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.
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:
For more information on the Candlelight Christmas celebration, check out these helpful Websites: