Travel Wisconsin: Historic Holiday Events

Travel Wisconsin



An Old World Christmas at Old World Wisconsin takes you back to the holidays during the 1880’s. 


- Visitors can tour the village by carriage ride, or stroll the grounds to see how settlers would have prepared and decorated for Christmas. 

- Carolers sing classic holiday songs while guests enjoy storytelling, games and treats around the bonfire. The event also includes special visits by St. Nicholas and Krampus, the folklore creature who punished children who misbehave.  

- An Old World Christmas takes place Dec. 9-10. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for children. 

The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake also hosts their own traditional European Christmas market that is reminiscent of the old German holiday markets. 

- The Osthoff’s Old World Christmas Market runs through Dec. 10 and features handmade wooden toys, blown-glass ornaments, jewelry, Christmas wreaths and other gifts from international and regional artisans.
  - The market takes place inside of a heated tent. All of the vendor booths are made of wood and decorated with fresh evergreens and white lights.
  - Guests can also visit the Old World Food Court to enjoy traditional German food, like the Nuremberg bratwurst, dumplings, potato pancakes and apple strudel. Father Christmas also makes an appearance at the event. 

Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay celebrates the season with The Spirit of Christmas Past. All of the museum’s 25 period buildings are decorated for Christmas. 

- Guests can listen to local musicians, dance along to historic tunes and enjoy hot chocolate and cheesecake. 
  - They can even lend a hand in one of the historic kitchens as the volunteers (dressed up in period clothing) make Christmas meals.  

- Kids can make their own holiday craft, meet “Old World Santa” and learn how Christmas would have been celebrated during different periods in Wisconsin’s early history. 

- The Spirit of Christmas Past is held on Dec. 9 and 16. Tickets are $11 for adults and $8 for kids. 

Every weekend through January 14, Hearthstone Victorian Christmas in Appleton honors holiday traditions of the past. Fun fact: Hearthstone Historic House was the first home in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power. 

- This year, the museum is taking a look back on 135 years of Christmas history at Hearthstone House. 

- Visitors will experience how the house would have been decorated during the eras of its past owners, from the 1880’s through the 1970’s. 

- Tours run Friday-Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids. 
  - Special Friday night tours will feature live music and costumed docents. Tickets for this event are $15 for adults, $5 for kids. 

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