Christmas 2013 is approaching fast, but the Kline Creek Farm living history museum in West Chicago is giving visitors a chance to experience an older version of the holiday.
Kline Creek volunteers are giving regular guided tours of the site's 1890s farmhouse, which is decorated for the season. Visitors can get a sense of how people celebrated Christmas back then. The program is one part of the farm's efforts to keep DuPage County's history alive.
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The farmhouse, like the rest of Kline Creek Farm, has been preserved to remain as close as possible to what it would have looked like roughly 120 years ago. During one of Sunday's tours, visitors walked into a warm kitchen that was filled with the smell of freshly baked holiday spice cookies.
The tour then proceeded into the dining room, where a table was set for eight. Oyster trays -- oysters were a prized delicacy at the time -- sat on each plate. An oilcloth sat on the floor, where it could catch drips from the room's oil-powered lamps. And a few children's toys were scattered about.
"The family would spend a lot of time in here, and so there would be some toys to keep the kids happy," tour guide Grace Pointner said.
A Christmas tree stood in the sitting room, decorated with ornaments made from common household materials like paper, nuts and popcorn. Candles sat on the tree instead of lights. A few gifts sat underneath the tree, including what appeared to be a set of wood blocks and a vintage pair of ice skates. Tour guides demonstrated the "snowball" style of wrapping a gift: Presents were placed on a long white cloth which was then rolled into a ball shape.
Warrenville residents Doug and Linda Brennan were among those who visited the farmhouse Sunday afternoon.
"We like seeing this. It's quaint, and cozy," Linda said.
"It's something you don't see every day," Doug said.
The Christmas farmhouse tours will be offered Thursday through Monday through Dec. 30. (There will be no tours on Christmas Eve.) For more information, go to dupageforest.com.