On Sunday, December 2, 12 noon until 4:00 p.m., Point of Honor, located at 112 Cabell Street, will host its 30th Annual Christmas Open House, presenting one of Lynchburg’s architectural jewels decorated for the holiday season. The home was built in 1815 by the Dr. George Cabell family and is among the most elegant examples of Federal architecture in Piedmont Virginia.
Point of Honor will be decorated with native greens and authentic holiday table settings based on Federal-era traditions. During the Open House, Riddle on the Harp will perform period music in the parlor, and there will be cooking demonstrations in the hearth kitchen. The T.C. Miller Singing Eagles will be caroling around the grounds. The dining room and other areas in the house will exhibit faux food and table settings from a typical holiday bill of fare from 1815. Refreshments will be served in the Carriage House, and the Gift Shop will offer 10% off during the event on many unique gifts such as books, prints, ceramics, and other special gift items.
Christmas in 1815 was quite different from today. Homes were decorated with greenery but usually in a simple, natural fashion. Families visited with one another and greeted Christmas morning with toasts, the firing of guns into the air, and serving the best food and drink available.
Some families celebrated a high-spirited holiday known as Twelfth Night. The holiday festivities would commence on Christmas Eve with the burning of a ceremonial Yule Log and would continue for 12 days. On the Twelfth Night, a grand celebration would take place. Families would gather together for singing, dancing, and feasting. At the end of the evening, the Yule Log was extinguished and the remains were saved to be used as kindling for next year’s event.
The Christmas we know today came to America when German immigrants arrived in large numbers later in the 19th century, bringing Santa Claus, the hanging of stockings, and the Christmas tree.
The use of Christmas trees in the home is an outgrowth of these German traditions which became popular in America after the 1830s.
For more information, call 455-6226 or 847-1867, or visit www.pointofhonor.org or the Lynchburg Museum System on Facebook.