Explore The History of Christmas at Haldimand County Museum and Archives

On Wednesday, December 5 at 1:00 p.m., Haldimand County Museum and Archives will host its 12th Annual Christmas Tea & Talk. This year, curator Karen Richardson will explore the history of Christmas celebrations and traditions over the past 235 years.

“The earliest settlers to Haldimand County were loyalists. Despite facing many hardships, they continued to celebrate Christmas with traditions and customs from their home countries,” said Richardson. Loyalist settlers of German descent brought the idea of a Christmas tree to Upper Canada. Decorations were natural and included pine cones, nuts, holly berries, feathers and chains made of cranberries and popcorn,” she added.

Even the custom of “decking the halls” – draping walls with evergreen garland – came from the British Isles and was introduced over a century ago by settlers in their Upper Canada cabins. The Victorian era ushered in a much more elaborate Christmas tree; while homemade ornaments were still utilized, precious glass ornaments and gilled gold began to adorn the tree. WWI had a major influence on holiday celebrations, as well. Trees were decorated with a patriotic theme and included union jack flags and paper ornaments.

In addition to Richardson’s talk, attendees will be treated to delicious homemade scones, tea and sweet treats. The cost to register is $10 per person, and pre-registration is required. Interested individuals may register online or at any Haldimand County office using program code 8060.

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