On Sunday, December 2, 12 noon until 4:00 p.m., Point of Honor, located at 112 Cabell Street, will host its 36th Annual Christmas Open House, presenting one of Lynchburg’s architectural treasures fully decorated for the holiday season. Admission is free.
Point of Honor will be decorated with native greens and authentic holiday table settings based on Federal-era traditions (1780–1820). The popular period music trio Riddle on the Harp will perform 18th and 19th century carols in the parlor. The dining room and other areas in the house will exhibit food and table settings from a typical holiday bill of fare from 1815. Refreshments will be served in the Carriage House where children can also make their own special holiday craft. The Gift Shop will offer a 10% discount on its unique gift items, all with a Lynchburg connection.
Christmas in the early 1800’s was quite different from today. Homes were decorated with greenery, but usually in a simpler, more natural fashion. Families visited with one another and greeted Christmas morning with toasts, the firing of guns in the air, and serving the best foods and drinks available.
Many families celebrated a high-spirited holiday known as Twelfth Night. The holiday festivities would commence on Christmas Eve with the burning of a ceremonial “Yule Log” and would continue for 12 days. On the Twelfth Night, a grand celebration would take place with families gathering for singing, dancing, and feasting. At the end of the evening, the Yule Log was extinguished, and pieces of its wood were saved to be used as kindling for next year’s event. The Christmas we know today came to America after 1840, when large numbers of German immigrants brought with them Santa Claus, the hanging of stockings, and the Christmas tree.
Point of Honor was built in 1815 by the Cabell family. It has been beautifully restored and is now a Virginia Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The house and grounds are part of the Lynchburg Museum System, which also includes the Lynchburg Museum at the Old Court House, 901 Court Street.