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The holiday season is here, and the 1897 Poe House is adorned in its most elegant attire. Step back in time and experience the magic of a Victorian Christmas with "Holiday Jubilee at the 1897 Poe House."
The charm and elegance of a bygone era will be on full display from the moment you step through the doors of this beautifully preserved historic home. Each room is adorned with period-appropriate decorations, from twinkling lights to traditional ornaments, and evergreen garlands that fill the air with the scent of the season. The annual "Holiday Jubilee" celebration will transport you to a time when Christmas was truly a grand affair, filled with lavish decorations, festive music and an abundance of joy and merriment.

The 1897 Poe House served as the residence for the E.A. Poe family. E.A. Poe, a prominent local entrepreneur, was the proprietor of the Poe Brick Company.

The construction of the house took place towards the conclusion of the Victorian era. Megan Maxwell, the Education Coordinator at the Poe House from 1897, granted Up and Coming Weekly a special preview of the exquisitely decorated residence as she prepared for the upcoming "Holiday Jubilee" celebration. She also shared her expert knowledge on the customs and traditions of a Victorian Christmas, as well as how the 1897 Poe House incorporates modern elements into these age-old practices.

Maxwell mentioned that the 1897 Poe House has been hosting the "Holiday Jubilee" for a minimum of two decades. It typically takes her approximately one week to prepare and adorn the house for the festive season.

Old-world charm and holiday nostalgia are in every corner. Imagine walking through rooms adorned with lavish decorations, from garlands and wreaths to twinkling lights and ornaments. Victorian Christmas traditions and the elegance of the house intertwine to create a truly magical experience. Feel the magic of the season come alive before your eyes.

The Victorian Era, spanning from 1837 to 1901, was influenced by and named after Queen Victoria. She was crowned in England in 1837 and reigned for 64 years.

Queen Victoria's love for Christmas and her desire to create a joyous and festive atmosphere for her family and subjects had a significant impact on the way Christmas was celebrated during her time on the throne.

The Victorian era was a time when Christmas traditions as we know them today began to take shape. It was during this period that many of the customs and practices we associate with the holiday season were established.

Prince Albert, who was originally from Germany, introduced many German Christmas traditions to the royal household. Most notable was a decorated Christmas Tree. In 1848 it was not typical for households to have a Christmas tree.

However, that all changed once pictures of the king and queen’s Christmas tree, appearing in newspapers like the Illustrated London News and magazines like the Ladies Home Journal, were shown decorated with large colorful ornaments, candles and tinsel. The decorations of a Victorian Christmas were lavish and ornate, reflecting the opulence and elegance of the era.

The sight of a beautifully decorated tree, adorned with candles, ornaments and gifts, became a symbol of Christmas joy and abundance.

Natural elements, such as evergreen garlands, mistletoe and holly, also used to decorate the home for Christmas, were believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

The Poe House features an elegant tree adorned with the same Victorian charm in the parlor, as well as traditional holiday foliage throughout the entire house.

However, in order to prioritize safety and prevent the attraction of pests, the 1897 Poe House opted for faux greenery instead of live plants. Similarly, a faux evergreen tree with electric lights is used in place of wax candles. This choice not only eliminates the risk of fire hazards but also reduces the need for extensive cleanup that would come with using real greenery.

As a historic house, it is important to consider these factors while still maintaining a festive atmosphere and historical accuracy.

Another type of Christmas tree, inspired by Victorian times, is their scrap ornament tree. During the time, people showcased their creativity by creating unique ornaments to decorate their trees.

During the late 1800s, sheets of die-cuts were available for purchase, either connected with tabs or cut out from Christmas postcards, magazines, and other printed materials.

A variety of options were available including Santa, children, angels, cherubs and flowers. Women's magazines provided instructions on creating ornaments with these die-cuts as well as any other craft scraps one would have around the house. To make ornaments, women or children decorated their die-cut ornaments with materials like wire tinsel, spun glass, colored cellophane, crepe paper and cotton batting.

The 1897 Poe House has a beautifully decorated scrap Christmas tree on the second floor. It showcases many great examples of Victorian creativity and is adorned with the same handmade ornaments you would have seen on the Poe family’s tree back in their time.

During the Victorian era, Christmas dinner was a highly formal event and undoubtedly the most significant meal of the year. The 1897 Poe House dining room will not disappoint in the formal department.

Decked out in evergreen, holly and red ribbon, the table is adorned with the fanciest of dishes, the finest tablecloth and matching silverware. It has a festive and inviting atmosphere ready for a holiday meal.

Maxwell shared with us a Christmas day menu printed in Ladies Home Journal in 1897. The menu started with oysters on the half shell and ended with plum pudding with hard sauce. Fourteen courses, anyone?

If you are looking for a few more tips to have a traditional Victorian Christmas, put your Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve and keep it up until January 6th. Decorate it with popcorn and cranberry garland and ribbon woven through the branches.

Don’t forget the tree topper, an angel, on top. Use lots of natural greenery. Use evergreen garlands, holly, and mistletoe to adorn the walls, mantels, and staircases in your home. If you hang mistletoe, stand underneath it and take a berry off for a kiss. If there are no berries left….no kisses.

The “Holiday Jubilee at the 1897 Poe House” will be Dec. 3rd from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a rain-or-shine event. This year's event includes complimentary performances by the Coventry Carolers at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. and the Fayetteville Sound Barbershop Chorus at 2, 3 and 4 p.m., who will be presenting beloved holiday songs for guests on the front porch of the Poe House.

Santa and Mrs. Claus are available to participate in photo sessions and share heartwarming Christmas tales. Parents have the opportunity to capture their own cherished moments with Santa, who will be stationed inside the Museum of the Cape Fear.

Some other notable features of this occasion include a live cooking demonstration using the vintage 1902 Glenwood stove, the opportunity to create and keep your very own handmade ornament made from scrap materials, as well as the availability of refreshing cider and delicious cookies.

Whether you're a history enthusiast, a lover of holiday traditions, or simply seeking a unique and enchanting experience, the Victorian Christmas celebration at the 1897 Poe House promises to be a memorable event that will transport you to a bygone era of elegance and joy.

If you are unable to attend the “Holiday Jubilee,” the 1897 Poe House will be decorated through January 8 and special costumed tours will be offered on selected dates. Expert docent, Ruth Aldridge, will guide you through the Poe House and help you learn more about Victorian Christmas traditions. Tours will last 45 minutes, and admission is free.

Learn more about the "Holiday Jubilee" and guided holiday tours at https://www.facebook.com/MuseumoftheCapeFear/.

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