How's this for a recipe for a delicious Christmas celebration – a French feast with 13 different desserts.
That's the menu at the Felix Valle House State Historic Site in Ste. Genevieve. The free event, held earlier in the month, recreates the customs of a French Christmas from the 1830s, when Felix Valle and his wife, Odile, lived in the house.
The house was lit with candles, live folk music will be played on a hammered dulcimer in the parlor and the staff will be in period costumes to explain French traditions.
"We decorate the whole downstairs with boxwoods, holly and pine and hang an advent wreath," said Donna Rausch, acting site administrator. "The food is set out in the dining room.
Felix Valle is one of eight state parks or historic sites that will mark the holiday season with special events, which include winter hikes, visits with Santa, flaming plum pudding and plenty of treats and hot cocoa.
So even if you miss the festivities at Felix Valle, check out these others holiday events at Missouri State Historic sites.
First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site in the Missouri River town of St. Charles has a full schedule, with candlelight Christmas concerts in the legislative chambers on two evenings and historic games, toys and novelties for sale in an old-fashion store.
"The candles give a really warm glow, the windows get all frosted, the fireplace is crackling – it has a real old-timey ambience about it," said Sue Love, the site's interpretive specialist. "It's really a neat experience to shop for old toys and games by candlelight. It is run as it was in the 1820s, except you're not allowed to barter."
The Buckhannon Bros. also will perform traditional music at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Tickets are $8 and are available at the historic site in St. Charles.
The Peck Bros. Dry Goods and Hardware store, located at the historic site, will be open for candlelight shopping from 5-9 p.m. on on Friday, Dec. 21. Candlelight tours of the Capitol building will be given from 5:30-8 p.m. on the same two evenings. Interpreters in historic clothing will tell of Missouri's early statehood struggles and frontier life.
For information on the First Capitol events, call (636) 940-3322.
If you're still aching to get outside before the holiday, head to the town of Trenton, Mo. and Crowden State Park.
Staff at the park will lead a "Winter Wonderland Hike" from 10 a.m. till noon on Friday, Dec. 21, the first day of winter. After the hike, enjoy Christmas and nature stories while you make a craft to take home. Call (660) 359-6473 to make reservations or for more information.