’Tis the Season

The holiday season at Winterthur is not to be missed. This year, Yuletide at Winterthur, opening November 23, illuminates winter festivities from long ago and provides inspiration for creating your own memorable holiday events.

The Court elements of 18th century illumination

The Court is decorated with elements of 18th-century illumination, including  a bonfire and lanterns.

Throughout the tour, three major themes prevail. As visitors enter the Court, they are greeted with a festive bonfire in the days before electricity.  This theme of historic lighting continues with the introduction of the Swedish-American tradition of the ljuskrona, a decorated candelabrum used as a table display in holiday celebrations; and the German weihnachtspyramide, a towering array of candles and figures. The Yuletide tour is bound to brighten the season with this delightful look at lighting as a popular holiday decoration.

From top: McIntire, wedding ball, floor chalked in white. Detail of floor chalked. Empire Dining Room, wedding reception

From top: McIntire Room, prepared for an elegant wedding ball, with floor chalked in white. Detail of chalked floor. Empire Dining Room, wedding cake upon table set for reception.

Next visitors are invited to a wedding celebration in the mid-1800s, common in agrarian society during the “down time” of winter. Yuletide at Winterthur considers how wedding customs and practices such as the wedding cake, honeymoon, and wedding gifts evolved. The final display for this setting has a chalked ballroom floor, which presented a quite elegant feature of the time.

A Yuletide celebration would not be complete without a look into how the holidays were celebrated by the du Pont family at Winterthur. Henry Francis du Pont took great pride in his displays that were referred to as his “Christmas Show.” The family Christmas tree was placed in the Conservatory in December 1931, the first Christmas the family spent in the newly renovated house. The Conservatory tree, a showstopper on the Yuletide tour, stands 15 feet tall, is beautifully decorated with glass ornaments and bright lights, and is skirted with a lavish live plant display.

Du Pont Dining Room

Du Pont Dining Room table, festively adorned for the holidays.

We hope this year’s tour inspires your own holiday celebrations and decorations.

Yuletide at Winterthur includes an exceptional lineup of concerts and performances plus shopping and dining. For a full schedule of events and programming, including Yuletide Brunch with Santa, demonstrations and workshops, Jazz & Wine, and a live performance of A Christmas Carol, please visit winterthur.org/yuletide.

Winterthur will be opened on Mondays during Yuletide, November 23–January 5. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Open New Year’s Day.

Click here for more information on extended and evening hours during Yuletide.

Yuletide is sponsored by  Glenmede_Logo_bw

This blog is the first in a series about the Yuletide celebration at Winterthur. Please look at next week’s blog post for a more in-depth look at historical lighting during holiday celebrations.

Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing Department

This entry was posted in Decorative Arts, Du Pont Family, Events, House, Life at Winterthur, Yuletide and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ’Tis the Season

  1. William S. Bates says:

    Can’t wait to take my friends from Portland, Pennsylvania to Winterthur to do this year’s Yuletide tour, most of all! My friends and I always look forward to coming down to Winterthur to do the Yuletide tours, each December, very much, as well as seeing special exhibits in the Galleries, and enjoying a delicious lunch in your cafeteria, for that matter, not to also mention shopping for nice and special gifts and and books in both your museum store and book store, as well.

    • Hilary Seitz says:

      Yuletide is up and running! It will definitely get you and your friends in the holiday spirit! We have two great exhibitions currently open Common Destinations: Maps and the American Experience and Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection, which are particularly fascinating. Hope you make it here soon!

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