useum celebrates traditional Christmas

By Gloria Carr

DeKalb’s Ellwood House will hold a traditional Victorian Christmas with festive decorations and music during “A Children’s Celebration.”

“It’s a good way to kick off the holiday season,” said Gerald Brauer, director of the museum.

The Ellwood House, a thirty-room mansion, was built in 1879 by barbed-wire baron Isaac Ellwood. It is decorated every year by museum volunteers, community and college organizations and businesses, Brauer said.

“It’s exciting because of the community spirit. Everyone at the store is also involved,” said Wenke Hansen, owner of Annie Glidden Flowers. Glidden Flowers has been participating in the celebration for about 10 years.

Hansen said last year’s display was the most memorable. “I suppose the tree people liked most was the tree with roses. We had hundreds of roses and baby breath on the tree,” she said.

Brauer said hundreds of people visit Ellwood House during the Christmas celebration.

Kris Wreen, manager of Carefree Flowers, said the house’s appeal is the atmosphere.

“It reminds people of an old-fashioned, traditional Christmas. It puts them in the spirit,” Wreen said. “There is such a special aura. We feel it’s a special honor to be involved in it.”

The Christmas spirit will be brought to life this year with a variety of groups performing holiday music. The Stage Coach Players will be in costume to perform a Victorian holiday celebration with dancing and singing in the ballroom.

Also, gifts and stocking stuffers will be on sale at the Holiday Bazaar in the lower level of the mansion. These products include Christmas greens, dried florals, ornaments, wooden crafts, toys, handmade textiles, jewelry, country folk art and baked goods.

The Little House, a children’s playhouse, will feature Santa Claus and his antique sleigh. The Carriage House will display a collection of old-fashioned, horse-drawn vehicles.

The Ellwood House celebration will be on Dec. 4 from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. It will continue Dec. 5 through Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission to the celebration is $3.50 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 14.