The Holiday Spirit at Atlanta History Center on December 15th

Journey to Holidays Past and Explore Holiday Traditions of the South with Music, Performances, Decorations, and Demonstrations

ATLANTA, GA –The holidays are an enchanting time for families and communities to gather together and share time honored traditions and charity through the season. From folklore and literature to silver screen, the adage goes “there is magic in the season.” Regardless of the challenges of one’s circumstances, the holidays spark the collective spirit of joy and giving.

Explore The Holiday Spirit with the Atlanta History Center on Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. This annual holiday program is filled with family activities that celebrate the season, past to present. Holiday crafts, live music, storytelling, decorations, demonstrations, engaging theatrical performances, and a visit from Saint Nicholas provide fun-filled opportunities for families with little ones to create memories while examining the indelible spirit of the season.

Journey to Holidays Past is a highlight of this event. Time travel to the year 1862 at Smith Family Farm and the year 1933 at Swan House and discover how Atlanta residents celebrated the holidays during challenging times when practices of sustainability, getting by, and cutting costs were necessities.

At Smith Family Farm, a friendly spirit assists you as you journey back in time to meet members of the Smith farm and their neighbors as they prepare for the holidays and welcome soldiers returning from war on furlough. Demonstrations of blacksmithing, candle-dipping, and open-hearth cooking showcase time-honored traditions of the South. Speak with the mistress of the farm and enslaved cook Maude to learn more about their holiday plans and the responsibilities.

At Swan House, step back in time to the holiday of 1933 where you experience the grounds and holiday decorations at the home of one of Atlanta’s most elite residents. Make the acquaintance of friendly spirits including the Inman’s chauffer, gardener, and maid who share stories of what life was like for Inman family members and household servants during the holiday.   

Visit the museum to explore modern holiday traditions through a variety of ongoing family activities including historic characters, holiday craft making, storytelling, and musical performances. Little ones are sure to enjoy a visit with Santa from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Be sure to bring your own camera to capture the memory. Guests may snap another memorable image beside “Percival” the Pink Pig, an Atlanta holiday tradition on display in the Centennial Olympic Games Museum atrium.

Additional offerings include self-guided tours of the Atlanta History Center’s award-winning and temporary exhibitions. Be sure to catch one or all of the special gallery character performances designed to bring history to life. Check out tablescopes and vignettes exploring twenty different international holidays in the temporary display, Passport to Celebrations. And, don’t forget to browse the museum shop for those special one-of-a-kind holiday gifts.

"The Holiday Spirit" is free for members and included in the cost of general admission for nonmembers. City Pass accepted. Purchase advance tickets online and save at


Smith Family Farm:  

  • Open-Hearth Cooking Demonstration
  • Candle-Dipping Demonstration
  • Blacksmithing Demonstration
  • Journeys to Holidays Past – Encounter first-hand experiences with characters from 1862 holiday past including soldiers in Civil War encampment at Smith Family Farm.
    • The Ghost of 1862 at Smith Family Farm: Are you a Union sympathizer or a black market entrepreneur in 1862? Interact with the Ghost of 1862 and find out what it means for you as he circulates the news of the day for Atlanta, the state, and the nation.
    • Maude (Smith): Connect to the story of an enslaved woman maintaining time-honored holiday traditions from Africa while contemplating the hint of freedom that grows with each victory of the Union Army.
    • Rachel Smith: Show compassion for the problems of a local farm wife who attempts to arrange her customary holiday celebration, despite the hardships brought on by the Northern blockade and growing unrest. 

Swan House: 

  • Holiday decorations
  • Journey to Holidays Past – Encounter first-hand experiences with characters from 1933 holiday past including the Inman’s chauffer, gardener, and maid.
    • The Ghost of 1933 Swan House: Discover how Atlantans found cheer in 1933, despite the Great Depression, by celebrating the holidays with Santa’s downtown parade along Peachtree Street, as well as other traditional diversions.
    • Lucille Arnold, Inman maid: Meet Lucille at Swan House as she readies the house for the holiday season and find out what goes on both upstairs and downstairs – as well as behind the scenes – in Atlanta’s most famous home.
    • Grant Carter, Inman chauffeur: Hear from Mr. Carter, the Inman family’s longtime chauffeur, as he contemplates his own future following the impact of both financial and personal changes within the Inman family and Atlanta.
    • James Self, Inman gardener: Discover the work of keeping up the Swan House gardens, designed by famous architect Philip T. Shutze, as Mr. Self assists in preparing the house and its gardens and grounds for holiday entertaining.

 Atlanta History Museum: 

  • Chik fil A – Delicious food available for purchase; limited menu and hours. 
  • Storyteller, Katye JordanDo You Hear What I Hear? Christmas Stories 
  • Vintage VocalsHoliday Songs Old and New 
  • Radio Disney — hosts family fun activities with music, games, and prizes from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Percival — Atlanta’s beloved Pink Pig on display 
  • Holiday Crafts – “upcycled” crafting for the holidays  
  • History comes to life Character performances bring the stories of the South to life as told in Atlanta History Center’s award-winning exhibitions.

 Located in Metropolitan Frontiers 

  • Victoria Walker, Inman relative: Women’s roles were changing in 1933 and Victoria is navigating her new role as a wage earner recovering from the stock market crash of 1929 and the effects of the Great Depression – even on the wealthy.  
  • Adrienne Herndon, actor and educator: Fall under the spell of the charming wife of Alonzo Herndon, Atlanta’s first African American millionaire, as she prepares to travel to a holiday reunion with her husband and their son, Norris.

 Located in Turning Point: The American Civil War

  • Carrie Berry, Diary keeper: Understand the Civil War through the eyes of a small child and experience the hopes and troubles of a ten-year-old girl during the holiday season in wartime Atlanta.
  • Nate Baker, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry:  Join this Union soldier during the holiday season of 1863 as he considers his future as a member of the 54th Regiment, one of the first official African American units in the U.S. Army.    
  • Passport to Celebrations –  tablescopes and vignettes of more than twenty international holidays 
  • Self-guided tours – Atlanta History Center's award-winning exhibitions

Members-Only Lounge:

From 1:00 to 4:00 pm, Atlanta History Center members can stop by our special Members-Only Lounge in McElreath Hall for cookie decorating, ornament making, and light refreshments.

  • 1:00-2:00 pm:  Special musical performance by Atlanta Carolers
  • 2:00-3:00 pm:  A visit from Santa Claus


Funding for this program is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of Fulton County Arts Council.


About Us

The Atlanta History Center is an all-inclusive destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum; two historic houses, 1928 Swan House and 1860 Smith Family Farm; the Centennial Olympic Games Museum; Kenan Research Center; Grand Overlook event space; Chick-Fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café, a museum shop, and the Goizueta Gardens, featuring 22 acres of gardens, walkways, paths and trails. In addition, the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House located in Midtown Atlanta.



Quick facts

Character performances in AHC's galleries bring the stories told in exhibitions to life
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Upcycling is a way to re-use and re-purpose items
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