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Christmas Past - Geffrye Museum (preview)

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IF YOU’VE ever wondered how past generations decorated their homes for Christmas, why not visit the Geffrye Museum where, each year, twelve of its period rooms are decorated in the authentic festive style of Christmases past.

Christmas Past, which runs from November 28, 2006 to January 7, 2007, also explores the origins and meanings of many Christmas traditions – of kissing under the mistletoe, decorating the tree, even of throwing cocktail parties and much, much more…..

There are also a number of workshops and concerts during the exhibition period:

December 2, 2006:
Tudor Greenery Workshop for adults – from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Tickets (which include materials) cost £25 (in advance).
Christmas Creations for children aged 5 and over – from 10.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 4pm.
Christmas Crafts for children aged 3 and over – from 10.30am to 11.45am.

December 6, 2006:
Lunchtime Concert with The Claudia Jones Singers.

December 7, 2006:
Family Evening (5pm to 8pm) – includes festive music from Tudor to Victorian times, and the opportunity to make traditional Tudor gifts such as pomanders and herb bags.

December 9, 2006:
Seasonal Room Talk at 10.30am and again at 11.30am, looks at an Elizabethan Christmas.

December 14:
Concert by Candlelight – at 8pm in the glow of the library’s 12 foot Christmas tree. Tickets cost £12 and include a glass of sherry or port and a mince pie.

January 6, 2007:
Farewell to Christmas – from 4pm to 5pm in the garden, it includes the museum’s own tradition of burning the holly and the ivy.
Three King Crowns for children aged 5 and over – from 10.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 4pm.
Mid-winter Tales for children aged 5 and over – from 11.30am to 12.15pm, from 12.45pm to 1.30pm and again from 2.30pm to 3.15pm.

I visited the Geffrye Museum when I was still at school but I’ve never forgotten it – partly because it was different from other museums but also because it transported me effortlessly to another era; something my history teacher could never do with words and pictures.

Now, with it’s Christmas decorations, workshops and concerts, what better place to capture the true spirit of Christmas.