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Home for the Holidays

Every year Lindsay Mican Morgan, the caretaker of the Thorne Miniature Rooms, chooses a new room to add to our collection of rooms decorated with historically accurate holiday decorations. This year, she picked the Pennsylvania Dutch Kitchen from the 1750s and conducted extensive research on how the family that might have lived in this home would have celebrated the holidays.

She discovered that the people who lived in this house would likely have been Lutheran and would have celebrated the coming of the Christ-kindel, or Christ child. The Christ-kindel would bring small gifts for the children in the house and leave them in a rye basket filled with linen, which was meant to signify the manger and swaddling clothes. A bale of hay sits by the door to reference hay that the family would leave out for the old grey mule that would carry the Christkindl—another reference to the Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem. It's also quite similar to how, in present day, some people leave out carrots for reindeer. Other holiday decorations in the room include a hand-carved wooden cookie mold, a turkey, and ice skates hung over the bannister.

But it doesn't stop there. Because you can see through the doors and windows "outside" the room, Morgan worked with a local artist to reproduce the landscape, but change it to a winter scene. She also changed the quality of the lighting in the warm to a bulb with a cooler tone that more accurately reflects the sun's light in colder months.

Stay tuned for more on the Thorne Rooms in the coming weeks!