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Christmas at Chatham

By Rebekah Oakes, park historian and webmaster, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

Join park staff and living historians for Christmas at Chatham, 12 – 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. Chatham Manor is located at 120 Chatham Lane in Stafford County.

Visit with Civil War Santa, learn how soldiers and civilians experienced Christmas during the Civil War, and participate in 19th Century Christmas traditions.

Park staff will be distributing time cards at Chatham’s front desk, so that each family will know exactly when to report for their visit with Santa. Due to the popularity of the program, families should anticipate a wait to see Santa, and are encouraged to enjoy some of the other activities:

Union soldiers encamped on the riverside terraces will share stories about being in camp for Christmas, and how soldiers entertained themselves during the cold winter months. There will be displays of the items they would receive as gifts from home. Civil War Era civilians in the house will talk about being on the home front during the holidays, and celebrating Christmas in a 19th-century home.

Educational activities will be available in the house. Children can decipher a Civil War era letter, and discover what soldiers wrote home when they were away in camp for the holidays. Another station will focus on different Christmas traditions from the 19th century, including how people decorated Christmas trees, and the types of gifts they received. Kids will be able to compare Christmas in the 1860s to Christmas today, and make a personalized ornament to hang on the tree.

Friends of Chatham will be serving light refreshments in the Summer House.

The program will occur at

For additional information, visit the website at www.nps.gov/frsp, our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FredericksburgSpotsylvaniaNMP, or call Chatham at 540-693-3200 ext. 1030.

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