While everyone hopes for a white Christmas (or at least a Camelot-version of a white Christmas, with snow appearing in the morning and disappearing by nightfall), this year in Colonial Williamsburg the temperatures did not cooperate. Christmas Eve was warm and rainy, a typical December day in Tidewater Virginia.
But while the rain didn't dampen holiday spirits, it did keep most visitors indoors, leaving these three 18th c. gentlemen, left, to carry on their conversation in peace in the middle of an empty Duke of Gloucester Street.
Here are two more decorated houses, both featuring apples. The doorway, right, also includes more local elements, including pinecones and the dried magnolia leaves. (As always, click on the images to enlarge them for detail.)
The wreath on the house, lower left, includes apples and red strawflowers, but there's another uniquely Virginian element as well. Those are the fossilized shells, Chesapecten jeffersonius, from the nearby James River. Chesapecten fossils were first noted by the 17th c. settlers at Jamestown, and officially given their scientific name in 1824 in honor of President Thomas Jefferson. Chesapecten fossils were also the first North American fossil to be depicted in a European scientific publication, Historiae Conchyliorum, published in 1687 by Martin Lister – all of which makes this a thoroughly historical Christmas decoration.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.