On December 6, the Winterthur Galleries will close to the public at 4:00 pm.

Yuletide Tour Sneak Preview


Enchanting trees are a signature part of every Yuletide, and this year is no different. In celebration of 30 years of Winterthur’s famous dried-flower tree, we are showcasing this annual favorite in the Conservatory, where it will be surrounded by a living tribute of flowers and blooming plants.

Lending even more eye candy to this year’s Yuletide Tour will be two new trees: one celebrating the garden in autumn, which is inspired by the colors of the season and H. F. du Pont’s boyhood collections of rocks, shells, and other trophies; and another tree that pays tribute to the exhibition Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, which will sparkle with stained glass, doing its best to steal the spotlight from the famed dried-flower tree.

In honor of another exhibition, A Colorful Folk, you’ll see displays that explore holiday practices of the Pennsylvania Germans, who introduced Americans to such seasonal standards as the Christmas tree, the charity bazaar, and the tradition of the gift giver. Another tree seen in Pennsylvania German homes in the 1800s was a laurel tree stripped of its leaves and wrapped in cotton batting to form a snowy backdrop for a display of colorful ornaments. Winterthur’s cotton tree adorns the scene in one room where the early Germanic gift giver called Belsnickle is just arriving to surprise the children with his rewards for good behavior. We’ll take a stroll around a mid-19th-century holiday bazaar as well.

What would Yuletide be without a nod to the du Pont family traditions? Come see what a New Year’s gathering in the 1890s looked like. Women of the family displayed the gifts they had received from the male relations who had called on them throughout the day. Then you’ll be a fly on the wall for an extravagant dinner party that celebrated the family’s first 100 years in America, held on New Year’s Day 1900, with as many as 100 family members attending. You’ll explore celebrations to honor the staff who worked behind the scenes to make the holidays at Winterthur a delightful experience for the family and their guests. These include the annual staff parties held through the 1950s, at which all of the estate families received gifts from the du Ponts in front of a tree bedecked with new-fangled “bubble” lights.

It’s a magical time of year made even more special when you take in the sights of Yuletide at Winterthur. Celebrate the season with us and wrap yourself in the beauty of the holidays.

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