Silver and gold means so much more when I see silver and gold decorations in 19th century Gilded Age mansions. Fortunately, the Chicago area has several of these architectural representations with holiday events.
Downtown, the Dreihaus Museum (40 E Erie, Chicago, IL) hosts The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Holiday Cabaret on Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m. David Edelfelt joins chanteuse Beckie Menzie for drinks, light hors d’oeveres and holiday favorites. For those well under 21, there will be stories and songs from Aunt Holly on Santa Saturdays, December 13 and 20, 10am to 1pm. More information can be found at http://www.driehausmuseum.org/programs.
The Glessner House, Chicago’s oldest surviving building, at 1800 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL, will hold Christmas Candlelight Tours. On Saturday, December 13, and Sunday, December 14, there will be 90-minute tours at 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30pm. The tours will focus on customs and decorations from the mid-1800s. Light refreshments at the nearby Keith House will follow the tour. http://glessnerhouse.org/Events.htm
The Reddick Mansion and Gardens (100 W Lafayette Street, Ottawa, IL) sees “Follow the Light” with the Prairie Singers. The show recounts the Christmas tale in the musical “Where You There That Christmas Night?” that features narration and carols both old and new, and a buffet dinner. http://www.reddickmansion.org/
The Hegeler Carus Mansion (1307 Seventh Street, La Salle, IL) presents Holiday Vignettes. A period maid gives a one-hour tour of the home with the Hegeler zinc magnate family and their friends celebrating the Victorian Holidays. There will be a festive beverage from the wine cellar. The tours run Friday, December 19, and Saturday, December 20, from 6pm to 9pm. http://hegelercarus.org/events/
In Barrington, there will be Christmas concerts at the Sanfilippo estate. While not a Victorian mansion, it is home to a carousel and a large collection of mechanical musical devices. Organist Dave Wickerham will give two hour concerts on the “Mighty Wurlitzer.” There will be a house tour and concert on Friday, December 5, a dinner and concert on Saturday, December 6, and a champagne brunch concert on Sunday, December 7. Information for the events at the private residence is available at http://www.sanfilippofoundation.org/christmas-concerts-2014.html.
There’s nothing like being home for the holidays, particularly when it’s somebody else’s much more extravagant and luxurious home.