Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas "a woooonnggg time ago"

Christmas at Latta Plantation. "A 19th century Christmas celebration. Visitors can tour the plantation house to learn about 1800's Christmas customs, see cooking in the kitchen, a slave Christmas in the cabin, make applesauce and paper dove ornaments, and met St. Nick!" Sounds quaint and cozy and fun and interesting, huh?

Not so much. 

The place was crawling with families and each exhibit required waiting in a line outside to get in. With the temperature being all of 42 degrees. With my boys running and falling and kicking and crashing instead of standing still and waiting patiently. With Annalyse howling because she decided it was time to eat. With me wondering why in blazes I thought this was a good idea.

But, when things are free, and when my boys want to be out and about seeing and doing new things, I usually jump on the bandwagon and give 'em a whirl. Such was the case yesterday.

I didn't get many pics, mostly because I was keeping two toddlers from touching old antiques, jamming a pacifier in a baby mouth, or had my hands shoved in my coat pockets to stay warm. But, I did get a few, so here goes:

We visited the plantation last summer and had a great time. Probably because we were the only ones there and because it was in the 80's instead of the 40's outside. The boys recognized things right away and took off running down the dirt road leading up to the Big House.
Since this was our first stop of the tour, we were tricked into thinking it was going to be a casual stroll through the house while we looked at old-fashioned Christmas decor. Wrong. As soon as we stepped inside, chaos. People everywhere. And, since it was an old home, the hallways were narrow, the rooms were small, and the home felt like it was on fire because it was so hot. (I know, I exaggerate. But it makes for good effect, doesn't it?)
Once inside, our first stop was the parlor where the boys got to meet St. Nick. Grady Lee's first words were, "How come he's wearing a dress, Mom? And how come his tummy isn't big like the other Santa we saw?" Apparently, St. Nick in the 1800's looked a tad different than the Santa my boys are accustomed to nowadays.
With candy canes from Santa, I mean, St. Nick, in hand, we headed into the dining room for a demonstration on what Christmas dinner would look like. I'm sure we could have learned some interesting traditions or taste-tested some yummy treats. Instead, after five minutes of being smashed between eager kids and moms refusing to control their kids, we continued on to the next room.
The boys were less than impressed with the straw mattress in the bedroom, the clunky wooden blocks in the children's room, and the chamber pot everyone used at night. "Why didn't they flush their potty?" was all Grady Lee was concerned about.

After the bedrooms, we had a weaving demonstration. Grady Lee was fascinated with how it worked, Micah couldn't keep his hands to himself and wanted to touch the moving machine parts, and Annalyse woke up and started wailing. On to the next room...
After the house tour, where I think we failed to observe and appreciate any of the historic Christmas decor, we headed outside to explore the kitchen and slave buildings. Again, waaay too many people to see much.

When we entered the kitchen building, Micah announced that "it stinks in here and I don't like it!" and Grady Lee was upset that he couldn't see very good and kept saying the smoke hurt his nose.

The barnyard wasn't too exciting either. When it's cold animals don't do a whole lot. They all stood together on the opposite side of the fenced area so we couldn't really see them anyway. The boys were concerned that the water in the trough was frozen and asked if they could climb the fence to jump on it and crack it open.  Desperate for something my boys could actually see and do, I almost said yes.
So there you have it: A quaint and cozy and fun and interesting Christmas from the 1800's. Between you and me, I'm happy it's Christmas 2010.


  1. Oh NO, sorry to hear that the day didn't meet up to expectations :-( but you are ever the trooper & I know the boys probably had a great time none-the-less! Cute pic of the kids with St. Nick!

  2. I loved this post!! My mom and I and the boys really wanted to go but we wouldn't make it back in time for the bus, so alas this trip pasted us by. Now, I am not so sorry we missed it:)

  3. Oh my - well lesson learned - sometimes free is not good. We've all been there when something sounds so good and turns out not. Better luck next time :)