SIKESTON -- Some of the area's historic homes are opening their doors this holiday season and taking visitors back in time to Christmases past.
Scheduled for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 2, the Mississippi County Historical Society will open the 1899 Victorian country Moore Home, 405 N. Main St., in Charleston
"Last year we tried the open house for the first time and it was well received. People enjoyed the simplicity of it, and it sets off the season," said Tom Graham, president of the Mississippi County Historical Society.
This year, the home will feature Christmas decor from the 1950s and 1960s, fitting with the theme of the Charleston Christmas parade, "A Retro Christmas," which begins at 6 p.m.
Then at 2 p.m. Dec. 4, the Scott County Historical Society will present "A Victorian Christmas" at the Scott County Courthouse, 131 S. Winchester St. in Benton. Music will be provided by the St. Denis Choir, Unity Baptist Choir and Kelly High School Choir. Santa will be on hand to meet with the children.
Free Christmas candlelight tours and open house will be offered from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9-10 at four historic sites in New Madrid.
"It's something that a lot of folks from out of town come to see," said Christina McWaters, executive director of the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce, about the tour.
Set to the theme of "Victorian Christmas in the South," one of visitors' favorites is the Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site, 312 Dawson Road in New Madrid, according to McWaters.
McWaters said the historic home is decorated with all fresh greenery, oranges and cloves.
"It's just amazing; all of your senses are impacted. It's dark but the candles and chandeliers are lit," McWaters said, adding Christmas lights are also wrapped on stairways.
Also included in the tours are the New Madrid Historical Museum, Higgerson School Historical Site and Hart-Stepp House Art Gallery.
Those looking to travel a bit farther to see historic homes decorated for the holidays may want to consider the Magnolia Manor, 2700 Washington Ave. in Cairo, Ill. The historic mansion will be open to the public for the 59th year for "Experience a Victorian Christmas" Holiday House from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily Nov. 25 through Dec. 4.
"Visitors can wander through on their own. We do have hosts and hostesses and people stationed throughout the house to explain its history," said Charles McGinness, president of the Cairo Historical Association.
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