Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas at America's Landmark Houses

You know by now that I love Christmas and I love beautiful
homes.  I love making my home beautiful for family and
friends at Christmas.  

Two of my favorite things
at Christmas are decorating and listening to Christmas music, preferably at the same time.

It is always such a thrill to experience home tours at Christmas and to have the opportunity to enjoy everyone's decorating styles.

So of course, I was thrilled to be asked to review 
Schiffer Publishing's
Christmas at America's Landmark Houses,
 written by
Patricia Hart McMillan and David Strahan.

The book is a stunning collection of exquisite,
historic homes, decked out for Christmas.  It is a
feast for the eyes, but as you read the text, it is also
a feast for the spirit, as the joy of Christmas has
been celebrated in these beautiful homes for generations.

The book is written with the intent that you will 
first enjoy the photos, and stories of these 
landmark homes, and then that you will "add
these houses to your list of must-see destinations."

Of course, everyone thinks of visiting Colonial Williamsburg
during Christmas to see the period decorating where you can
see eighty-eight original homes in their splendor with several
hundred others that are replications.

I know Williamsburg is on my bucket list of 
places to visit at Christmas, where you can
also enjoy re-enactors who are dressed in period
costumes to add to the festivities.

But consider visiting the fabulous Cairnwood Estate
in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, the gorgeous home of
John and Gertrude Pitcairn.  Having been 
introduced to this gorgeous landmark home, I 
would now love the chance to go through it.

"On Christmas Day, the family would go to church in the
morning, and in the afternoon Cairnwood was opened to the
community to celebrate."

The book relates that the Cairnwood by Candlelight
 event, recreates the beauty and experience
 of Cairnwood during the lives of the Pitcairns,
and also includes an exhibit of antique gowns
 belonging to three generations
of Cairnwood women.  
Wouldn't that be magical to see?  

The home is filled with live music and 
Christmas goodies during this event.  
This would definitely be worth traveling to Pennsylvania
to be able to experience a bit of the Gilded Age.

"Ropes of greenery were woven together with special vines
and flowers grown in the estate green houses to furnish the decorations for holidays and special occasions.  Historic photographs show that roping was draped from the second-floor gallery and wound down the stairs, around windows, and over every mantel."

Or how about the Edsel Ford home 
in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan?
Edsel was Henry Ford's only child, and worked alongside his father in building the Ford Motor Company.  

This staircase pictures above is from the 1600's and brought
over from Northamptonshire.

You can read about how he married his childhood friend, 
Eleanor Lowthian Clay.  They met at a class dance in their teens.  
So not only do you get to see into the gorgeous homes
 these people built, but you get to see into their lives and families,
and a delicious taste of how they celebrated

This is just a little taste of the joys and wonders
this lovely coffee table book has to offer as
you enjoy seeing these beautiful homes and 
reading about their histories, their families,
and their Christmases.

I was especially enchanted with this book because
I had just created my own book for my family - 
Purple Chocolat Home
for The Holidays
- taking photos from my blog from all of
the holidays throughout the year.  It was created
as a fun memory for them.
(Created on lulu.com.)

Christmas at America's Landmark Houses
 would be a lovely gift for anyone who loves
historic homes, beautiful interiors, history, or

This is a gift that would be treasured for years to come.

You can find it on Amazon, and it can ship
in two days with Amazon Prime.  (Oh how I love
that during this busy season!  I am old enough
to remember ordering things for Christmas and
it would take 8-12 weeks and often wouldn't arrive
in time.)

Thank you Schiffer Publishing for giving me the
opportunity to peruse and enjoy this lovely book.


Chocolat - French for Chocolate. I adored chocolate from a young age when I had to sneak in the cupboard to find where my mother had hidden the Nestle's Chocolate Chips. Having read about the famous chocolat shoppes in Paris, when I finally got there I was determined to try a chocolate from every Paris shoppe. I invite you to share my adventures in creating, in travel, and in life.


  1. Oh this sounds like a book I would LOVE!!! I live in Pa. so am going to see how far the house is from us. I hope they include the Nemours mansion in Wilmington, De. I toured it last year and it is beautiful too! Thanks SO much for introducing us to this book. I am going to ask Santa for it:):)

  2. These homes are all so beautiful for Christmas! And your home looks magical like always! Thank you for sharing these beautiful holiday interiors!!

  3. What a fun book to review. I think we should go visit some of them! Your home is always beautiful at the holidays. What a great idea to make a book about your home. What a treasure. You are so fun! Love you, Joni

  4. The book indeed is full of magical images. I never tire of looking at Christmas decorations. Gorgeous house...Your own home is beautiful as well. Love the idea of a book. Happy Holidays.

  5. I love your review!

    I'm giving the book a mention in my tablescape post next week. I've visited Britton House in Troy MO. This is our old home town. J grew up there and went to school with one of the former owners of Britton House. I toured the home at Christmas a few years ago. Had no idea about the book until this week! I love that a home in our little town is featured in this gorgeous book.


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