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Noah Webster House to Host ‘Christmas with the Websters’ Holiday Program

Courtesy image

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will offer the traditional theatrical program ‘Christmas with the Websters’ for two weekends in December.

Stringing cranberries, Christmas with the Websters 2018. Courtesy photo

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Just in time for the holiday season, the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will offer a special theatrical program that depicts the traditions of Christmases past.

On Dec. 14, 15, 20, and 21, 2019, the Noah Webster House will offer “Christmas with the Websters,”a special theatrical holiday tour from 5 to 8 p.m.

Rebecca Greenleaf Webster with lantern, Christmas with the Websters 2018. Courtesy photo

Guests will visit the lantern-lit historic house and interact with its occupants amidst their preparations for Christmas. Noah’s wife, Mrs. Rebecca Webster, will guide guests through the home to meet her children, guests, and even Noah himself. The traditions of early 19th-century Connecticut holidays will  come to life through song, dance, and stories.

The program is produced by West Hartford resident Suzanne Sayers, a professional theatre teaching artist. Sayers has been the artistic director of the museum’s popular “West Hartford Hauntings”program for 11 years, and this is her second year producing “Christmas with the Websters.”

Sayers was inspired to create a cozy, heart-warming holiday program using Noah Webster’s house as a stage. “Christmas with the Websters” is set in the early 1800s, when Noah Webster was an adult and raising his own family. Guests will meet Noah, his wife Rebecca, and some of their seven children.

When Noah Webster was a child in the 1760s, Christmas was not celebrated in the way it is today. While it was observed as a religious holiday, it was done so with very little fanfare. In fact, it was pretty much just another regular day. By the time Noah Webster had his own children, things had begun to change with special dinners, songs, dances, and some holiday decorations for the occasion. Other holiday traditions took several more decades to catch on.

The idea of St. Nicholas did not become popular until 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from Saint Nicolas” was published in the Troy Sentinel. The Christmas tree was unheard of by most Americans until 1848, when a print of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s tree appeared in the Illustrated London News and made the practice fashionable.

Guests will learn more about the holiday traditions of the early 19th century during this family-friendly program. “Christmas with the Websters”will be offered on four days only: Dec. 14, 15, 20, and 21, 2019, with tours leaving every half hour from 5 to 8 p.m. Tours last approximately 30 minutes and end with cookies and a hot drink.

Tickets are $15 and $10 for children ages 4-16 ($13/$9 for museum members). Children 3 and under are free. Space is extremely limited; advance purchase is suggested. For tickets, visit www.noahwebster.yapsody.com or call 860-521-5362. The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is located at 227 South Main St., West Hartford, CT 06107.

The museum would like to thank the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Greater Hartford Arts Council for their continued support.

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