Find 2012 Dates and Times here: Holiday Lantern Tour at Hale Farm and Village 2012.
A Hale Farm Holiday Lantern Tour will take you and your family back in time to Christmas Eve, 1861, the first year of the American Civil War. Stroll the imaginary town of Wheatfield, Ohio by only the light of your lantern where you will see and learn of various ways people celebrated and even objected to Christmas.
Set in the time at the beginning of the civil war, people were hopeful that the battle would be short. The homes were not decked out with Christmas lights as there was no electricity, they did not have giant trees on display as some thought celebrating Christmas was a pagan holiday, and they did not have gifts galore as it was a more simpler time where toys and money were scarce.
Without all the lights we are accustomed to today, the homes and shops that we visited had the heart of Christmas joy. From playing the bagpipes from Ireland to making German sausage and sauerkraut, each family brought traditions from their homeland to the village of Wheatfield and incorporated them into new Christmas celebrations. There were some that were not sure about celebrating this new holiday of Christmas but people were eager to have something to look forward to, something to bring joy to them in a time of war, and to unite the country, both north and south.
Video from Hale Farm Holiday Lantern Tour
Times were much simpler. My kids enjoyed carrying the lanterns. We were surprised at how much light they provided as we walked the dark paths of Wheatfield. Although bright to walk by, it was no easy task to read letters sent home from soldiers or to stitching havalocks for the soldiers. The entire community seemed joined together with support for the soldiers from their village and beyond, as well as with celebrating Christmas their own ways.
We joined a couple ladies and kids where were leading choir practice for Christmas. My kids especially liked the Christmas carols we sang together as a group. Surprisingly, our group sounded pretty good! My kids were excited to remember a couple from last year. This was the first year for my kids that they began to remember Christmas carols, so it was neat to see them remember and be excited.
At the end of the tour, we were invited to stay for cookies and hot chocolate at a Victorian-era holiday party in the Jonathan Hale House. This was the perfect time to talk about what we had seen and learned with our kids. My son said that he learn that there is no Santa Claus. I was startled by that realization at first. He was referring to Belsnickle, who was a jolly yet somewhat scary man that brought kids candy from his pockets and whipped kids with his stick at Christmas.
Belsnickle did pay us a visit in one of the homes, thankfully without his whip or stick. He did ask questions of the parents about whether our kids were being good, spending their time wisely, etc. We have had several conversations with my daughter who is veryyyy slow with tasks at home. She often is last to eat, last to get her shoes, etc as she is easily distracted with more fun tasks. When Belshinkle asked if our kids were minding their time wisely, he dropped her head down. It was so cute. We assured her that it was ok, that it was a play. He passed candy canes out to all the kids, so they were all happy!
We finished our trip to the Hale Farm & Village gift shop. This is the place to go for unique gift items for kids and adults. There are plenty of stocking stuffer items of toys from the past as well. There were several items like hand-made brooms that were for sale that were items that were part of the tour, that was really neat.[slickr-flickr tag=halefarmgifts]
Make Reservations for Holiday Lantern Tour at Hale Farm and Village
Reservations are required for the Holiday Lantern Tour at Hale Farm and Village by calling 330.666.3711 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $15 for members and $18 for non-members
Holiday Lantern Tour at Hale Farm and Village Dates
December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 2011. 90 minute tours depart every 20 minutes from 6 – 8:20pm.
Hale Farm and Village
2686 Oak Hill Road