4 chances to look back at Christmases of the past in the Western suburbs

It’s hard to imagine celebrating the holidays without plug-in Santas waving from neighborhood front yards and favorite seasonal movies on television or the iPad. It really wasn’t so long ago, though, that celebrations were simpler. This holiday season, take a cue from The Ghost of Christmas Past and check out these opportunities in the Western suburbs to see what Christmas celebrations used to look and sound like.

Farm House Christmas

On the Christmas Memories House Tour at the Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, visitors can see the 1890’s farmhouse decorated with greens for the season, savor the aroma of holiday treats, and see the table set for company. Tours are available Thursdays through Mondays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the hour.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, Kline Creek will host Christmas on the Farm from 1:30-3:30 p.m. This is a chance to take photos in a sleigh and also meet an old-fashioned Santa. The free event will also feature caroling and hot cider around the fire.

Victorian Christmas

Naper Settlement, the living history museum in Naperville, offers holiday-themed tours of the beautifully decorated Martin Mitchell Mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors can see how area residents celebrated the holidays during the Victorian period. Catch a tour or one of their fascinating talks for adults about Christmas traditions.

Enjoy a mix of traditional and modern, and stick around in the evening to see Naper Lights on the grounds of Naper Settlement or check out some of the other celebrations in Naperville.

Firehouse Christmas

The Aurora Regional Fire Museum is getting into the holiday spirit! In addition to checking out their collection, which includes a hand pumper from the 1850s, and participate in a “hands-on” bucket brigade, you can also check out their newest residents. “A family of festive holiday mice has taken up residence in the Aurora Regional Fire Museum. See CoCo as he bakes in the museum’s kitchen, Sparks as he tries to ring a fire bell, and Ashes as he decorates a 1948 fire engine,” the museum’s website explains. Visitors who find all fifteen mice will get a treat.

Guests can also view the Gingerbread FIREhouse contest entries that will be on display through Dec. 20.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas Concert

Don’t forget that Jolly Old St. Nicholas has his own day on December 6. The night before, on Dec. 5, 2014, the Elmhurst’s Damenchor (Women’s Chorus) will perform a concert of classic German carols, complete with a sing-along.

St. Nicholas himself will be there to explain to them the history of this annual observance to children, as well as to share treats and take pictures with them. Hot cocoa will be provided and children are encouraged to wear their pajamas.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Buik Recital Hall in Irion Hall, Elmhurst College.

A peek into history used to be can be both fun and educational. A visit to one of these locations will give your family a bit of perspective and appreciation of the modern conveniences. Who knows? Maybe these events will inspire your family to incorporate some traditions of the past into your own modern-day celebrations.

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