The first Christmas at Lorenzo was in 1974, and since then we have only missed two years. Since the 1990s our holiday event has had a different theme each year, with this year’s being the Twelve Days of Christmas. While there are numerous theories surrounding the origin of this curious song, many scholars do agree that the “Twelve Days of Christmas” likely began as a French parlor game where the leader would recite a verse to be repeated by each of the other players. Verses would be added and spoken faster with players dropping out as they made mistakes. The earliest known publication of the verses was in the 1780 children’s book Mirth With-out Mischief. And the familiar musical arrangement of today was copyrighted in 1909 by English composer Frederick Austin.
Our volunteer decorators were each assigned one of the Twelve Days of Christmas and will put their own spin on it by creating and installing festive displays that fill the rooms with light, color, and holiday cheer. For 2023 our decorators include Wendy Van der Bogart, Elizabeth and Nancy Whiting, Syracuse Garden Club, Linda & Jeffrey Kellish, Barbara Bartlett, Kathleen Conway Hoak, Dixie Conway, Jaime Colvin, Mark Smith, Kerstin and Megan McKay, Elizabeth Koennecke, Beth Duffy, Laura Loveland-Leitch, Susan Anthony, Mary Gasparini, Kristen Rubacka, Lorenzo Driving Competition, and Lorenzo staff.
Supported by the Friends of Lorenzo since they were formed in 1975, planning for Christmas at Lorenzo begins in January with the choice of a theme. Physical preparations are done by Lorenzo staff beginning in late October. There are approximately 35 volunteer decorators who bring their amazing creativity and talent to interpreting the theme in their assigned room or space. The public event involves staff from Lorenzo and several other state historic sites, along with approximately 50 volunteers.
This season our holiday festivities kick off with the Friends of Lorenzo Christmas Preview Party on Wednesday, November 29th from 6:00-8:00pm. This yearly tradition began in 1975 and continues to welcome Friends members and their guests for a special evening of live music, seasonal delights, and a sneak peek of the bedecked Mansion! To purchase tickets or become a member visit https://www.friendsoflorenzo.org/.
Lorenzo has a special entertainment lineup this year. Laine Gilmore will ‘tickle the ivories’ as she plays holiday favorites on the piano Thursday evening December 7th in the Drawing Room, while the Chord Wood Quartet sings holiday classics on the second floor. Friday evening December 8th and Saturday afternoon December 9th the Belle Aire Handbell Trio will be ringing in the holidays. Also, on Saturday December 9th at 1pm the Cazenovia High School Chamber Choir will be singing traditional holiday carols in the Visitor Center. Sunday December 10th Bells and Motley will join us in the Mansion evoking the warmth & spirit of Christmas past, and Merry Mischief’s “Mr. and Mrs. Claus” will delight visitors of all ages.
Traditional guided tours will be offered December 5th through the 8th from 1:00-4:00pm. Discover what happened on the 13th Day of Christmas in our Visitor Center and stop by the Gift Shop to find a variety of distinctive gift-giving items. We hope to see you this year! Happy Holidays!
Event Location: Lorenzo State Historic Site, 17 Rippleton Road, Cazenovia, NY 13035
Traditional Guided Mansion Tours: Tuesday, December 5th through Friday, December 88h from 1pm to 4pm
Lorenzo’s Christmas Celebration:
Thursday, December 7th and Friday, December 8th from 7pm to 9pm
Saturday, December 9th and Sunday, December 10th from 1pm to 4pm.
The Celebration times include a tour of the decorated mansion, live music, wassail and sweet treats, and a horse-drawn sleigh/wagon ride with Lamplit Farm. On Sunday, December 10th the sleigh/wagon ride will take you to the Rippleton Schoolhouse to meet schoolmarm, Miss Buckland, and make a holiday ornament to take home.
Admission: $6 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Cash preferred for admission fees.
For more information, please visit https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/lorenzo/details.aspx, follow us on Facebook, or call 315-655-3200.