Welcome the Winter Holidays at These Battlefield Parks and Historic Destinations

The American Battlefield Trust recommends these family-friendly events and activities at some of the nation’s most storied battlefields and historic sites this winter

(Washington, D.C.) — This December, Americans of all ages and backgrounds will celebrate the holiday season. In honor of this festive time, the American Battlefield Trust recommends this dozen ideas for activities at historic attractions across the country.

December 6–7: Holiday Open House Program, Lookout Mountain, Tenn.
Join Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park for this special program to explore how the soldiers and residents of Chattanooga celebrated the holiday season under Union occupation. Learn more.

December 7: Brandy Station Holiday Open House, Brandy Station, Va.
Join the Brandy Station Foundation in Culpeper County, Va., for a holiday celebration featuring Santa Claus, dulcimer music from the Wilderness Run Players, delicious refreshments and a children’s program designed to share family customs of the 1800s. All are welcome to attend, with no RSVP necessary. Learn more.

December 7: Colonial Christmas, Currie, N.C.
Come and experience Christmas in the Colonies at Moores Creek National Battlefield. Colonial foods, traditions, crafts and more can be found during this exciting Christmas event. Learn more.

December 7-8: Captain Flagg’s U.S. Quartermaster City, 1864: Prospects of Peace, Harpers Ferry, W.V.
Experience this yuletide event from the war that determined the union of the states and the eventual freedom of four million enslaved people. Learn More.

December 11: Christmas in Camp during the American Civil War, Mentor, OH
Everyone loves to be home for the holidays. But historically, American soldiers have often been unable to do so. How did those in camp mark the holiday season? This presentation at James A. Garfield National Historic Site will look at how fighting men of the Civil War spent the winter holidays. Learn more.  

December 12: A Colonial Christmas Concert, Morristown, N.J.
Linda Russell and Company present a holiday concert that brings life to Christmas past, exploring the traditions of the holiday in early America though English carols, American folk hymns, dance tunes and drinking songs.  Learn more.

December 14: A Frontier Army Christmas, Larned, Kans.
The fort’s annual Christmas Past celebration, will recreate the look, feel and tastes of Christmas at an Indian Wars era frontier post. Come for pictures with Santa and stay for the food and fun! Learn more.

Victorian Christmas at Ellwood Manor, Locust Grove, Va.
Friends of Wilderness Battlefield will hosting its 11th annual “19th Century Christmas at Ellwood Manor” for children of all ages to enjoy a visit with Santa and period decorations provided by the Fawn Lake Garden Club. Learn more.

Christmas on the Cumberland, Dover, Tenn.
Come visit the Dover Hotel, site of the 1862 Confederate surrender at Fort Donelson National Battlefield, to see how Americans in the 1860s decorated their homes and discover holiday traditions of days gone by. Learn more.

December 17: Las Posadas, Pecos, N.M.
Partake in a traditional Las Posadas experience at Pecos National Historical Park, home to the Glorieta Pass Battlefield. Horse-drawn wagon rides will begin in the early evening, with a procession beginning at the remnants of an 18th-century church down a park trail. The procession will continue to the visitor center with participants singing traditional hymns and holiday songs in both English and Spanish. More than 3,500 paper lanterns, called “farolitos”, will illuminate the trail. Free hot beverages and refreshments will be served. Learn more.

December 21: The Real History of Christmas in New England, Springfield, Mass.
The reality of Christmas in early New England may be disappointing to some and unbelievable to many. Join presenter Dennis Picard as he discusses the historical actuality of Christmas, one that blends the heritage and spirit of many cultures and many lands. Learn more.

December 21: Yuletide at the Malus-Beauregard House, Chalmette, La.
Inside the Chalmette Battlefield’s historic Malus-Beauregard House, enjoy period decorations and explore the culture of the Islenos — Spanish-speaking immigrants from Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of Africa who immigrated to Spanish Louisiana in the late 1700s. Outside the house, return to the winter of 1814-15, as Tennessee volunteer militia members will share their stories as they prepare to defend New Orleans against the British invasion that would end with the Battle of New Orleans. Learn more.

For more winter travel ideas, check the National Park Service events calendar at, visit a state park website, search for museums and historic sites near you, or browse the American Battlefield Trust’s suggested travel itineraries.

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. To date, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 51,000 acres of battlefield land associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at