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Press Release: A lively array of holiday fun at The Gables this December


November 22, 2023


A lively array of holiday fun at The Gables this December


For many North Shore families, the holidays are not complete without a visit to The House of the Seven Gables. Holiday traditions can include a tour of the historic house decorated especially for Christmas, time spent admiring the grand Christmas tree in the Seamans Visitor Center, and shopping for unique gifts in the Museum Store that specializes in items reflecting the spirit of The Gables. And many participate in The Gables’ reliably fun and intriguing holiday programming. 


This year’s holiday events include the unveiling of a newly conserved and rare painting by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife, Sophia; a series of member shopping days when items are discounted by 25 percent; and two weekends of dramatic presentations by History Alive Inc. that delve into the once controversial nature of Christmas. Audiences can expect plenty of singing and storytelling as the actors divulge surprising facts about Christmas. All are invited to join in!


Also on tap is a special members-only event — a free tour and some hair-raising fireside tales of Christmases past at the nearby historic Daniels House. Read on for more details.


“Tis the Season”

Performances are at 7 p.m. on December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 

In the Plumstock-Holyoke Room at The Gables

Tickets may be purchased online:


One great joy of the holidays is the inspired range of music. From rousing wassailing drinking songs — with pagan roots— to the beautiful and reverent carols to contemporary popular songs, music is the heartbeat of this colorful season. It sets the mood and tells stories rooted in centuries of history.


“‘Tis the Season’ celebrates New England’s winter heritage in song and stories that were created even before Christmas was a holiday,” says History Alive Inc.’s Artistic Director Kristina Stevick. 


The theatrical performance by five History Alive actors is set in what is designed to resemble one of Salem’s popular singing schools in the mid-1800s. “There were a lot of these singing schools in Salem at the time, and they were popular throughout New England,” says Stevick. “The teachers were often laborers during the day but on winter nights they would gather people in living rooms and sing.” 


And who can curtail the urge to join in? “The performance is light and fun and sweet and highly musical,” says Stevick. “We hope the audience will sing along in this intimate setting we think of as living room theater.”


“Flight Into Egypt” unveiling and reception

Saturday, December 2, 4–5:30 p.m.

Meet at the Seamans Visitor Center

Free of charge, but registration is required and donations are requested


Among The Gables’ most prized objects is a rare and highly accomplished painting made by Sophia Peabody eight years before she and Nathaniel Hawthorne were married. Sophia was a talented artist mentored by some of her era’s most heralded artists. Her large oil painting, “Flight Into Egypt,” has been expertly restored, thanks to a grant by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. The painting is now mounted in a period frame, made possible by donations from members and friends of The Gables. All are invited to the unveiling of “Flight Into Egypt, but advance registration is required: Period refreshments will be served at the reception.


Members holiday events 

Support The Gables and receive extra holiday perks!


Members holiday shopping weekend

Friday, December 8, through Sunday, December 10

December hours: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.


Members receive a 25 percent discount on all items purchased in the Museum Store Dec. 8 through Dec. 10. And all shoppers are invited to enjoy a cup of wassail — a citrusy mix of apples, cider and warm spices — as they browse. Salem’s popular store is known for its unique merchandise that is closely tied to The Gables’ history over 350 years. From reproductions of period tableware to an exciting collection of literature linked to The Gables and Salem, the Museum Store is a must-visit destination for holiday shoppers. Shoppers do not need to pay an admission fee to shop at the store.


Members tour and storytelling at the historic Daniels House

Fireside Tales: Ghosts of Christmas Past

Saturday, December 9, at 4 and 6 p.m.

1 Daniels St., Salem

Pre-register for this free event at


Gables members are invited to a free evening of fireside tales and a tour at the 350-year-old Daniels House, just a short walk from The House of the Seven Gables. The fire will be roaring, and members are sure to be all-ears at this BYOB event. Period-style drinkware will be provided as members hear some hair-raising ghost stories from Christmases past! Early on, the beautifully restored inn and First Period house was occupied by mariners, boat builders and carpenters. Members are welcome to park at The Gables and walk to The Daniels House at 1 Daniels St., Salem. Those interested may select from one of two times, 4 or 6 p.m. Pre-registration required at


History Alive Inc. actors perform “Tis the Season” at The House of the Seven Gables the first two weekends in December. Audience members are invited to sing along in what will be a mid-1800s living room-style setting.

Date: November 22, 2023

Author: Rae Francoeur

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