Celebrate the Holidays at Delaware's Amazing Mansions
Delaware’s grand Du Pont family mansions are spectacular every month of the year, but they gain an extra glimmer of cozy charm during the holidays. Lights twinkle and glow with festive cheer in the ornate rooms, and beautifully decorated Christmas trees add to a warm, family-oriented feel.
The holiday exhibits run through December. And if you stop by on special event days, you might even get to meet Santa, toast some marshmallows, or enjoy the soothing sounds of live holiday music. Happy holidays!
HAGLEY MUSEUM & LIBRARY (Wilmington) :
The theme for 2022’s Hagley holiday extravaganza is “All Creatures Great and Small,” celebrating the stories of pets and wildlife that made the estate their home over the last 200 years, both in the Eleutherian Mills mansion and the estate grounds.
Visitors enjoy a great lineup of holiday options: There are Holiday Home and Garden Tours, displays of fanciful creations from the Gingerbread House Competition, a visit from Santa (Dec. 10), and evening Twilight Tours of the home and grounds.
Home tours are offered daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Gingerbread Houses are on display through January in the Hagley Barn. The Twilight Tours will be held from 4 -7 p.m. on Dec. 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29.
For more, visit the Holidays at Hagley event page.
NEMOURS ESTATE (Wilmington) :
Even the Chauffeur's Garage is decked out for the season at this 77-room mansion, modeled after Marie Antoinette’s Le Petit Trianon estate at Versailles in France. Visitors also will be able to tour all three floors of the mansion and select areas of Nemours’ elegant formal garden. Each room is elegantly appointed for the holidays, including elaborate table settings, captivating floral displays, and lovingly decorated Christmas trees, garlands, and wreaths.
The holiday flair showcases some of the duPonts’ original decorations, including a German crèche that dates from the late 19th century. Nemours also proudly displays ornaments made by the young patients at nearby Nemours Children’s Hospital.
Live music performances will be held every weekend during the holidays and will include special shows by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances on the museum’s century-old Steinway piano. Extended hours take place on Saturday until 8 p.m.
For more, visit the Nemours’ event page.
WINTERTHUR MUSEUM GARDEN AND LIBRARY (Centreville) :
This is a special year for Winterthur’s extravagant holiday displays: The tour of the grand mansion includes several decorated trees that were inspired by historic White House Christmas trees, a special addition in honor of the sensational Winterthur exhibition, “Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House.”
Elsewhere in the mansion, you’ll enjoy displays inspired by the traditions and festivities as they were embraced by former owner Henry Francis du Pont and his family. Be sure to consider attending one (or more) of Winterthur’s special holiday programs, including "Wonderful Wednesdays,” a series of cozy gatherings in December where guests can sip cocktails and tap their toes to jazz as they toast marshmallows over an open fire (Dec. 14, 21, 28).
While you’re there, be sure to see the new toy train display, open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 5–8 p.m. on Wednesday evenings in December. And check out the large-scale gingerbread version of the Winterthur mansion, made by Bredenbeck’s Bakery of Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania.
For more, visit the Yuletide at Winterthur events page.