Christmas at Clover Lawn
*The David Davis Mansion is open Wednesday-Saturday*
The novelist Charles Dickens was the “rock star” of his day in Victorian times. Legions of fans awaited the publication of his books and stood in long lines to get tickets for his public appearances. Almost every literate person in nineteenth-century England read at least one of his books and his popularity spread to America. Davis heard Dickens give dramatic readings of A Christmas Carol and other novels in early February 1868, in the nation’s capital. The judge’s description of the enthusiastic audiences provides a sense of what it must have been like to see and hear the “great man.” What Davis enjoyed most was the animated way in which Dickens brought to life the characters in A Christmas Carol.
Christmas celebrations probably wouldn’t be the same today without Dickens’s holiday tale. It popularized what he believed was the true meaning of Christmas—charity, family togetherness, benevolence, happiness, and homecoming. He helped to popularize the phrase: “Merry Christmas.”
The impact of Dickens’s stories on the Victorian celebration of Christmas will be highlighted during this year’s “Christmas at Clover Lawn,” scheduled for November 23 through December 29 at the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site in Bloomington. Tour hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. The site will be closed Sundays through Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Bathed in the simulated gaslight of the Victorian era, the Davis Mansion will also be festooned with boughs of evergreens, glittering ornaments, antique toys, and Christmas trees in almost every room. Exhibits of wax angels, scrap paper dolls, lead-weighted candleholders, authentic village scenes (the putz), and a rare collection of German-made ornaments will complete the scene.
Children visiting the mansion will especially enjoy seeing the collections of antique toys and teddy bears, as well as a room filled with vintage dolls. Visitors will also have a chance to touch, taste, and smell a variety of Victorian Christmas treats.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018