Christmas arrived in Richmond early Sunday afternoon, as the historic Pleasant View House in Battlefield Park was covered in a plethora of old-fashioned holiday decorations and visited by a Santa Claus.
Families braved the rain and the cold to have their picture with Saint Nick and deliver their letter. Santa was dressed in a green and red hooded cape and he looked like the warm and festive Ghost of Christmas Present from “A Christmas Carol”.
“Santa is here in his Victorian outfit and the kids can tell Santa what they want and later they can come join us for cookies, punch or hot chocolate. We also have gift bags for all the kids that come in. Later they can go upstairs and play games and see some of the other decorations that are set up around the house, ”Battlefield Park volunteer Louetta Hetrick said Sunday.
The gift bags contained cookies, coloring books, and other fun items that the kids could take home. Upstairs they could find a number of period games such as checkers, collecting sticks, jacks, tumblers and balls, Jacob’s ladders, and pull toys.
While the event’s Christmas decorations are generally Victorian in nature, this year a more rustic farmhouse aesthetic was chosen. As it had a historical – but familiar – aspect.
“We’ve tried to stick more to the time of the area we’re in. For this period, it would have been easier, more life on the farm. So it could have been rags. The only area we strayed into was the flowers. Poinsettias were obviously out of season, but it helped brighten things up. You just have to keep things natural and warm, ”said June Smith, another Battlefield Park volunteer.
While the event was free, visitors were encouraged to participate in Battlefield Park’s Project Warm Feet initiative, a charity campaign bringing together prepackaged socks for those in need during the holiday season. Although the campaign does not officially begin until November 29, more than 300 pairs of socks have already been donated to the program.
Child volunteers from the Farristown Junior Historical Society also attended the event, taking a history lesson and helping the staff at Battlefield Park.
The event returned to Battlefield Park after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. It normally attracts a crowd of around 50 visitors.
By 2:30 p.m., about 20 children had walked through the halls of Pleasant View House with letters for Santa. It was an encouraging sight for the Battlefield Park volunteers.
“We are encouraged by the kids who have come out and the community is supporting us to do something fun for the kids. It’s a free event there to donate something for the kids to have fun,” said Hetrick said.