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TopIn Christmases Past, my good friend Ellen and I have planned a seasonal activity to get our Holiday Spirits Motivated, to kick off the Yuletide Season.

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We’ve done the candlelight stroll at Strawbery Banke In Portsmouth NH, the Nutcracker Ballet, numerous Christmas concerts, craft fairs, Victorian tea rooms, crafted hand-made gifts and ornaments, wrapped presents and many other things to set our moods and spend quality time together.???????????????????????????????  ???????????????????????????????

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Although we have both been to Canterbury Shaker Village in NH many times, together and separately, neither of us had attended their annual candlelit Christmas event.

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This year, for Christmas Present, we made that our objective. We traveled back in time to a simpler place to celebrate a gentler season, another Christmas Past. We drove back roads in the declining daylight in a soft rain, through woods filled with trees leaning with the weight of heavy snow. We pass many old farms and homesteads and have a sense of experiencing history already.

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The first weekend in December this year, we toured the snow-covered village, undeterred by the light rain falling and the fog that settled in comfortably among and between, shrouding the old buildings…

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Each dwelling, workshop, infirmary etc. in the village had a candle in every window. The circuitous paths were lit with lanterns with real candles burning every few steps.

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Fresh natural greenery, dried herbs and flowers decorated each stop. The overall atmosphere was like a fairy village. Over the course of the late afternoon and into evening, the daylight disappeared and the only light was the soft white candles, inside and out.

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Every stop had different events, displays and activities. We listened to a Capella concert of authentic Shaker music, saw demonstrations of broom making, vintage printing, textile carding, listened to ghost stories, saw baking reenactments, sampled Shaker foods and soaked up the Shaker ambiance.

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The gift shop was open, redolent of dried herbs and beeswax. We found some unique and practical items for loved ones and finished our evening with a sumptuous and unhurried meal in the restaurant on grounds; The Shaker Table.

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It was the perfect way to ease into the holidays with a soft Christmas spirit steeped in history and mist. A lovely atmosphere and even though we spent nearly 5 hours there, we could have stayed much longer. This visit was truly, in the words of the Shakers, a simple gift.

Our spirits are already planning a return visit in a Christmas Future…

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