A former governor's home offers a glimpse into early 1800s customs.
Children who think lavish Christmas celebrations have always been a part of “the most wonderful time of the year” will see differently during the Holidays at Adena celebration at the historic home of Ohio’s sixth governor.
Adena Mansion & Gardens Historic Site in Chillicothe, the former residence of Thomas Worthington, offers insight into several early holiday customs. The home is decked out in yuletide splendor inspired by the Hanging of the Greens, an old Christian tradition of decorating with branches and greenery from the outdoors. This would have been the holiday decorating style when Worthington and his family lived in the home in the early 1800s.
Visitors also can learn how a German immigrant family would have celebrated while touring the property’s Tenant House. On Dec. 8, a Victorian St. Nicholas will visit with children at the museum.
Volunteers will share stories about how the Worthingtons marked the holidays during guided tours of the mansion. Tours are offered every half hour beginning at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9. Members of the Adena’s youth volunteer corps will be stationed in rooms throughout the house on Dec. 8 and 9 to share details about the family’s holiday habits.
Children may be surprised to learn that the family tended to celebrate the New Year more extravagantly than Christmas, said Kathy Styer, executive director of the mansion. “All of the stories are researched and factual,” she said. “We have Thomas Worthington’s diaries. We know he ran a bank. He worked on Christmas Day.”
The Tenant House décor will reflect the German traditions of the indentured servants who worked there. Attendees can sample cookies and mulled cider and view the Christmas tree and handmade decorations. St. Nick, who became a part of holiday celebrations in the mid-1800s, will read stories and pass out books on Dec. 8. Children’s craft activities will be offered on Dec. 8 and 9. Horse-and-carriage rides of the grounds will be offered both weekends for an additional fee.