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The Greater Wilmington, Area boasts three very unique holiday festivals Christmas in Odessa, Sankta Lucia Celebration and Spirit of Christmas.

Christmas in Odessa

Approximately 3o minutes south of the City of Wilmington is the tiny residential community of Odessa.  Known as Cantwell's Bridge until 1855, the town developed as a thriving commercial center and then suffered a period of decline following the construction of the railroad.  Today, Odessa is a tranquil residential town with a population slightly over 300, tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks and pristine colonial buildings.  Five of the town's most distinguished properties are operated by the Historic Odessa Foundation. They provide a unique and well-documented picture of 18th- and 19th-century lifestyles and architecture.  From November 12 through January 4, a whimsical note is added; the Historic Houses of Odessa are decorated for the holidays with a storybook theme and this year's choice is The Classic Fairytale: Little Snow White.  The first Saturday in December is extra special; December 6 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the annual Christmas in Odessa celebration.  Many private homes as well as the Historic Houses of Odessa and other public buildings are dressed for the season and open to the public for tours.  The day's festivities include a Christmas Craft & Antique Show, Tea in Old St. Paul's Church, caroling, bell ringing, an organ recital, a Fife & Drum performance and a wonderful fresh greens sale.  The event is organized by the Women's Club of Odessa but it's truly a community effort and town wide event.  Members of the local utility company prune the town's magnificent magnolia and holly trees on the weekend before the event and gather the greens; local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts bundle the greens; the Women's Club organizes an incredible greens sale; and the proceeds from Christmas in Odessa are used to support scholarship programs in the Appoquinimink School District.

Sankta Lucia Celebration

One of the city's most unique yuletide traditions is the Sankta Lucia Celebration on Sunday, December 7 at 1 PM and 3:30 PM in Old Swedes Church which was built in 1798 on what is now known as the Seventh Street Peninsula in Wilmington.  This moving celebration combines two traditions-the pagan ritual of worshipping the Sun God at Midwinter and the Christian Christmas.  Lucia, surrounded by costumed children, comes down the church's aisle on the darkest day of the year with candlelight in her hair.  Afterwards, guests are invited next door to experience A Swedish Christmas in the Hendrickson House Museum.

Spirit of Christmas in Historic New Castle

The Greater Wilmington Area is steeped in history as a visit to Historic New Castle quickly attests.   Located a few minutes south of the city of Wilmington, Historic New Castle, Delaware's Williamsburg, traditionally hosts the Spirit of Christmas on the second Saturday in December. On December 13, many of the town's private homes and public buildings open their doors to the public. It's an exceptional opportunity to go inside these historic homes and museums, all of which are decorated for a colonial Christmas.  From 9 AM until 5 PM, the day is filled with musical performances, house tours and a handmade craft sale in the New Castle Presbyterian Church; it concludes with a tree lighting ceremony and caroling in Market Square.   New for 2014 is A Dickens Experience.  Visitors are transported back to mid-19th century England as they experience an interactive version of Charles Dickens' classic novella, A Christmas Carol.  Festivities include street theatre, bell ringing, caroling and an opportunity to meet Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge as they stroll along the town's cobblestone streets.

The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington. Its mission is to serve as the community's customer-focused destination marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attractions, facilities, amenities and services for visitors.