My husband and I kicked off the holidays with a visit to the Holiday Nights event at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Greenfield Village is a magical place any time, but during this event the simplicity and beauty of an old time Christmas really comes alive. The only light is by lanterns lighting the paths or Edison light bulbs strung here and there. The sounds of Christmas carols fill the air, along with the jingling bells of horse drawn wagons. There are also authentic Model T cars whizzing around the streets, giving short, but fun rides.
The village main street is filled with activity and volunteers in period costumes stroll from store to store. There are wares for sale, made by village artisans, chestnuts roasting and hot chocolate to warm you up. You can even bring your ice skates and skate under the stars.
The authentic artisan shops provide demonstrations of crafts, by volunteer artists, such as glass blowing and pottery.
There are beautifully restored homes and businesses from the 1700's, 1800's and the early 1900's. All are decorated for Christmas, befitting their time period. In most homes there are docents telling the history or giving an authentic cooking demonstration. There is no electricity used (except in Edison's laboratory) so the candle and lantern lit rooms are beautiful.
It is interesting to note that in many of the homes in those early time periods of history, there would not have been elaborate Christmas celebrations due to their Puritan roots. There was simple greenery used as decoration and a special meal may have been prepared. As years went by Christmas celebrations became more elaborate and it is interesting to see the progression in these authentically decorated historic homes.
The evening ends with fire works set to the sound of carolers on the village green - a beautiful end to a magical night.