Historic Columbia Hosts its Annual Holiday Tours and Events

Holiday houses tours, special events and shopping specials take place Nov. 16 – Dec. 30

COLUMBIA, S.C., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 —Spend your holidays with Historic Columbia! The season will officially kick-off at Historic Columbia on Friday, Nov. 16 with historic holiday tours and festivities taking place through Sunday, Dec. 30. Take holiday tours of the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion, enjoy holiday-themed special events, have Breakfast with Santa and find the perfect gift at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills.

“Each year, we offer visitors the opportunity to experience period holiday décor and past traditions, enjoy a holiday-themed events, and of course, visit with Santa,” said Fielding Freed, Historic Columbia's director of house museums. “Our holiday tours of the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion explore the history of Christmas and New Year’s during the 19th century here in Columbia. Our goal is to show how the celebration of Christmas in the homes of South Carolinians has changed over time so that we might better understand the impact of the holiday season on our history.”

Holiday Tours and Events:

Holiday House Tours

Nov. 16 – Dec. 30 | Robert Mills House & Hampton-Preston Mansion

Guests are invited to see a variety of holiday decorations and experience past traditions at the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion between Friday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 30. Tour guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the Robert Mills House, guests will see how a home of its size might have been decorated in the 1820s during the time before Christmas trees were popular. Across the street at the Hampton-Preston Mansion, Christmas of the 1860s was very different from today in many ways but some of the traditions we carry on today have their roots from this time. Eggnog, poinsettias and Christmas trees were all part of the Victorian era holidays.

Admission includes a guided tour of both the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion. Tours will be offered Tuesday – Saturday at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m.,1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Santa Signing

Saturday, Nov. 17 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Gift Shop at Robert Mills

Join Historic Columbia at their annual Santa Signing from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday,

Nov. 17 at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills! This free, family-friendly event is the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, visit with Santa, enjoy holiday activities and begin checking off your shopping list. During the event, guests are invited to explore Santa's workshop inside the Robert Mills House and learn the history of holiday celebrations long ago. Guests will receive 30% off their entire Gift Shop purchase (some exclusions apply) as well as light refreshments and door prizes. Registration for this free event is strongly encouraged. To register, visit historccolumbia.org, call (803) 252-1770 x 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

Research Roundtable | Historic Holidays

Tuesday, Nov. 27 | noon – 1 p.m. | Seibels House

Learn more about Historic Columbia’s research initiatives at the monthly Research Roundtable from noon – 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Join John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources, as he investigates 19th-century holiday culinary traditions, gift giving and decorations in Columbia and Richland County. Participants are welcome to bring their lunch to this program. Admission is free for Historic Columbia members and $5 for non-members. To register, visit historiccolumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.

Historic Holiday Happy Hour

Friday, Nov. 30 | 5:30 – 7 p.m. | Robert Mills Carriage House

Enjoy history, drinks and games at Historic Columbia’s Historic Holiday Happy Hour, presented by The ART of Real Estate from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30. Get into the holiday spirit with holiday-themed games, trivia and activities that connect with past customs and traditions. Enjoy eggnog, wassail and other popular beverages consumed as far back as the 1800’s. Every 20 minutes, new holiday songs, activities and beverages will be unveiled to represent a new decade of seasonal celebrations. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members and include drinks and light refreshments. Attendees must be 21 or older. To register, visit historiccolumbia.org, call (803) 252-1770 x 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides

Friday, Dec. 14, 5:30 – 9 p.m. | Robert Mills House & Hampton-Preston Mansion

Visit the decorated, candlelit halls of the Hampton-Preston Mansion and the Robert Mills House and on a guided tour during our annual Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides! Enjoy live music, entertainment, children’s activities and hot chocolate from Scoppy Doo while celebrating the holidays with Historic Columbia. Before or after your house tour, take a carriage ride through the Robert Mills Historic District. Stop by the Gift Shop’s holiday open house throughout the evening for a last minute storewide sale as well as refreshments, holiday tunes and giveaways.

Candlelight Tours are $5 for adult members, free for youth members, $15 for adult non-members and $8 for youth non-members. Carriage Rides are an additional $10/person. Candlelight Tour tickets must be purchased in order to purchase Carriage Ride tickets. There is limited space on the Carriage Rides and guests are encouraged to purchase advance tickets by visiting historiccolumbia.org, calling (803)-252-1770 x 23 or emailing reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, Dec. 15, from 8 – 11 a.m. | Robert Mills Carriage House

Join Historic Columbia for a holiday treat to remember! Enjoy a breakfast in the cozy Robert Mills Carriage House while listening to seasonal music. After your meal, explore the decorated halls of the Hampton-Preston Mansion, see a Victorian Christmas tree, make holiday crafts and take a picture with Santa! While Santa is hard at work gathering lists, the Gift Shop elves will also be hard at work providing great values on purchases. Enjoy shopping and activities throughout the day at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills! Breakfast with Santa is $15/adult and $7/youth for members, $20/adult and $10/youth for non-members and free for kids 3 and under. There are three times for this event: 8, 9 and 10 a.m. Space is limited and guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by visiting historiccolumbia.org, emailing reservations@historiccolumbia.org or calling (803)-252-1770 x 23.

Thank you to our sponsors!

The 2018 Historic Holidays are sponsored by Furr & Henshaw, The Hobbs Group, Hood Construction, Columbia Flag & Sign Company, Robert Mills Historic Neighborhood Association, City of Columbia, Richland County, Columbia Eye Clinic, P.A. and Surgery Center, Inc., Meadors Construction and Midlands Orthopaedics.

About Historic Columbia:In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit historiccolumbia.org or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for more details.