As the holiday season draws near, The Historic Odessa Foundation is gearing up for an enchanting journey through time to celebrate the holidays. Clement Clark Moore's timeless poem, "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas," popularly known as "The Night Before Christmas" or "Twas the Night Before Christmas," originally published anonymously in December 1823, served as the inspiration for this beloved tradition, which took root in 1988.
Historic Odessa is pulling out all the stops for its 35th annual holiday celebration and the 200th anniversary of the publishing of this famous Christmas poem, bringing classic literature to life through interpretive vignettes within the foundation's historic homes. From November 14 to December 31, 2023, the Corbit-Sharp House, a 249-year-old National Historic Landmark, will serve as the centerpiece for The Historic Odessa Foundation's 2023 holiday exhibit and tours. To add an extra touch of authenticity, the exhibit will feature vintage Christmas decorations generously loaned by members of The Golden Glow of Christmas Past organization.
In addition to celebrating "The Night Before Christmas" in the Corbit-Sharp House, every corner of the town will be infused with the spirit of the season. This includies Storybook Time for kids and the enchanted Storybook Trees exhibit created by community members, as well as a lively Colonial Dance led by the Dover English Country Dancers. The customary candlelight tours and festive food demonstrations will also be held.
On Friday, Dec. 1, Historic Odessa will host a presentation and book signing by Pamela McColl author of “Twas The Night: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem” (2023) which traces the evolution of Christmas, presents how the historic figure of Saint Nicholas evolves into the central character in the story, and how characteristics of today’s Santa Claus originated with Clement Clark Moore. As a bonus to the evening’s presentation, McCool will be introduced by the enthusiastic Benjamin Bradley, known as “Mr. Christmas,” from the Netflix original series “Holiday Home Makeover.”
The holiday fun doesn’t stop with “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” While Odessa is dressed for the season, be sure to pop into the area’s 50th annual fundraising event “Christmas in Odessa” on December 2nd , put on by the Women’s Club of Odessa. This event brings the "Hallmark Christmas" vision to life with carousel rides, fresh greens for sale, tea and Christmas cookies, and of course a tree lighting ceremony! If you're coming from the "big city," watch out, you may just find that perfect "small town love" you've been looking for...
For information about the Historic Odessa Foundation’s 2023 Christmas Holiday exhibit, tours and events, visit www.historicodessa.org. Historic Odessa is open to the public March through December, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Monday by reservation. General admission: adults, $10; groups, seniors, students, $8; and children under six are free. Member discounts are available.
From charming Historic Odessa to the scenic Brandywine Valley and vibrant Wilmington, Delaware, the essence of the holiday season is deeply ingrained in every corner of this remarkable region. Through immersive experiences, steeped in history and tradition, and buoyed by the warmth of close-knit communities, Greater Wilmington celebrates the enduring magic of this special time of year. Come and be a part of history during this holiday season! Don’t forget to take a photo and tag it using #VisitWilm.