This past week we have been working on readying the Great House for not only our Christmas program (1774: A Stratford Christmastide), but also setting up new room scenarios for the winter in general. You've already heard about how I like to change the house displays for the seasons (like summertime scenarios), so the winter is no exception. Here's a glimpse into how I prepare for the winter scenarios and the Christmas program each year...
First, we decide on a theme for the Christmas program. This year Jon Bachman, our Educational Events Coordinator, picked a year - 1774 - as the interpretive theme. Having one particular year gave me a good starting point for deciding how to set up the house appropriately. Then I took some time looking at Lee family papers (like the 1776 household inventory) and period accounts (like the diaries of planter Landon Carter and local schoolmaster Philip Vickers Fithian). Pulling information from secondary sources came next (At Home and The Festive Tradition are two favorites).
That's just a sneak peak of what we have going on in the Great House this holiday season. Come see it all aglow on December 11th and throughout December, January, and February.
Landon Carter quote: Jack P. Greene, ed., The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752-1778, II (Richmond, Va., 1987), p. 908.