Christmas by Candlelight

Last night, Colette and I went to Old Sturbridge Village’s “Christmas by Candlelight” program. Technohubby and Max didn’t go…it’s a long story. Well…okay…I’ll tell you why. The first year we went to this program, Max was coming down with the flu (but we didn’t know it at the time), so the event sort of has bad associations for him. And it was so bitterly cold that night that Technohubby thought it was too cold to be fun, and has declined to go since. But Colette and I are undaunted! It's become a tradition for the two of us! And last night, even though the temperature was hovering right around 32 degrees when we arrived (at 4:00 p.m.), it was the warmest night we’ve ever spent at this event! There was no breeze. I even wore a skirt (with lots of layers) and a wool coat and scarf, and I was pretty much toasty warm all night. But even if it’d been 15 degrees, we would’ve gone, because it’s just so lovely!


I love all the white lights and candles, and the smoke curling from the chimneys.







This was the first building we went in, the “Parson’s House”. The wreath was made of fresh greens and globe amaranth. Very pretty! I have some globe amaranth hanging in my laundry room, waiting to be made into bouquets this January.


Inside, in the kitchen, was a costumed interpreter making fruitcake from a period recipe (not at all like that icky, modern type).


She was baking the fruitcake in a tin kitchen, using it as a reflector to radiate the heat.


Outside, we saw this pretty lady with her basket.


The fire on the green looked like a cozy spot to gather.


Then we went in another house, where gingerbread was being offered. Mmmm.


We went in the Towne House, where we listened to some period music and sampled hot mulled cider.


Then we went in the tavern.


Inside, it smelled delicious, as this woman was demonstrating how cocoa beans were processed into chocolate. It would’ve been processed commercially in large cities, like Boston, in the 1830′s (Sturbridge’s time period).


I may have the details wrong, but I believe the cocoa beans in the bowl on the right are unroasted. The beans in the middle bowl are roasted. And then they are put on that slanting stone over hot coals and melted into a form of chocolate that could be used. That’s probably not right, but it’s something like that. She said that cocoa powder and cocoa butter are two elements that exist in that pool of chocolate and the trick is to keep them together.


She had a variety of edibles that would’ve been added to hot cocoa to flavor it.



And in another part of the room were two interpreters demonstrating marzipan molding.


We listened to carolers! I love costumed carolers!



And we heard a bit of fiddle music.


Our last stop was to sample some roasted chestnuts. Yum!


Another wonderful “Christmas by Candlelight”!



4 comments:

  1. Kate -

    My husband's folks introduced me to Sturbridge Village in 1971 before we were married. They loved everything old fashioned. So my husband grew up surrounded by antiques and old recipes and candlelight at dinner on the primitve table his Dad had made from wood from an ancient barn he had helped take apart. Doesn't including the old along with some of the new enrich us?! So glad Mom and Dad passed that love on to my husband and that I "caught" it! Thank you for your words and photos that bring back such wonderful memories. God bless you and your family. Merry Christmas! - Esther in NJ

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  2. I couldn't agree more, Esther! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  3. I love this, thank you for sharing. I hope to visit Sturbridge Village one day and it looks like a visit at Christmas time would be wonderful:)

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  4. You're most welcome. If you have never been to Old Sturbridge Village before, I would actually recommend another time of year. They are only open evenings for this program at Christmastime, and not even all the village is open. I like it in the summer and autumn best!

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