Are you dreaming about a Christmas tour of a vintage 1913 Huxley home? A home that will put you in the holiday spirit is waiting to be toured.
The Huxley Historical Society is decking the halls, hanging the greens and adding the final touches for a magical vintage holiday tour of one of the oldest homes in Huxley. You can be part of the celebration, which will take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Society’s Maland home, located at 306 North First Ave., from 2 to 4 p.m.
This will be the second annual Christmas Open House presented by the Huxley Historical Society. The Society was gifted the 1913 home from Elizabeth and Javerna Maland. Elizabeth was 103 years old when the gift was presented to the Historical Society in 2016. Elizabeth offered the home as a gift, since there were no heirs to the vintage property.
As an annual fundraising event, members of the Historical Society offer an open house during the holiday season. There is no charge to tour the home and enjoy refreshments, a free-will offering is accepted. Funds from the Christmas Open House are used to maintain the home.
The home is decorated in the vintage style of the 1920s. Keeping with the historical value of the home as it was in the 1920s will include five decorated trees and many other decorations.
If you listen closely, you will hear holiday music that was made famous by artists such as the Nat King Cole Trio singing “The Christmas Song,” or Bing Crosby belting out “White Christmas,” and maybe even Spike Jones & the City Slickers singing “All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth).”
If you are wondering what a Christmas tree would look like in the 1920s, you will find five Christmas trees though out the house, decorated in the vintage theme.
Back in the day, Christmas trees were live trees, some lit with candles, and if the home was fortunate enough to have electricity, the tree would be strung with lights made by General Electric. Garland would have been made from stringing popcorn or crafting paper chains. Branches would hold cut-out paper snowflakes. Under the tree, you might find either nativity scenes or trains.
Families would most likely cut down their own tree, usually a pine or cedar, from their own property or from a family member’s farm. If you lived in the city, you could purchase a tree already cut off a wagon that was brought into town.
Trees were usually not put up until the week of Christmas or not until Christmas Eve. Since the trees were live, they were considered a possible fire danger with lit candles on them.
One of the decorated trees in the Maland home is a kitchen tree, decorated with vintage cookie cutters on loan from Helen Kepler’s collection. Another tree is decorated in Scandinavian straw tree ornaments. It is said that the ornaments were made from straw and other items that were available because of the poverty at the time.
The Maland home could have had stockings hanging, but there is not a fireplace in the home. The stockings that children would leave out would be left on chairs, and then while they were asleep, they would be filled with apples, oranges, walnuts, candy canes and raisins. Sometimes a small toy would be added and the stockings would be tied to a door knob or the child’s bedpost.
Gifts were usually homemade items such as socks, gloves, mittens and scarves. The most popular toys included the Raggedy Ann doll and die-cast metal toys. Bigger items would include roller skates, wagons, toy trains and baby dolls.
The traditional Christmas dinner would be roasted chicken, not turkey or ham. Cakes and pies and Jell-O made in molds were popular, as well as passing around a fruit cake to share.
Christmas celebrations would be those held on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with services in the churches. Wandering carolers could be heard all over town.
If you are dreaming of a white Christmas…. that may or may not happen. If you are dreaming of touring a home decorated in vintage Christmas style…that can happen. Join the fun on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2, for a real treat for the eyes in the decorations, and some holiday refreshments as well.