400 years of Seasonal Traditions in English Homes
136 Kingsland Road
London E2 8EA
26 November 2013 -5 January 2014
Each year, authentic festive decorations transform the Geffrye Museum’s period rooms, giving 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 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.
A full programme of events will accompany the exhibition. Festive food will be served in the restaurant, and visitors can browse for original gifts, decorations, cards and books in the shop.
Open Evening: An Edwardian Christmas
Enjoy Christmas Past by candlelight, listen to a seasonal talk, watch a greenery demonstration, sing along to live festive music or bring children to a decoration-making workshop. Enjoy a festive supper in our restaurant or find an unusual gift from the shop. Come and be merry!
Thursday 5 December, 5-8pm. Free
Farewell to Christmas
Join us in the Geffrye’s traditional burning of the holly and the ivy, with carol singing, stories about Epiphany and a taste of mulled wine and Twelfth Night cake. Please note that this event takes place in the garden, so wrap up warm!
Sunday 5 January, 3.30-5pm. Free
Concert by Candlelight
Acclaimed group Bocca Aperta returns to the Geffrye with a moving recital of a capella Christmas music under the Christmas tree in the reading room.
Wednesday 11 December. Museum open from 7.30pm, concert 8pm.
Tickets £16/£13 concs in advance (includes a glass of sherry or port and a mince pie)
Workshop: Christmas Greenery
Join the Geffrye gardeners to create a festive door decoration with fresh greenery and a mixture of scented, natural ornaments, whilst learning about the origins of our Christmas traditions.
Saturday 14 December, 1.30–4.30pm
Tickets £35/£30 concs (includes short talk, workshop and all materials)
Exhibition Talk: Christmas Past in Focus
Explore Edwardian Christmas traditions in this informal gallery talk.
Saturday 14 December, 11.30am and 3pm. Free
FAMILIES AND YOUNG PEOPLE
SPECIAL FAMILY DAY
Saturday 7 December. Free
A lively day of Christmas workshops for children aged 2+, with carol singing for all ages. Workshop places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis 30 minutes in advance. Children under eight must be accompanied by an adult.
Christmas Carols (all ages)
Sing along to some favourite Christmas carols with Robinsing Music.
2pm and 3pm
Workshop: Squeaking and Squawking Decorations (ages 2-16)
Create a sugar mouse or beautiful Edwardian-inspired bird Christmas decoration.
10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm
Workshop: Festive Gifts Galore (ages 11-16)
Create spicy and aromatic festive soaps and herb bags to give as gifts this Christmas.