The Hippo


Aug 22, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Christmas at Canterbury

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, 3 to 8 p.m.
Where: Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road, Canterbury
Cost: $18 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 17, free for children under 5 (additional costs apply for the Christmas buffet dinner: $20 for adults and $10 for children)
Schedule of events
• Christmas buffet dinner: 4 to 9 p.m.
• Meet with Santa: 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Live music featuring the Sugar River Band: 5 to 7 p.m.
• Magic shows featuring Andrew Pinard: 4, 5 and 6 p.m.
• Live harpist music and caroling featuring De Luna: 6:30 to 8 p.m.
• Christmas tree lighting: 7:30 p.m.

A simpler holiday season
Christmas at Canterbury returns to Shaker Village

By Matt Ingersoll

 If you’re looking for a simpler way to celebrate the holidays while still enjoying the season’s more modern amenities, immerse yourself in Christmas at Canterbury. The Canterbury Shaker Village event offers a unique look into what celebrating Christmas was like for Shakers in the 19th century, when there was no such thing as Black Friday and the focus was on community. 

Traditionally held during the first two Saturdays in December, the first took place Dec. 3 and the second will happen Saturday, Dec. 10, from 3 to 8 p.m.
“The idea was to research all of the things the Shakers did around the holidays,” said Funi Burdick, executive director at the Village. “They enjoyed making their own Christmas cards and gifts for others, and it was also a time for them to look at the year as a whole and talk about their friendships and camaraderies. … So we wanted to do some simple activities while providing opportunities to spend time with other people.”
Burdick said the idea behind the event was also partially inspired by the scenery of the Village’s historic buildings during the winter and by the desire to eliminate the sense of commercialism that is often felt during the holiday season.
“[The first event] came in the winter of 2008. I realized that we didn’t do any sort of holiday or winter programming,” she said, “but it was also a time when we were going through a recession, and I feel like people felt a little bit lost within their lives financially and with their jobs. It all just seemed like it became very materialistic. In some ways, the excitement of days like Black Friday can overtake family and friends coming together, so I thought, why not develop a Christmas program that had focused on the ideas of simplicity and family.”
New to this year’s event will be Santa Claus like you may have never seen him before – dressed up in Victorian-era costume to greet children and tell them stories.
“We’ve steered away from having Santa in the past, but he will be there this year in the Carriage House, and I think being in a big space that’s welcoming with a persona like Santa will be an opportunity for families, especially with children, to kind of slow down,” Burdick said.
Several ongoing activities will be available at the Village for people to enjoy at their leisure, Burdick said, including ornament making, gingerbread cookie decorating and card making. Other activities include caroling in the Village’s chapel, with harpist De Luna providing the music.
“We’ve done caroling in a variety of ways in the past,” Burdick said. “We’ve found that it’s a nice way to bring people who want to convene at the end of the program together.”
Magician Andrew Pinard will be returning for three magic shows during the event, at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. Burdick described Pinard as a “historic role player” during his performances, dressing up as Jonathan Harrington, one of the earliest American magicians.
“He comes dressed as a 19th-century character from the past, he has a certain language that he uses and even his magic tricks come from the 19th century,” Burdick said. “He really kind of enlivens his performance more than if he was just going to a modern facility, because he’s fitting in a historic chapel … so you really will be stepping back in time.”
For food, enjoy a Christmas buffet dinner at the Shaker Table anytime from 4 to 9 p.m. for $20 per person and $10 for children that will include traditional Shaker recipes. The evening’s festivities will conclude with the lighting of the Christmas tree at 7:30 p.m.

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