The Flagler Museum is ringing in a Gilded Age holiday season with a secial Christmas tree lighting ceremony and lecture on December 7, and after-hour evening tours of Whitehall running from December 18-23.
Every December, the historic Whitehall mansion is decorated throughout, including a 16-foot Christmas tree in the Grand Hall adorned with lights and traditional Gilded Age-style ornaments. What has been a tradition for four decades running, Henry Flagler’s youngest descendants have lit the tree on the first Sunday of December.
On December 7, the tree lighting ceremony will begin early with a special lecture with historian Mary Wiley Theobold at 2 p.m. “Christmas Ornaments of the Gilded Age” will explore the festive decorative styles and trends of Gilded Age ornaments, and how they evolved throughout the early twentieth century.
Following the lecture, seasonal refreshments will be served in the West Room beginning at 3 p.m. For the wee ones, Santa Claus will be checking wish lists on the Pavilion from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Holiday music will be played on the Steinway Piano in the Drawing Room at 3:40, 4 and 4:20 p.m., while holiday caroling will enliven the Courtyard at 4:30 p.m. At 4:55 p.m., the coup de grâce of the afternoon will take place in the Grand Hall, when Flagler’s youngest descendants light the tree.
Beginning on December 18 nightly tours will offer visitors a unique chance to see Whitehall by the glow of the original 1902 light fixtures. During the tour, choral groups will sing carols, and holiday refreshments will be served—every guest will a traditional Flagler Museum Christmas Cracker following the tour.
- Tours are hosted at 7:05, 7:15 and 7:25 p.m. on December 18-19; 6:50, 7:05, 7:15 and 7:25 p.m. on December 20-23.
- Tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for children and must be purchased in advance.
Come back to Whitehall during the day to experience yet another Palm Beach favorite. The museum’s Café des Beaux-Arts is open for the season until April 4. Each afternoon, a Gilded Age-style lunch is offered, featuring gourmet tea sandwiches, traditional scones and sweets, as well as the museum’s own Whitehall Special Blend tea ($40 per person, $22 for members).
*Photo courtesy of the Henry Morrison Flagler Msueum