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The annual Pioneer Christmas celebration at the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8.

In the 1850s and 1860s, the Christmas season was largely a home oriented celebration of family. Country folk decorated their homes with wild berries, evergreen boughs, fruits and nuts, and homemade paper decorations. A tree might be brought into the house and decorated with berries, nuts, oranges, candies or homemade trinkets. Gift giving was not yet an important part of the season. When given, gifts were usually homemade.

Holiday visitors to the mill will follow these traditions as they make their own citrus and clove pomander, a rosemary wreath, string a popcorn and cranberry garland, decorate a gingerbread cookie, write a calligraphy letter to Santa with pen and ink, or cut a paper snowflake to take home and decorate a tree.

Artisans in period attire will demonstrate their pioneer crafts of lacemaking, spinning, cross-stitching and waxed egg decorating. Mill tours and milling will take place throughout the day.

Folks will gather around the wood stove to enjoy hot cider, cookies, and a sing-along with our musicians.

Admission is $5. Children younger than 6 are free. Bale Grist Mill is located on Highway 129 between the towns of Calistoga and St Helena. The mill is ADA accessible. Those needing additional assistance can call the mill on the day of the event 707-963-2236.

This event is held by the Napa Open Space District. The NOSD is dedicated to preserving, restoring, educating about and providing access to Napa County’s water, wildlife, open spaces and historical resources. In 2012, the NOSD assumed management of the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park. Interested in volunteering at future Bale Grist Mill events? Please contact Jessica at 707-299-2175 or info@napavalleystateparks.org

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