Judith Muffley

Experience the Magic of History This Holiday Season at These 10 Historic Sites

Travel back in time this December to experience holiday celebrations of old at these Trust-recommended sites

Colleen Cheslak, (202) 367-1861 x7234 

(Washington, D.C.) – As the weather grows colder and spirits become merrier, the nation’s battlefields and historic sites are hosting exciting events to help celebrate the holidays. These hallowed grounds are pulling visitors back into the time of old, allowing them to celebrate the season just as America’s citizens and soldiers would have long ago.  

Sending its well-wishes of comfort and joy, the American Battlefield Trust recommends the following 10 activities this holiday season: 

December 3: Christmas Open House at Bentonville Battlefield, Four Oaks, N.C. 
Celebrate a Civil War Christmas at Bentonville Battlefield, site of the last large-scale battle of the Civil War. Visitors will experience 19th century period music and a stroll through the soldier's camp while enjoying cookies and cider by the fire. Ornaments will be available to decorate and take home. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more.  

December 3: Iron Plantation Christmas at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Elverson, Pa. 
Join the National Park Service on a trip back in time, as they celebrate Christmas the same way the people of Hopewell Furnace did for over the 112 years of the furnace's history. Gain insight into the diverse community that existed in a rural yet industrial space. Enjoy blacksmith demonstrations, holiday crafts, and an appearance by the folkloric Belsnickel! This free, family-oriented event is open to the public. Learn more. 

December 3: Christmas 1862, Manassas, Va. 
In collaboration with the Manassas National Battlefield Park, the Manassas Battlefield Trust will be hosting their "Christmas 1862" program at the historic Stone House. The program will feature Victorian-era Christmas traditions as well as caroling, hands-on activities, cider and snacks. The event is free and open to the public, but a reservation is required. Learn more

Harpers Ferry National Battlefield
A snow-covered Harpers Ferry National Battlefield  Judith Muffley

December 3: Capt. Flagg’s U.S. Quartermaster City — Prospects of Peace 1864, Harpers Ferry, W.Va. 
Traverse through time to a Union-garrisoned town during the 1864 Christmas season. Portrayed by park rangers and volunteers, Federal soldiers and civilian workers will discuss the transformation of Harpers Ferry from a war-torn community to a war machine for Union Gen. Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. The event is free and no prior registration is required. Learn more

December 3: A Spirited Holiday Past at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, St. Louis, Mo. 
Enjoy a spirited holiday celebration at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site with house tours, traditional holiday food demonstrations and more. Guitarist Patrick Rafferty will play 19th-century holiday tunes and participants will have the opportunity to create an ornament to take home. Learn more. 

December 3–4: Songs of Home — Folk Songs and Holiday Tunes of Lincoln’s America, Springfield, Ill. 
Discover the stories behind the music that captivated the United States during the Civil War. Hosted by the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, their "Songs of Home: Folk Songs and Holiday Tunes of Lincoln's America" program will combine live performances of war-time music and the historical background of holiday tunes from the era. The event is free and open to the public, singing along encouraged. Learn more
December 4: Children’s Christmas Program at Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, Corinth, Miss. 
Shiloh National Military Park is hosting their annual, family-friendly Christmas program at Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center the first weekend of December. Presented by a park ranger, attendees will learn all about letters that Civil War soldiers sent home during Christmas time. Participants will also be able to design holiday cards for sailors deployed on the USS Shiloh, a U.S. Navy cruiser named after the 1862 Battle of Shiloh. The program is open for kids of all ages and no prior registration is required. Learn more. 

Stones River National Battlefield, Rutherford County, Tenn.
Stones River National Battlefield, Rutherford County, Tenn. National Park Service

December 11 & 25: Reenactment of Washington’s Delaware Crossing, Washington Crossing, Pa. 
Experience the crossing that turned the tides of the Revolutionary War at Washington Crossing Historic Park. Occurring twice in December, the park will host a reenactment of General Washington's 1776 Christmas night crossing. The program will feature colonial-era activities, demonstrations, a wreath-laying ceremony and more. Tickets are required. Learn more

December 16–17: Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Va. 
Join the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for their annual Christmas Illuminations celebration at George Washington’s Virginia home, Mount Vernon. The illuminations consist of candles, holiday lights and fireworks — the latter to be sent up from Mount Vernon’s grounds and burst over the Potomac River for breath-taking views. Admission fees are required. Learn more. 

December 26–30: 160th Anniversary of the Battle of Stones River, Murfreesboro, Tenn. 
Become ensnared in the history of the Battle of Stones River as a park ranger regales the epic story of this Civil War battle. Visitors will learn about the importance of the conflict and how its dramatic conclusion delivered a significant victory for the Union 160 years ago. Learn more.  

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today.  The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 55,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org