Crailo State Historic Site in the City of Rensselaer will host a St. Nicholas Day Open House on December 6, 2013 from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm. For the Dutch settlers of this region The Feast of St. Nicholas was a day of celebration with favorite food and treats.
Children checked their shoes, left out the previous night, for presents from Sinterklaas. In Washington Irving’s History of New York (1809), Sinterklaas was Americanized into “Santa Claus” (a name first used in the New York press in 1773) and helped popularize today’s Christmas traditions.
On December 6th Crailo will be open with several crafts, shopping and a visit from Sinterklaas! Children can decorate their own wooden shoe, make a miniature tree or wreath from felt and create a holiday magnet for the fridge. Afterwards, visit with Sinterklaas, good children will receive a small gift.
The entire museum will be open for exploring. In the cellar kitchen, interpreters in period clothing will be preparing seasonal dishes on the open hearth fireplace. There will be snacks for sampling and cider for drinking.
The Marketplace Museum shop will be open with treats perfect for everyone on your list. Whether you are looking for history books, reproduction colonial items or historic themed toys for the kids you will find that and many other fun things in the museum shop.
Admission to the house is free on St. Nicholas Day. There will be a minimal charge for the crafts. Come kick off the holiday season with Sinterklaas at Crailo State Historic Site.
Once the Van Rensselaer family’s fortified home, Crailo State Historic Site is one of 35 historic sites and 176 parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. For more information about New York State Parks and Historic Sites, visit www.nysparks.com or on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CrailoStateHistoricSite, or Call (518)463-8738.
Illustration: The Feast of Saint Nicholas, by Jan Steen, 1660s.