9 Incredible Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with a Historic Twist

Add some historic holiday cheer to your celebrations this year! Embrace the fun, traditions, and beauty of an old-fashioned holiday season here in Pennsylvania, where unique shopping experiences, stunningly decorated historic homes, and engaging reenactments will inspire holiday cheer throughout the season.

1. Bellefonte Victorian Christmas


Enjoy three days of old-fashioned holiday merriment at the Bellefonte Victorian Christmas, Dec. 13-14, in Bellefonte. Special Victorian and children’s teas, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers and musicians, and the Festival of Trees are among the holiday wonders that await visitors. For a special treat, be sure to book your reservation for Fezziwig’s Holiday Dinner Party where you’ll enjoy a traditional dinner, old-time parlor games, a Yorkshire Yawning Contest, and traditional Yule Log Ceremony, along with a host of Charles Dickens characters.

2. Olde Time Christmas

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe turns back the clock and is all decked out in Victorian style for the annual Olde Time Christmas celebration with special events during three magical weekends: Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15, and Dec. 21-22. The celebration kicks off with the annual tree lighting ceremony. There will be train rides with Santa, strolling carolers and musicians, holiday shopping, and plenty of free family activities!

3. Eisenhower Christmas


Travel back to the 1950s with an Eisenhower Christmas at the Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg. During the month of December, the former president’s home is decked out in its holiday best — welcoming visitors with boughs of pine and holly, a traditional tree surrounded by presents, and a dining room table beautifully set for Christmas dinner with President Eisenhower's own Wedgwood china and silver. Pass the green bean casserole, please!

4. Peoples Gas Holiday Market ™


Looking for a special present for that special someone? You’re bound to find it at a one-of-a-kind shopping village at Peoples Gas Holiday Market ™ in historic Market Square in Pittsburgh, open daily through Dec. 23. Explore wooden chalets filled with high quality gifts while enjoying live entertainment at this illuminated public space dating back to the 1760s that housed the first courthouse, jail, and newspaper west of the Atlantic Plain. Enter the Holiday Karaoke contest, and you just might take home the $1,000 grand prize!

5. Washington Crossing the Delaware Reenactment

Washington Crossing

Grab your fellow history buffs and gather on the banks of the Delaware River on Dec. 25 to watch the 67th annual reenactment of General George Washington’s daring Christmas Day river crossing at Washington Crossing. Several hundred reenactors dressed in full Continental military garb listen to an inspiring speech by General Washington and then row across the river in replica Durham boats. Can’t make it on the 25th? Watch the First Crossing Reenactment on Dec. 8 where you’ll also enjoy special colonial-era activities and demonstrations in the Historic Village.

6. Yuletide at Wheatland


Experience three historic periods of Christmas displays at Yuletide at Wheatland, the home of former President James Buchanan in Lancaster. Running Monday, Nov. 25 through Monday, Dec. 30, the two-story mansion tour takes you through exhibits from the early Victorian era to the dazzling 1920s. Grab your tickets for a history-themed guided tour and see the spectacular holiday displays for yourself!

7. A Bethlehem Christmas


The Lehigh Valley is the place to be this holiday season! Rooted in holiday charm and delights, A Bethlehem Christmas invites you to take a peek into 1700s Moravian life, experience local traditions (including the city’s Live Advent Calendar), and peruse unique offerings at the city’s small businesses and at Christkindlmarkt on weekends through Dec. 22.

8. Historic Houses of Fairmount Park


You say Philly, we say food, music, and Fairmount. Historic Houses of Fairmount Park is celebrating its 48th year of delighting visitors with this year’s very special theme: “A Very Philly Christmas.” You won’t want to miss this beloved holiday tradition, which showcases five of the park’s treasured historic houses throughout December.

9. Fort Ligonier


Shout a final Huzzah! to the holiday season and welcome the new year at the Fort Ligonier Twelfth Night Celebration, Jan. 4, 2020 in Ligonier. You’ll want to don your finest 18th century clothing as you dance the night away to traditional period music and savor traditional treats and spirits.

For even more ideas on how to celebrate the holidays this year in PA, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state.

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