The Flagler Museum is ringing in a Gilded Age holiday season with a secial Christmas tree lighting ceremony and lecture on December 6, 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 6, the tree lighting ceremony will begin early with a special lecture with Ryan Hyman, F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections of the Macculloch Hall Historial Museum at 2 p.m. The Christmas-themed lecture, “Visions of Santa Claus: Iconic Christmas Illustrations By Thomas Nast” will examine the Christmas illustrations produced by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly in the 19th century. Among the more than 30 illustrations, his portrait of Santa Claus donning the red suit and fluffy white beard has had an enduring legacy on the American Chirtmastime tradition, giving face to the jolly St. Nick for generations.
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.
- Admission for the Flagler Museum Christmas Tree Lighting festivites and lecture cost $28 per person ($10 for museum members). Fore more information, visit flaglermuseum.us/programs/christmas-at-whitehall.
Beginning on December 18 through the 23rd, 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 March 26. 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