Experience a Victorian Christmas this 2017 holiday season at the historic Beekman House, located at 470 E. California Street in Jacksonville, Oregon. This 1873 residence, home to Jacksonville’s wealthiest pioneer family, is decorated for a 19th Century Christmas celebration, and you’re invited to visit. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, and 23, Victorian costumed docents will share the origins of popular Christmas traditions and observances along with stories of Beekman and Jacksonville holiday festivities in the late 1800s. Special “Boxing Day” tours will be offered on Tuesday, December 26.
Beekman House Christmas tours begin approximately every 15 minutes and last about an hour. Visitors can look for the good luck German pickle ornament on the Christmas tree, sing a Christmas carol, steal a kiss under the mistletoe, hear about typical Victorian presents the Beekmans exchanged, and sample one of Mrs. Beekman’s sugar cookies.
“Cornelius Beekman’s family was of Dutch ancestry; his wife’s family was German,” points out Carolyn Kingsnorth, President of Historic Jacksonville, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides tours, events and programs at the Beekman House throughout the year. “Their cultures contributed Santa Claus and Christmas trees to our current Christmas traditions. Other pioneers brought the holiday customs of Scandinavia, England, France and eastern Europe, all of which have melded into how we celebrate Christmas today.”
Tour admission is $5 for adults; $3 for seniors (65+) and students (6-12). Tour tickets can be purchased at the door and parking is available on site.
Kingsnorth continues, “We’ll also be hosting Mrs. Beekman’s Christmas Bazaar during tour hours. We have antiques, collectibles, old-fashioned toys, beautiful hand-crafts, holiday items, and so much more thanks to generous community donors. Bazaar admission is free. Proceeds from both the tours and the Bazaar go towards maintenance of Jacksonville’s historic buildings and the programs and events that bring them to life and make them relevant for people today.”
December 26th also revives another tradition from the Victorian era, that of Boxing Day. “Boxing Day has been variously dated to the Middle Ages, even the late Roman-early Christian era,” Kingsnorth explains, “but essentially it’s a time of charity, giving money and gifts to the servants and the poor. If Beekman House visitors bring a canned good for ACCESS on December 26, their tour admission will be only two dollars ($2). If they pay full tour admission, we’ll donate the difference to ACCESS. The community is really generous before the holidays. Our Boxing Day tours will help supplement local food banks during some of the leaner winter months. This way, we’re not only celebrating the 12 days of Christmas, we’re extending the Christmas spirit into the new year!”
For additional information, call 541-245-3650, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.