Each year, the Geffrye Museum of the Home’s eleven period living rooms are transformed with authentic festive decorations, lighting, music and greenery to give visitors a magical glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English middle-class homes over the past 400 years. A perennial favourite, many visitors say that the Christmas Past exhibition has become an essential part of their own Yuletide traditions.
Step back through the centuries and discover the origins and meanings of some of the rich and vibrant traditions of Christmas past, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards, decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties.
The accompanying programme of events will focus on the 18th century in celebration of the tri-centenary of the museum’s almshouse buildings. Highlights include festive greenery workshops, a concert by candlelight, a special open evening, exhibition talks and ‘Farewell to Christmas’ – the Geffrye’s traditional burning of the Christmas greenery, with carol singing, stories about Epiphany and a taste of mulled wine and Twelfth night cake.
Festive food will be served in the café and visitors can browse for unusual gifts, cards and Christmas decorations in the shop.