Santa is now at his Shanty on Lincoln Square, and as of Sunday, December 1, President Eisenhower's home is now prepared and ready to receive holiday visitors with the annual Eisenhower Christmas. As Mamie Eisenhower loved decorating for Christmas, the Eisenhower National site will be decked out for the holidays in the traditional sense with recreated décor she was known for including holly, mistletoe, wreaths and more. A life-size Santa Claus can be found on the porch and gifts of sugar cookies and plum pudding in the kitchen, awaiting the arrival of the Eisenhower grandchildren. In addition to the recreated Eisenhower traditions, there will be a special reception featuring free cookies and cider on Saturday, Dec. 14. An Eisenhower Christmas runs through the end of the month, Dec. 31 and is closed on Christmas Day.
Throughout the week, the town will prepare its transformation into an old-time Civil War Christmas setting. On Friday, Dec. 6, 500 wreaths will be placed on the graves at the Soldier's National Cemetery. Sponsored by the Sergeant Mac Foundation, these wreaths will remain on the gravesites throughout the holiday season.
Also, this Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7 marks the 4th annual Gingerbread Celebration and Holiday Mart. As Gettysburg Festival's annual fundraising event to benefit local non-profits, the Gingerbread Celebration will take place at the Gettysburg Campus of Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). Gingerbread houses, people and other creations will be on display during this event that is free and open to the public to attend. New to this year's event are two new features—a category for the prize in the People's Choice voting, a live auction of gingerbread houses, and a ticketed reception on Friday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. featuring culinary samplings from top area chefs and a live Gingerbread House auction. Vendors and area artisans and crafters will be on site during the Gingerbread Celebration by presenting a cheerful Holiday Mart. For more information, visit www.GettysburgFestival.org.
Saturday festivities will really start rolling in come evening time at 7 p.m. when the parade comes to town. The annual Olde Thyme Gettysburg Christmas Parade will begin formation on Baltimore Street at Gettysburg Tours and then begin its march through town at 7 p.m. The parade procession will follow Baltimore Street down to Lincoln Square, turn on to York Street and then head to Liberty Street where it will end at the Middle School on LeFever Street. Following the parade, be sure to gather in Lincoln Square for the annual lighting of the large Christmas tree in the center. Santa's Shanty will be open extended evening hours on this day, so children and visit St. Nick and tell him what they want this season!
If you're you're looking for a more grownup way to ring in the holiday season, the 1860s Holiday Ball may be more of your style. On Sunday, Dec. 8, head to the Refreshment Saloon at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center to experience a Victorian-style high tea complete with period piece musical accompaniment between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Gettysburg Foundation. For more information, call 877-874-2478.
Throughout the month there will be many ongoing events and attractions to combine the historic appeal of Gettysburg and the traditional holiday cheer to be found this season. Every night the Gettysburg Village Outlets presents its Festival of Lights with over a thousand lights illuminating the shopping pathway nightly through Jan. 1. Santa will be on the scene through Dec 23 on Fridays, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays, from noon to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. There are also carriage rides offered around the Gettysburg Village on Fridays and Saturdays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Be sure to keep up to date on all the holiday happenings around town throughout the month.