Everything has a history, even the celebration of holidays. Some people who visit eighteenth century historic sites at Christmas ask where the Christmas trees are. Trees are a nineteenth century thing. George Washington never put up a Christmas tree at Mount Vernon. (But he did bring in a camel to amuse his holiday guests!) Even Santa changes his look from time to time. I am fortunate to live in the Washington, D.C. area, abundant with history places of all shapes and sizes. Below are three of my favorite posts from Christmases past. From a tour of Mount Vernon’s basement and a surprise camel appearance, to Santa at a Civil War fort, and the spectacular beauty of the U.S. Botanic Garden, enjoy these musings on historic sites at the holidays.
And if you’re looking for a gift for history lovers in your life, my latest book, The World Turned Upside Down: The Yorktown Victory That Won America’s Independence, is available at booksellers everywhere. It’s a tale of both military strategy and spies and secrets, including the little known story of James, an enslaved man who served as a spy for General Lafayette at great risk, hoping to secure his freedom. Check out my other books here.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I hope you’ve started dreaming about which history sites you could visit in 2023. I already have… I haven’t been to Charleston in a long time, a friend moved to a new town in Louisiana closer to two places I’ve always wanted to visit, Vicksburg and Natchez, my list is beginning.