Learn about New England Christmas traditions at Sheldon lecture

MIDDLEBURY — On Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m., the Henry Sheldon Museum and its alliance partner Historic New England present “The Spirit of Christmas Past: Four Centuries of Christmas in New England.”
Kenneth Turino, manager of Community Engagement and Exhibitions at Historic New England, offers a well-illustrated lecture tracing the development of Christmas celebrations from 17th century New England through today. Many of the customs we assume are rooted in the past are actually a product of more recent history.
The presentation looks at the transformation of Christmas from a rowdy celebration to a family-centered event. Topics discussed include how the Christmas tree became popular, halls were decked, and Santa Claus came to town. Turino, who has published several articles on the history of Christmas and speaks widely on the topic, will include research related to Christmas in Vermont.
The talk takes place in the meeting room in the Middlebury Town Office building, 77 Main St., across the street from the Sheldon.
Following the talk, the audience is invited to the Sheldon Museum for a festive holiday reception and to view the current exhibits, including vintage wooden Vermont toys and the model train display. Sheldon Museum and Historic New England members are free; non-members $10. Reservations and advance payment requested. Call the Sheldon at 802-388-2117 to reserve a space.
The Sheldon Museum is located at 1 Park St. in Middlebury.

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