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Christmas Traditions Attractions

 

THE LEGENDS OF CHRISTMAS

The holiday festivities of Saint Charles Christmas Traditions are so legendary, that some of the most iconic figures of history, literature, and folklore have traveled from their fanciful realms in order to celebrate with you and your family.

Whether they’ve hitched a ride from a flying reindeer, sprung forth from the pages of a Charles Dickens classic, or danced all the way from the Land of the Sweets,  these quirky personalities are eager not only to share their histories, but to bring you into their story. You never know what you might see while exploring Main Street! Be recruited by the Sugarplum Fairy to join the Nutcracker Prince’s legion of toy soldiers as they seek to defeat the odious Mouse King, help Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim attempt to bring a smile to the face of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, play a festive prank with our resident clown-about-town the Master of Revels, or learn the finer points of window frosting from Jack Frost and Susie Snowflake.

As you walk down historic Main Street, you’ll be travelling to the four corners of the earth (no passport required) as you encounter nearly a dozen international Santas and global gift givers who will share the music and customs of how their native countries celebrate the holidays. Learn how to play dreidel with Titus Flavius Josephus, marvel at the local history as Civil War Santa shares tales of the figures and locations along Main Street that figured prominently in the war between the states, and discover how people around the world welcome the new year with Father Time.

And don’t miss the following friends who have decided to join the festivities this season:

Herr Drosselmeyer: This magical inventor has created all sorts of incredible gadgets and gizmos…notably a certain enchanted nutcracker doll.

Captain P.L. Jingleheimer: You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen…they all owe a debt of gratitude to this gifted Reindeer Flight Instructor.

 

CAROLERS

The sounds of the season come to life as a charming line-up of musical quartets fill the air with a treasury of Christmas tunes. Journey through a musical timeline as Saint Charles’ own Cobblestone Wassailiers sing the most beloved traditional Victorian carols, while the USO Evergreens and Sleigh Bell Singers cover the favorite holiday standards of the 1940s and the 1950s. Direct from the Land of the Sweets, the Candy Canes offer a variety of musical surprises, while the Nightingales specialize in Civil War-era Christmas songs. For a turn-of-the-century treat, don’t miss The Singin’ Snowmen, a chilling barbershop quartet. Listen and enjoy the beautiful music of these unique groups, and if the Christmas spirit moves you—sing along!

Don’t miss the following new musical acts making their Christmas Traditions debut this season:

The Christmas Truce of 1914: These four soldiers will share their stories (and perhaps even a song or two) of the remarkable Christmas ceasefire and resulting comradery that took place between “enemies” along the Western Front during the First World War

The Mistletoe Misses: Celebrate the retro charm of the big cities at Christmastime during the midcentury era with this quartet that transports you back to the by-gone era of yuletide nostalgia

 

OH CHRISTMAS TREE: THE EVOLUTION OF AN ICON 

Location: The Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park
When: All festival hours

Perhaps no image is as associated with the holiday season as the Christmas tree. For centuries these festive evergreens have not only provided a fitting place for Santa to deposit gifts but have stood as a global symbol for the hope and meaning of Christmas.

Journey to the Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park to experience “Oh, Christmas Tree: The Evolution of an Icon,” an exhibit that will lead visitors on a gentle winding path through history as a forest of tannenbaums illustrate how trends and fashions effected the stylings of trees over generations. From the first illumination introduced to pine trees by Martin Luther, to the mid-century modern flair of aluminum trees in the 1950s and 1960s, discover interesting trivia as you view international variations of this holiday icon, while celebrating famous depictions in popular culture (from Charlie Brown’s sad sapling to Seinfeld’s “Festivus Pole”).

Though the style has changed over the years, one thing is certain: this exhibit will leave you pining to learn more about the holiday season’s biggest decorative star.

 

THE LEGEND PROCESSIONALS 

While our signature Santa Parade will make its return to Saint Charles Christmas Traditions in 2021, each festival day will start with a brief procession of your favorite characters and carolers who will
march right down the middle of Main Street as they make their way to their respective historic district locations in preparation of a day spreading holiday magic.

And as each festival day draws to a close, our merry band of legendary figures come together in a candlelight procession as they bid adieu to Main Street with a hearty wish for a merry Christmas and happy new year

 

SANTA’S COTTAGE

The Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park has been a Saint Charles landmark since it opened in 1893. But not many people know that during the holiday season, Santa uses it as a special workshop outpost as he counts down to Christmas Eve. Mr. Claus wants to let you in on the secret as he welcomes you to become an “honorary elf,” as you explore the workshop, get a glimpse of his busy mailroom, and witness the majestic Reindeer Hall of Fame, where you can learn some of the stories of Santa’s lesser-known reindeer (you know…the ones that didn’t have a red nose).

