It’s hard to imagine celebrating the holidays without plug-in Santas waving from neighborhood front yards and favorite seasonal movies on TV or the iPad. It really wasn’t so long ago, though, that celebrations were simpler. This holiday season, take a cue from The Ghost of Christmas Past and check out these opportunities in Des Moines to see what Christmas celebrations used to look and sound like.
Salisbury House • 4025 Tonawanda Drive • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 274-1777
A high point of the yuletide season, this joyous celebration of the holidays features Salisbury House and other distinctive, historic, and unique locations at their holiday best. Throughout the event, each room of Salisbury House will be decorated by local interior designers, florists, and home furnishing stores. There will be live holiday music performed in Salisbury House’s Common Room and a visit from Santa Claus. Other locations on tour include Drake University Alumni House, The Wallace House, West End Architectural Salvage, and the Central Presbyterian Church Holiday Market.
Terrace Hill • 2300 Grand Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 281-7205
Celebrate the spirit of the season, as the doors of Terrace Hill open to the public. Join them in the glow of glamorous holiday decorations, learn about the history of Terrace Hill and enjoy complimentary refreshments in Victorian splendor!
Living History Farms • 11121 Hickman Road • Urbandale, IA 50322 • (515) 278-5286
Bundle up for a horse-drawn wagon ride to visit the festive Flynn Mansion. Enjoy an old fashioned holiday social with dance music in the Church of the Land. Kids will enjoy printing their own holiday greeting cards, decorating cookies, making crafts, and visiting Santa Claus!
Olmstead House • 4010 70th Street • Urbandale, Iowa 50322 • (515) 270-2917
Join UCAN, the City of Urbandale and the Urbandale Historical Society for a Centennial Holiday Celebration! Tour the Olmsted House decorated for the holidays, take a FREE family holiday photo and tour the candy cane walk. Enjoy Urbandale choirs singing holiday songs in Spanish, Bosnian and English to represent the many cultures of Urbandale.
Jordan House • 2001 Fuller Road • West Des Moines, IA 50265 • (515) 225-1286
Bring the family to a celebration of the holidays at the historic Jordan House and Bennett School! The beautifully decorated Jordan House will feature refreshments, live music in a lovely Victorian setting. The Bennett School will offer family friendly crafts and activities and music in this one-room schoolhouse. (The Bennett School is located at 4001 Fuller Road.)
Clive Depot • 8614 Swanson Boulevard • Clive, IA 50325 • (515) 635-5247
Visit Clive Historical Society’s Open House before attending the ‘Light the Plaza’ event at Aasheim Plaza. Start with refreshments at the General Store and Depot, followed by the tree lighting and then see Santa at Bruegger’s – 1650 86th Street, Clive. Make it an evening of historical fun.
How does your family incorporate some traditions of the past into your own modern-day holiday celebrations?