BELLEVUE - Former Tiffinite Janet Dundore is a collector of nativity sets from all over the world. She has put her collection on loan for display in the visitors' center at Historic Lyme Village in Bellevue.
The Dundore display is the first stop for the village's Christmas of Yesteryear tours 2-5 p.m. Sunday.
Volunteers have decorated the Wright Mansion and five other buildings with a "Christmas Through the Decades" theme. The decorations represent how Christmas was celebrated in 1880, 1900, 1920, 1930, 1940 and 1950-60. Visitors can take self-guided tours to view the decor and read a description of events from the period.
PHOTO BY MARYANN KROMER
This nativity set is from Mexico.
Ray Parker, a member of the village's board, conducted a partial tour for this reporter.
"We're emphasizing the outbuildings this year, as opposed to the mansion," Parker said. "Each cabin is a different decade. The cabins are not period this year."
The one-room Merry School House operated from 1860-1935 and came to the village from Erie County. The decorations there are characteristic of 1900-09.
The Christmas tree would have been lighted by candles instead of strands of electric lights. It is trimmed with cranberry garlands, American flags and ornaments that could have been fashioned by school children.
The Annie Brown Log House was built in 1869, south of Flat Rock in Seneca County, but it is decorated to reflect the 1920s. The national Christmas tree tradition began in the 1920s. Popular toys included Raggedy Ann and Andy and die-cast metal toys, Tinker toys and Lincoln logs.
A silver aluminum Christmas tree with a color wheel is set up in the Seymor House to represent the 1950s and '60s. Under the tree are Lite Brite, play bake dishes and fashion dolls. A display case in the house holds Santa figures and a collection of "bubble lites" and other vintage lighting that was used for the holidays. The kitchen looks as if Grandma just stepped away from baking for a moment.
In early December, the Wright Mansion was the venue for Victorian dinners, so volunteers adorned the house with decorations appropriate for the late 1800s. They used magazine cutouts, ribbon, natural greenery, dried flowers and leaves, popcorn, fruits and other materials that would have been available in December.
"The Victorians would have had a theme for each room. ... and each room has a tree," Parker said.
The chandeliers and mirrored mantle on the first floor are beautiful by themselves, without any holiday accents. Upstairs in the original playroom, a collection of antique toys can be seen. Another room has a white theme carried out with snowflakes and cut paper art.
Parker said the dinner table is to be set as the Victorians would have done it.
"They would have had tall centerpieces so they couldn't see anybody chew," Parker said.
During "Christmas of Yesteryear," area music students are to perform in the Detterman Log Church.
The Carriage House Cafe is to be open with refreshments for visitors.
The village gift shop also is to be open with books, art, crafts and other items.
Those who miss the tours Sunday can see the village during Christmas Lantern Tours 5-9 p.m. Dec. 28, 29 and 30. Admission for both events is $6 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-12.
Historic Lyme Village is located at 5001 SR 4, east of Bellevue. To learn more, visit www.lymevillage.org or call (419) 483-4949.