Take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern holidays and experience a real old-fashioned Christmas at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. On Saturday, December 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. visitors to Fort Nisqually can join in parlor games, make ornaments and learn popular songs and dances from the period. Father Christmas will be available for visits and photos. Visitors are invited join in greeting the yule log with toasts and Christmas Carols and will have a chance to take home a piece of the log for their own holiday fire.
This year brings some new experiences to this beloved holiday event. Local storyteller Jerry Eckrom will recite A Visit from St. Nicholas, first published in 1823. Guests will have an opportunity to roast and grind their own coffee beans and sample sweet treats prepared from 19th century recipes in the Fort’s period kitchen and bake oven. Also new this year, families can make Christmas crackers, brightly colored tubes filled with surprises that pop when pulled apart.
Christmas Regale has its roots in the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. On Christmas, Fort Nisqually’s manager regularly gave “the best rations the place could afford” — typically meat, flour, molasses, sugar and tallow — to the Fort’s laborers. The Native Americans named the holiday “Hyas Sunday,” Chinook jargon for “Big Sunday.” Dancing and singing were recorded in the Fort’s historical journals.
Event admission is $8-$10, and children 3 and younger are free. For more information visit or call (253) 404-3970.
, operated by , is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost and headquarters of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. Visitors travel back in time and experience life in Washington Territory during the 1850s. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the granary and the factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a visitor center with museum store.