refreshments. Brad Boice, an Elvis Tribute artist, will perform a concert featuring classic holiday tunes following the lighting of the garden at 7:15 p.m. The cost is $5 per person or $25 per family.

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There are several theories regarding the tradition of lighting trees during the holidays, some Christian and some Pagan, but the practice began with the use of candles. According to Karal Ann Marling, author of “Merry Christmas! Celebrating America’s Greatest Holiday, because of the danger involved with the use of candles, families “lit candles for no more than half an hour at a time and vigilantly monitored the tree, a bucket of sand or water always at hand in case of fire.” The creation of electric lights for trees is credited to Thomas Edison in the 1880’s, and it is recorded that President Cleveland had the White House Christmas tree decorated with lights in 1895.

The use of electric lights for trees was very expensive in the early 1900’s. However, one Austin business was promoting their use in 1909. On December 15 of that year an ad ran in the Austin Daily Herald encouraging people to avoid the dangers of candles and hire The Austin Plumbing, Heating & Electrical Company who could “provide a complete circuit which will illuminate the tree much better than candles and with no risk of fire.”

Whether we start decorating before Thanksgiving or after, the spirit of the holidays which includes the giving of thanks and presents, celebrating friends, family and faith, and spreading joy can shine all year long.  I hope you will join us this holiday season for one or more of our festive events. In the words of Charles Dickens, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Hearth & Home Series-Eating Healthy Through the Holiday

10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3

Presented by Emily Schmidt, Mayo Clinic Dietitian, free

 Holiday Card Party

Noon to 4 p.m.. Wednesday, Nov. 19

All area card groups are invited to visit the HHH for a day of food and fun. Tour the home elaborately decorated for the holidays and have lunch served by the Y’s Women.  Stay for the card game of your choice. $10 per person