Holiday Nights Captures the Warmth of the Christmas Season
Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village could accurately be described as a fine balance of claustrophobia and nostalgia. Entry into the Village on a sold-out night is a bottleneck of families walking with no particular sense of direction, pushing double-wide strollers, and trying not to get hit by slowly moving Model Ts. I empathized with the parents who had to plan for an evening out, dressing tired kids in layers of warm clothes and readying themselves for requests for sugar cookies and toys. At $24 per ticket for adults and $18 per ticket for youths (ages 5-12), is it really worth the cost and effort? In my opinion, it is.
From an adult’s perspective, Holiday Nights offers the rare opportunity to grab a hot cocktail, enjoy the brisk air, scented by bonfires and holiday greens, and learn about history. Mummers roam the streets creating mischief, Dickensian carolers randomly gather in song, and immediately the winter magic of childhood is rekindled. This experience is why Holiday Nights continues to sell out year after year and was voted Top Holiday Event by USA Today and Reader’s Digest.
During my three hours at the Village, I took in as much history as I could. The open buildings ran the gamut from undecorated houses of the mid-1700s, to an Edwardian Christmas celebration at the Edison Homestead circa 1915, and a brief, but touching, reminder of WWII at the Cotswold Cottage, temporarily reimagined as a Red Cross Hospitality Station at Christmas. The undecorated homes offer insight into the evolution of Christmas traditions, as explained by the re-enactors. For foodies, some homes, like the Edison Homestead, place a special emphasis on holiday cooking.
In addition to history lessons, guests can ice skate, indulge in roast beef sandwiches and roasted chestnuts, and take free rides in a horse-drawn carriage or Model T. For those with children, activities include a gingerbread house craft, storytelling, and writing a letter to Santa. The highlights of the evening, besides Santa at the Robert Frost Home, are the fireworks and sing-along before the Village closes promptly at 10.