I admit it. I’m one of those people who begin (in September) counting off the number of days until Christmas. I do not object when Christmas music begins smack on the heels of finishing the last of the Halloween candy. As a youngster, I always wished Christmas could last at least through February, just to brighten up the dark and dreary early months of the New Year.
So, I’m right in my element here at the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) in Cape May. We are beginning, on Nov. 2, the process of building our Christmas exhibit in the Carroll Gallery on the grounds of the Physick Estate and it’s a mega-project that, like Topsy, just seems to grow and grow.
The salespeople in Lowe’s and Michaels get to know me well, because there’s always something new I want to add. Not that it really needs anything. The centerpiece of the exhibit is, once again, our enormous Christmas tree, or at least the bottom of it, beneath which we display our huge collection of Dept. 56 Dickens Village buildings and accessories. Donated to us nine years ago by Ernie and Betsy Heegard, there are hundreds of pieces to it, and everyone loves it.
With help from others here at MAC, it will all come together nicely. Bright and early Monday morning, we will begin building the tree and, later in the week, our train man, Rich Chiemingo, will come in and lay the track for a train that winds through the village. After his job is done, we lay out the buildings on the lower level of the display platform; the top one is already done before Rich begins.
All of this culminates with Holiday Preview Weekend, Nov. 16-18, and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Sponsored by our good friends and supporters at Sturdy Savings Bank, this is a free event for everyone in the community. In addition to the tree lighting, there are free tours of the Physick House, decked out in true Victorian style for the holidays, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All this plus caroling, refreshments and, of course, Santa Claus, who arrives (by MAC trolley, naturally) to meet with all the good little boys and girls who want to get a jump on delivering their Christmas lists. You can also buy tickets for a variety of festive trolley rides that leave from the Estate that night.
This is just the beginning of the holiday season for us at MAC, as we roll out a bevy of special tours and events that are sure to rev up your Christmas spirit, especially the Christmas Candlelight House Tours on Saturdays, Dec. 1, 8 & 15, the jewel in the crown of our season.
I’ve been telling people (even before September when my countdown started) about how wonderful Cape May is at Christmas. The beautiful homes, B&B inns, hotels and churches are just made for this season.
So, if you’re one of those people who have been grumbling about having to already listen to Christmas carols in the check-out line, come on down to Cape May for our tree lighting. It will help your heart grow a few sizes.
-- Jean Barraclough is manager of publications and website at MAC