Do you ever wonder how soldiers embroiled in combat celebrate Christmas?
It may depend on a few things, most notably the time period and what soldiers had on hand, according to Beth MacCausland, co-chair of a soldiers’ Christmas living history program coming to Graeme Park on Nov. 24.
“(Revolutionary War soldiers) didn’t really celebrate Christmas like we do,” MacCausland said. “It was more new years.”
Living historians will be on hand to tell guests what they got over the holiday season and what was going on around Graeme Park nearly 300 years ago when Sir William Keith, the former governor of Pennsylvania, lived at what is now the 42-acre historic site.
In addition to soldiers representing the Revolutionary War, MacCausland said Civil War, and World War II re-enactors – including Germans and their horses - will be on hand to show what their holiday decorations would have looked like and talk about traditions during those time periods.
Civil War soldiers, for instance, decorated their trees with "hard tack and pork," materials that were readily accessible on the front lines. They would have used popcorn, dried fruit, pinecones and paper decorations for home celebrations.
Jim Cherry, a living historian and former Hatboro resident, said Civil War re-enactors will be set up in tents, while those from WWII, will be “held up writing letters,” with wine or bourbon in hand.
“That’s what the guys would’ve done they would’ve gotten drunk,” Cherry said. “It’s just living history and how the soldiers fared during the Christmas holiday.”
One of the guys may bring an old phonograph to play old records and another participant’s wife may do some period cooking in the Keith House during the event, he said.
The intent, he said, was to “do something different.”
“You don’t usually see that too much,” Cherry said of holiday-themed living history programs.
And, unlike most Graeme Park events, Saturday’s program will be free, which MacCausland chalks up to an early Christmas gift for attendees.
“IF Graeme Park doesn’t make money or a lot of money or any money on this, it’s ok,” MacCausland said. “It’s Christmas. We feel like offering to the public so they know that Graeme Park is there.”
If you go
Graeme Park’s A Soldier’s Christmas will be held on Nov. 24 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information on the event, click here for Patch’s events calendar listing.