Naper Settlement exhibit explores holiday characters and traditions around the world

Naper Settlement presents the holiday exhibit, "Santas Around the World: Exploring Winter Holiday Traditions," featuring many of the fascinating characters in the lore surrounding the celebrations that come at the darkest time of the year.

The exhibit also explores the origins of several holiday traditions. It focuses on the winter solstice holiday around the world and many of the traditions around gift-giving that continue today.

Various holiday items from the museum's collection are on display, including late 19th-century Christmas cards, a 1940s plaster Santa figurine, a 1950s red reindeer decoration, and more.

Visitors can also snap selfies next to various Christmas characters from around the globe, such as Santa Claus, Papa Noel, and Krampus.

"From sending cards to decorating trees, this exhibit dives into the origins of several popular holiday traditions as well as dozens of fascinating holiday characters from around the world," said Dina Spoerl, exhibits team leader at Naper Settlement. "Some of these holiday characters are charming, while some are saintly, and some are sinister."

Holiday-themed activities will be available in one area of the exhibit during Naper Settlement's Holly Jolly Days which wraps up on Friday, Dec. 15, from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 16, from noon to 8 p.m.

Visitors can write letters to Santa, decorate wooden ornaments, and share their own holiday traditions on a postcard to hang up in the exhibit.

Holly Jolly Days also features live music from the Black Willow Brass in the Pine Craig Mansion from 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 15, and Bach to Rock Holiday Music & Instrument Petting Zoo from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 16 in the Meeting House.

Tickets for Holly Jolly Days are $5 per person, free for children under age 4. For tickets or information about Holly Jolly Days, visit

"Santas Around the World: Exploring Winter Holiday Traditions" is proudly sponsored by Ronald and Claudia Stenger.

The exhibit, on view through Jan. 5, is included in general museum admission.

The Pre-Emption House Visitor Center galleries are open during the holidays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, Dec. 12 to Jan. 5. It will be closed on Dec. 26.

For more information about the exhibit and to purchase general museum admission tickets, visit

From November through April 30, the village building interiors are closed to the public but visitors can check out the changing exhibit galleries in the Pre-Emption House Visitor Center, view the exteriors of historic buildings, and enjoy a variety of interactive tours that can be accessed through the museum's On-Cell Mobile app.

See classic Christmas cards at Naper Settlement's holiday exhibit "Santas Around the World: Exploring Winter Holiday Traditions," on display through Jan. 5. Courtesy of Naper Settlement
Learn about the history and folklore of the winter solstice and Christmas at "Santas Around the World: Exploring Winter Holiday Traditions," a holiday exhibit on display through Jan. 5 at Naper Settlement. Courtesy of Naper Settlement
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