Start with Christmas journey in the Hudson River, where the image of our traditional Christmas came alive in Tarrytown with Washington Irving. This is a journey created by Washington Irving, known as the “Father of the American Christmas,” and built the foundation of Clement Clark’s ” A Visit from St. Nicolas.” So take a journey for the Historic Hudson River to find the roots of American Christmas.
Next stop, Sunnyside, 89 West Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown, NY 10591, 914-366-6900. Washington Irving’s meticulously restored home is filled with the author’s possessions, including his writing desk and books. Guides, the costumed informal dress of the period, explain how Irving designed the house and grounds himself to reflect his romantic views of art, nature, and history. Originally a Dutch farmer’s house, it is now a non-profit Historic Hudson Valley property and open for tours. Seasonal events are also offered. Located on West Sunnyside Lane, off Route 9 (South Broadway).
For the full story of how Washington Irving shared Christmas in America, check out this Feature story How Washington Irving Shaped Christmas in America in The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
How to join in Washington Irving’s Christmas spirit. Start with a copy of:
OLD CHRISTMAS, BY WASHINGTON IRVING
After the dance was concluded, the whole party was entertained with brawn and beef, and stout home-brewed. The Squire himself mingled among the rustics and was received with awkward demonstrations of deference and regard. -“Christmas Day” Warmly convivial and delightfully festival, this charming and long-forgotten holiday classic, by one of American literature’s most beloved writers, was inspired, in part, by Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and other celebrations of old-time Yule. Splendid suppers and rural churches, cheerful dances, and hearty spirits imbue this short novel with the magic of the season. This festive work, first published in 1896, deserves to be a holiday tradition alongside Dickens in the celebrations of the winter solstice. American author WASHINGTON IRVING (1783-1859) wrote extensively in the areas of history and historical biography but is best known for his short fiction, including “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.”
Finally, here’s where Washington Irving penned his classic works.