A Christmas literary mystery debated at The Gables

November 6, 2018 Published by Julie Arrison-Bishop

A fun holiday lecture, wassail and holiday shopping Nov. 24

The House of the Seven Gables, known for its festive celebrations and community spirit, kicks off the holidays on November 24 with a sizable bowl of wassail, a beautiful tree and special holiday shopping in the popular Museum Store. There’s more. Shoppers may want to pause at 2 p.m. for what promises to be a lively discussion about the one poem most children have committed to memory — “The Night Before Christmas” — by Clement C. Moore … or was it Henry Livingston Jr.?

On November 24, the Museum Store will take part in Small Business Saturday, a Salem Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event throughout the city of Salem. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are invited to sip a fragrant cup of warm wassail while browsing amid a thoughtfully curated collection of books including many local histories. The shop is also known for its quality gifts and crafts that are unique to the region and The Gables. A limited quantity of reusable Small Business Saturday Shopping Bags will be available with a purchase of $25 or more. Purchases made in The Gables’ Museum Store support the dual mission of preservation and education.

At 2 p.m., visitors are invited to join author Carlo DeVito as he lays out the long-debated origin of “The Night Before Christmas.” At the heart of the debate is the question: Who created Santa Claus as he is known today? DeVito tracked the decades-long controversy in his book, “Inventing Santa Claus: The Mystery of Who Really Wrote the Most Celebrated Yuletide Poem of All Time.” While the poem was first published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel in 1832, Clement C. Moore later claimed authorship. So, too, did Henry Livingston Jr.

DeVito has written more than 20 books, has worked for two decades in the publishing industry, owns the Hudson-Chatham Winery and writes extensively about wines. Admission to the lecture is $10. It’s free for those who spend $50 or more in the Museum Store on November 23 or 24. Please present the store receipt when attending the lecture. A book signing follows the discussion.

For information about these events or to register for the lecture, visit www.7gables.org/eventsor call 978-306-7003.

Tickets for “Christmas in Salem, A Very Hawthorne Christmas,” will be available before the lecture. “Christmas in Salem” will be centered around the 350thanniversary of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and will feature a number of private properties in the Derby Street area during the weekend of November 30. Visit www.christmasinsalem.orgfor full details.

This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop