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Santa brings back many beloved area Christmas traditions

Ken MammarellaCulture, Headlines


Longwood Gardens’ 2021 Christmas display focuses on a Fire and Ice theme. Photo by Becca Mathias


Christmas tours and displays that were curtailed or eliminated by the pandemic last year are back in more of the holiday spirit this year.

Some features are still on hold, and masking and social distancing may limit attendance and activities. 

(Edwards Christmas Village, a Lewes tradition since 1991, is cancelled out of concern for the pandemic, according to its website.)

Here are some highlights.

Brandywine River Museum of Art. After being closed to the public for almost three months by flooding, the museum is showcasing its massive miniature railroad display and Critter-decorated trees for the holidays. Plus three virtual programs by Victoria Wyeth on the art of her grandfather, Andrew Wyeth, and her uncle, Jamie Wyeth. Basic admission $18, with discounts for seniors, students and members. Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, closed Christmas. 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. 

Delaware Agricultural Village and Museum. A Farmer’s Christmas expands from one day to 17 this year. Holiday Hall features a Christmas tree decorating contest, and lights adorn vintage farm equipment. Plus holiday crafts, artisans at work, performances and St. Nick. $5 basic admission, with discounts for children and members. Nov. 27-Dec. 19. 866 N. du Pont Highway, Dover.

Delaware Art Museum. Artisans sell their crafts outdoors in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. A trackless train debuts. Refreshments for sale, too. Free-$5. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11, with reserved and timed tickets required. 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington. 

Hagley Museum. Eleutherian Mills, the du Pont family’s first home in America, is decorated in the style of the 1920s and 1930s, with the theme of “Home for the Holidays: A Celebration of Family.” The nearby barn holds the gingerbread houses created for a contest on the same theme. Twilight tours of the residence on several evenings, and Santa’s visiting as well. Basic admission $8, with discounts for seniors, students and members. Nov. 26-Jan. 2, closed Christmas. 298 Buck Road, Greenville (this is the upper property entrance; the main entrance is closed because of flooding). 

a living room filled with furniture and vase of flowers on a table

Yuletide 11/21/2019

Historic Odessa Foundation. “Little Women,” the coming-of-age classic published before Christmas of 1868, sets the decorating theme for the Wilson-Warner House. Basic admission $10, with discounts for seniors, students and members. Through Dec. 30. Downtown Odessa. 

Longwood Gardens. This year’s theme for A Longwood Christmas is “Fire and Ice,” with the fire supplied by a half-million lights, flickering-flame ornaments. three fire pits, thousands of red poinsettias and other flowers. The ice comes from icicles, icy garlands, flocked trees, a frozen succulent fountain, floating luminarias and a tunnel of light. Plus fountains timed with holiday music and a miniature railway. Timed tickets must be bought in advance. Basic admission $30, with discounts for seniors, students and members. Through Jan. 9. 1000 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. 

Nemours Estate. Holiday decorations in spaces throughout the 77-room mansion. Tickets can only be purchased at the estate, and no reservations are needed. Tuesdays-Sundays through Dec. 30.  

Rockwood Park and Mansion. Self-guided tours of the decorated mansion, plus Santa, choirs and food trucks. Free admission. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 3-4. Plus candlelight tours, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 17-18. The grounds are also lit up. 4651 Washington St., North Wilmington.  

Spirit of Christmas in New Castle. Re-enactments, museum programs, crafts and music, best enjoyed in a fair amount of walking. The inside house tours, though, are still on hold, the New Castle Presbyterian Church says. Free admission. 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Old New Castle. 

Wilmington Riverfront. A holiday light display along the Riverwalk runs Black Friday through the new year. “It won’t be as large as last year’s drive-through show, but we will have trees, light poles and other areas wrapped with lights, as well as other decorations from Hare Pavilion to Public Dock,” said Joe Valenti, marketing manager for the Riverfront Development Corp. The organization is also working on a holiday bazaar, a beer event, music and Santa.

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Ornamented trees and other decorations enhance the classic furnishings for Yuletide at Winterthur. Includes a re-creation of the parlor where the du Pont family and guests opened Christmas gifts and the dining room where they enjoyed Christmas dinner. Two vignettes depict New Year’s calling, a custom still practiced by the du Ponts. Also includes jazz, performances of “A Christmas Carol,” caroling, workshops and events with Santa and Mrs. Claus. $25 basic admission, with discounts for seniors, students and members. Daily through Jan. 2, closed Christmas., 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur. 



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