Have a socially distanced meet-and-greet with Santa in his parlor where you can share a Christmas wish list, take a photo, and maybe even sneak a peek of the famous naughty and nice lists.

Santa is excited to meet with visitors in his cottage* during the following hours:

  • Opening Day, Friday, November 27 (12pm-9pm)
  • Saturdays: (12pm-9pm)
  • Sundays: (12pm to 5pm)
  • Christmas Eve: (11am to 1:15 pm)

*Santa & Mrs. Claus will meet visitors in the gazebo on the 400 block of South Main Street on Friday evenings (not including Friday, November 27th)

High quality professional photos with Santa are available to help remember your visit. A variety of photo packages are available and can be purchased with either cash or credit card.

 

KRAMPUS KARAVAN

Location: The Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park
When: Friday evenings from 6pm-9pm (excluding Friday, November 27th)

You’d better watch out! Krampus is coming to town! On Friday nights, be prepared to experience some of the wonderfully weird holiday customs from around the globe as Krampus (the furry, punitive partner of Saint Nicholas in Bavarian and Austrian culture) has arrived in Saint Charles with his notorious batch of kooky (but friendly) ne’er-do-wells: from Gryla (the quirky Icelandic ogress) to Mari Lwyd (the whimsical singing skeletal horse from Welsh culture), and those whacky mischievous Greek trolls, the Kallikantzaroi. Continue inside the KATY Depot where you will see that Krampus himself has decided to re-decorate Santa’s home-away-from-home. With eerie lighting and the sound of macabre Christmas carols floating through the air, enter Santa’s parlor that has been re-imagined as Krampus’ lair. Have a laugh at Krampus’ comical antics, and don’t forget to snap a photo with him (guaranteeing you the most unique Christmas cards on the block this year!) Create lasting memories as you discover the peculiar holiday traditions from around the world during this curious experience that is certainly more “merry” than “scary.”

 

CHESTNUT ROASTERS

Location: The Daniel Boone Statue (between the 700 and 800 blocks of South Main)
When: All festival hours

Jack Frost nipping at your nose? Travel to the Daniel Boone Statue to enjoy the warm and toasty treat of fresh chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Revel at the entertaining antics and witty banter of our Victorian chestnut vendors as they demonstrate the fine art of roasting their favorite holiday snack. For a small fee (2 chestnuts for $1), you can enjoy one yourself—either as a tasty treat or as an old-fashioned hand warmer.

 

THE PICCADILLY PEDDLERS

Location: Berthold Square (200 block of South Main)
When: All festival hours

These purveyors of fine goods hearken back to the by-gone era of street merchants who lined the squares and alleys of Victorian London. These brash, and enterprising peddlers and flower girls hawked their wares as a means of supporting their large impoverished families.

They have set up shop here along historic Main Street to offer visitors a variety of festival souvenirs including: Saint Charles Christmas Traditions t-shirts and Saint Charles Christmas Traditions commemorative ornaments.

Stop by their cart in the shadow of the official city Christmas Tree in Berthold Square to peruse their goods.

 

GINGERBREAD VILLAGE

Location: Main Street Church (116 North Main Street)
When: Fridays from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Saturdays from Noon to 9:00 PM, and Sundays from Noon to 5:00 PM

Discover "Together for Christmas" at the Main Street Church Gingerbread Village display. You're invited to visit and view the village, then VOTE for your favorite in the "People's Choice" category.

 

HOLIDAY TRAIN DISPLAY

Location: Frenchtown Heritage Museum & Research Center (1121 North 2nd Street)
When: November 27 to December 20 (Thursdays,  Fridays, and Sundays from Noon to 3:00 PM, Saturdays from Noon to 7:00 PM)

All aboard! Hop onto the Saint Charles Trolley for a quick trip to historic Frenchtown. Explore the quaint shops along North Second Street and pay a visit to the Frenchtown Heritage Museum, where you can feel like a kid again by taking in the wonderous sights and sounds of Santa's Train Land. 

VISITOR MAGAZINE

St. Charles is known for its warm welcome, unique historical perspective, and beautiful sites—there’s so much to do you’ll need more than a day.

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