Candlelight Christmas on the Brazos

December 22, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The home of Anson Jones, last President of the Republic of Texas, located at the Barrington Living History Farm on the Washington-On-The-Brazos State Historic Site. Christmas in Texas in the 1800’s generated scenes of horseback travelers and wagons loaded with friends and family gathering to celebrate. Christmas get-togethers of yesteryear had many of the same experiences and traditions that we treasure today. Some of those Christmas components would look very different to us. Christmas Revelers of yesteryear would dine on food they raised or killed, exchange handmade gifts, and dance with one another. Their Christmas trees were often juniper bushes adorned with handmade ornaments and candles. When trying to imagine Christmas on the prairie back in the old West, a great place to start is at the “Birthplace of Texas.”

 

The “Birthplace of Texas” is located along the Brazos River at Washington-On-The-Brazos, a scenic 40 minute drive south from College Station or 20 minutes from Brenham. This former settlement turned State Historic Site was host to the Texas Convention of 1836, where 59 Texas delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. The State Historic Site now features three main attractions: Independence Hall (a replica of the building where the Texas Declaration was signed in 1836, located on the original site), the Barrington Living History Farm (home of Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas), and the Star of the Republic Museum.

 

Every December, there is a one-day opportunity to step back in time at the Barrington Living History Farm to see what Christmas was like in Texas in the 19th Century. A candlelight tour of Anson and Mary Jones’ home and surrounding farm facilities makes Christmas history come to life; complete with reenactments, music, dancing, bonfires, Christmas readings, and an 1850’s Santa Claus. This typically takes place around the second weekend in December, but click here to access a site calendar. 

Candlelight Christmas at Washington-On-The-Brazos allows visitors to do a little Texas time traveling and become Christmas guests of Republic of Texas President, Anson Jones, and his wife Mary Jones.

A reenactment of Anson and Mary Jones lighting candles on a Christmas tree inside the historic Jones home. It is one thing to read about Christmas in times gone by, it is quite another to immerse yourself in a long-ago time period with sights, smells, buildings, reenactments, and readings that carry you to a different place and time.

 

Here are some tips to ensure that you and your family have a merry time when you go:

  • Dress warm and wear comfortable shoes. This is a walking tour, and some of the sites are about 100 yards apart.
  • The tour takes a good hour to complete. Groups of visitors leave in intervals. It is recommended that you call ahead of time and reserve a time-slot for your family or group.
  • Enjoy cookies and hot cider at the Barrington Farm check-in facility.
  • Take your camera. This event happens at night, so pack a tripod to steady your camera for low-light shots.
  • Take some friends. This is a memory-maker and a wonderful holiday event to share with friends and family. It would also make an outstanding creative date.
  • After your tour, enjoy a great meal right around the corner at R Place restaurant.
  • Don’t let cold weather discourage you from going! Even in the coldest weather, this event is a classic and well worth it. My family and I participated in this a couple of years ago when the wind was up and temperatures were down. We almost did not go because of this; however, we were all so glad that we went. We bundled up and had a super time. Thinking about the pioneers living through those conditions on a regular basis made us all pause to think about the perilous times of our ancestors and prompted us to give thanks for our modern comforts. 

Time-period actors revive the traditions, sights, and smells of Christmas in Texas in the 1850’s at Washington-On-The-Brazos’ Candlelight Christmas. For more information on the Candlelight Christmas celebration, check out these helpful Websites:

 


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