Indiana mansion allows visitors to step back in time to an 1800's Christmas

As each Christmas seems to get bigger and brighter, Hillforest Victorian House museum in Aurora, Indiana reminds us that the season can still be beautiful with simple decorations.

"They festooned every doorway, staircase and light with these greens. They would also have cranberries, anything natural and so the house would have been decorated with anything fresh and it smelled very nice," said Hillforest docent, Suzanne Ullrich.

The tradition was for the adults to trim the tree on Christmas eve after the children were nestled in bed.

"They would decorate them with handmade ornaments. They would candles on the tips of the branches, but they would always have a bucket of water and a sponge on a stick in case the tree caught on fire," Ullrich said.

After the traditional turkey dinner on Christmas day, children unwrapped foil cylinders filled with toys and candies. The British-inspired treats were called crackers for the breaking noise the tube made when it was pulled open.

The 1855 Hillforest national historic landmark is open for tours Tuesday through Sunday afternoons from one to 5 p.m.

The cost is six dollars per person. Aurora's grand dame closes for the season on December 30.

Hillforest is just blocks away from on the town's Miracle on Main Street celebration.

This is our ninth year for Miracle on Main Street. The little hamlet just over the Ohio-Indiana border twinkles with the Christmas spirit.

"Lots of entertainment throughout the weekends and all of it is free," said Miracle on Main Street organizer Nancy Turner

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