Janet Reed, of Lowell, Ind., works on her feather tree inside the hired hands house during Christmas Long Ago at Buckley Homestead in Lowell in this December 2011 photo. | Sun-Times Media File
If you go
◆ Christmas Long Ago
◆ Saturday, Dec. 1; Sunday, Dec. 2
◆ Buckley Homestead, 3606 Belshaw Road, Lowell.
◆ Advance tickets required (none sold onsite) and are sold for specific performance times. Purchase tickets, at $5 per person, at 8411 E. Lincoln Highway in Crown Point, just west of Deep River Waterpark, or by calling 769-7275.
◆ Dress for the weather. Performance tours last just more than an hour.
Updated: January 28, 2013 1:59AM
This weekend you can walk back in time and experience a tale of Christmas past, and of Christmas “presents,” that would warm even a Scrooge’s spirits, at Christmas Long Ago at Buckley Homestead in Lowell.
“This is an interactive performance that gives people more of a sense of what it was like back then by getting them involved,” said Sandy Basala, superintendent of visitor services of Lake County Parks.
She said that the program was revamped three years ago, borrowing from the very popular group tour-performance format of the park’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” program, while also reducing the distance that visitors need to walk during the unpredictable and potentially cold weather for this program.
Visitors move in groups of about 20 to various locations on the barnyard site where they encounter costumed volunteer interpreters portraying neighbors, children, family and farmhands, all engaged in Christmas preparations around the year 1916.
Carolers set a festive tone to the program, and Mr. Buckley tells about homemade toys of the time and about saving money for special gifts. Visitors also hear about the feather tree, a tradition that originated in Europe and made its way to Northwest Indiana.
At another point on the walk visitors encounter some children who take a break from their chores to share a legend of special barnyard happenings on Christmas at midnight. Visitors also have the opportunity to see St. Nicholas.
“It’s really a delightful program. And after dark, the ambience is so pleasant on these candlelight tours,” said Basala.
She said that another special part of the program are the performers.
“We are so lucky to have these tremendous volunteers. They get you immersed in the story and feeling part of a warm, old-fashioned Christmas. And, they seem to be having a ball, too.”