First portion of the chat focused on the question, How can you use the holidays to promote your historic site? Some of the proposed activities included:
- Displaying old holiday photos on site or on social media
- Holding seasonally themed events -teas, crafts, tours, etc
- Holiday snacks!
- Holiday theater stage at the heritage site, eg. the Christmas Carol
- Combine with other local events your activities with other local holiday events
- For example, the distillery district in Toronto christmas market, draws thousands
- Watson's Mill in Ottawa hosted a Christmas Fair and Art Show this past wknd.
- As a backdrop to other heritage events, or as a venue for private holiday functions
- Family ornament decorating activities
Second question of the chat, what is the most successful holiday program you have been to/organized at an historic site? Favourites included:
- Victorian Christmas at Dundurn Castle in Hamiilton
- The Grand Illumination in Colonial Williamsburg
- The Candlelight at Dallas Heritage Village.
- @KyleGonyou recalled being taken to beakfast with Santa at Fanshawe Pioneer Village
- Alight at Night in Upper Canada Villag
- Advent of Jazz held at St. Paul, oldest black congregation in Dallas, Texas, which was built by freed slaves.
- Biltmore's candlelit self-guided tours with live music and fires blazing.
Third segment of the chat dealt with, How can we encourage people to shop locally in historic main streets?
- Combine moonlight madness with other activities such as skating, caroling, etc.
- Hold a Christmas festival downtown, and encourage all shops to decorate windows
- The main streets are just perfect for decorating - light it up!
- Provide more parking
- Ask the community what they want
The chat concluded with a discussion of How do you make sure your holiday activities are as inclusive (and/or multicultural) as possible?
- Heritage groups, municipalities should encourage all constituencies to celebrate their holiday traditions.
- Having personalized items that can be customizable for any holiday
- The new inclusive is to do lots of niche activities
- Let the historic places speak for themselves. The best places evolve and change with the times if we let them