Civil War Christmas at Leesylvania State Park

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The Civil War was a dark and pivotal time in American History, but that didn’t prevent the spread of holiday cheer! During a time of great sorrow and limited resources, the Christmas spirit inspired folks to invent new ways to celebrate the season. Do you know where your Christmas traditions started?

Thomas Nast created the iconic image of Santa Claus we know today in an illustration he drew for Harper’s Weekly around 1863.  The billowing white beard, nose like a cherry, and round-bellied figure bearing a sack full of toys soon became synonymous with the secular aspects of the holiday.

Experience the Christmas season as it was celebrated by Civil War soldiers and their families at home.  Take a look at the historical traditions of the season – from decorating a tree the way it may have been in the 1860s, to discussing gifts and favorite holiday foods.  This hands-on approach to the history of the Civil War and Christmas traditions features family friendly activities and  the chance to interact with costumed interpreters as they share stories and talk about life in the 1860s.  Don’t forget to come on Saturday, the Manassas Chanticleers ( ) will be caroling from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Our Civil War Christmas program will take place on Saturday, December 15, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 16, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  Bring the entire family out for an afternoon of holiday cheer.


For more information please contact the Visitor Center at (703)583-6904.  Also, don’t forget the camera Santa will be there!


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