December is usually a busy month for most folks. There’s shopping to finish, lights to hang, trees to trim, cookies to test, cards to sign…or whatever your favorite holiday activities are! In the midst of the busyness, it’s nice to get away and appreciate some history.
Civil War Trust maintains an awesome calendar of historical events, and we got permission to share some holiday happenings with our readers.December 1-31, 2016: Eisenhower Home Holiday Events, Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA
Enjoy decorations and history at former President Eisenhower’s home in Gettysburg. Though not a strictly Civil War history event, it should interest history buffs and add to a holiday trip to Pennsylvania’s largest 1860’s battlefield. Event information is available on the National Park Service site.
December 17, 2016: Christmas at Ellwood, Orange, VA (near Fredericksburg)
Hosted by Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, this event is a wonderful opportunity to see Ellwood Manor decorated for the Christmas season. There will even be a visit from Santa Claus! Find event hours and more information on the National Park Service site.
December 17, 2016: “Hands-On” Candle Making Workshop, Historic Washington State Park, Washington, AR
Always wanted to learn about candle making and try some techniques? Here’s a great opportunity in a historic and Christmas-y setting. This event requires registration, so be sure call and make a reservation. If the class is already filled for this year, consider it for another year. Find more event information on the Historic Washington State Park website.
December 17, 2016: Lantern Tour – An Evening at the Fort, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Vancouver, WA
Explore an 1840’s west coast historical fort by lantern light! Reservations are required for this special event. If the tours are already filled for this year, consider it for 2017. Find more event and reservation information on the National Park Service site.
December 17, 2016: A Message at Midnight, Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site, St. Louis, MO
Enjoy a short play about Grant’s visit to the White House on Christmas Eve 1864. The entertainment features Fritz Klein as Lincoln, Pam Brown as Mary Todd Lincoln, and Dennis Rendleman as General Grant. Reservations are required and more information is on the National Park Service website.
December 18, 2016: Christmas at Chatham, Fredericksburg National Military Park, Fredericksburg, VA
Experience living history (and kid-friendly activities) in a celebration of Civil War Christmases through the eyes of civilians and soldiers. Families can visit with Santa Claus! More event information and hours are available on the National Park Service site.
December 23, 2016: America’s Second Founding, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Plaza, Washington DC
Always wanted to learn more about the 14th Amendment and Reconstruction? Here’s an opportunity… It’s a short (45 minute) event. Find location and other details on the National Park Service website.
December 26, 2016 – January 2, 2017: 154th Anniversary of the Battle of Stones River, Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro, TN
Looking for some battlefield tours, lectures, and living history to end 2016 on a good note (or start 2017)? Check out this event at Stones River National Battlefield. More details and contact information is listed on the National Park Service website.
December 29, 2016: Ought It Not Be A Merry Christmas?, National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, PA
Hosted by the National Civil War Museum, presenter Myra Reichart shares soldier and civilian perspectives on Christmases during the conflict years. More details, time, and ticket information is available on the museum website.
December 31, 2016: New Year’s Eve Cannon Blast, Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, NC
We just know you want to celebrate the new year with cannon fire and music. Here’s your opportunity! Fort Macon State Park will be hosting a celebration and firing some of their big guns. Get more details on the park’s website.
Best wishes for lots of historical holiday fun, learning, and adventures!