Naperville Settlement Showcases Yule of Yore
Labunski, Carla, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Carla Labunski Daily Herald Staff Writer
Most families have their own special Christmas traditions. Some are as common as leaving cookies out for Santa, and others are as quirky as eating lasagna after midnight Mass.
Whatever the source of family traditions, people enjoy doing the same things their parents and grandparents did year after year. The memories such rituals evoke remind us of our past, where we've been and how we've changed.
For the next two weeks, the public can enjoy Naperville's "Christmas Memories," the annual holiday festival at Naper Settlement. The event opened Friday and will continue through Dec. 27.
Museum volunteers have spent the past several weeks decorating each of the restored or reconstructed 19th-century buildings with historically authentic decorations, and area musicians will entertain visitors with folk music, holiday music and caroling.
The Museum Store is offering visitors a chance to re-create two amusing Victorian holiday rituals in their own homes. Baskets of green glass pickle ornaments and boxes of peppermint pigs are stacked on display tables, along with cards explaining each item's history.
The glass pickles are based on a German tradition, said Donna Sack, associate director for visitor services. "On Christmas Eve, the parents hid a pickle in the tree branches, and the child who found it got a special gift," she said.
The peppermint pig was merely a clever marketing idea in the days of three-hour Christmas dinners, museum historians said.
Peppermint was commonly used to settle the stomach, and the pig has long been a symbol of prosperity and fellowship. Although no one's sure who decided to combine the two ideas, it became fashionable for Victorian hosts to put a peppermint pig inside a velvet bag at the end of a holiday meal. …