Melrose gets ready for annual Christmas program

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Noreen Pyron, left, and Al Walker help Pam Harriss put the finishing touches on Christmas decorations Tuesday morning in preparation for the Christmas at Melrose program.

NATCHEZ — Melrose was wrapped in historic holiday spirit and festive decorations Tuesday in preparation for a journey back to a Natchez Christmas past.

Adams County Master Gardeners and Melrose Garden Friends were out at Melrose crafting and hanging decorations on the outside of Melrose for the Christmas at Melrose program this weekend.

The gardeners gathered in and around the carriage house at Melrose to bind holly, pine, cedar and magnolia leaves to wisteria vines to create garlands that will be on display at the annual Christmas program.

Melissa Tynes, park ranger and volunteer coordinator for the program, said all the holiday decorations are handmade from greenery cut from the Melrose grounds.

It’s important, Tynes said, to keep the decorations authentic and in the style of antebellum Natchez to give people a glimpse back in time to historic holiday traditions.

“Our mission is to interpret antebellum Natchez,” Tynes said. “That’s what we do.”

Master Gardener Joanne King said Christmas at Melrose is a wonderful way to teach people, especially children, about the history of Natchez holidays.

“It’s unique, and it’s a unique way to teach children about what was done in the antebellum era during the holidays,” she said.

Tynes said the event is a way for Melrose’s staff to give back to the community.

“It’s free, and it’s our gift to the community for the holidays,” she said.

Master Gardener Judy Kelly said Christmas at Melrose gives families a change of pace from the busy holiday season.

“It gives families, especially kids, a different side of the holiday season besides going to the mall and the hustle and bustle,” she said. “It’s a nice, calming activity.”

The program will be from 6-9 p.m. on Friday and 9-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tours are free.

Children will have a chance to make paper pinwheels and lanterns, popcorn and cranberry garland, ornaments cut from cinnamon dough and color holiday coloring sheets.

Area Girl Scout troops will lead caroling Saturday from 10-11 a.m., and there will also be live music throughout the weekend.

Event goers can also put their name in a drawing for two wreaths crafted by the Master Gardeners that will be given away Sunday.

Guides in period dress will lead visitors on house tours through the first floor of Melrose. Tours will be every 15 minutes on Friday with the last tour at 8:30 p.m. and every half hour on Saturday and Sunday with the last tour at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call Melrose at 601-446-5790.