A Very Merriweather Christmas at Hillwood draws inspiration from the new biography Marjorie Merriweather Post: The Life Behind the Luxury, with resplendent Christmas trees and holiday decor throughout the estate.
Hands-on workshops, guided holiday tours, and the annual Russian Winter Festival add to the Christmas grandeur.
Christmas Trees on Display
The glamour and elegance of founder Marjorie Merriweather Post permeate the holiday decor that adorns the entire estate. While Post's love of luxury embellishes the trimmings, it is her role as an elegant public figure, astute business executive, deeply caring and generous humanitarian, and committed philanthropist that characterize the Christmas trees, each drawing inspiration from a theme explored in the new book.
The mansion entry hall higlights Marjorie Post's most important legacy: Hillwood, with its verdant gardens and sumptuous art collections. A florally festooned tree, featuring live orchids—Post's favorite flower—along with greenery and roses, evokes the beauty of Hillwood's landscaped gardens. An opulent tree celebrating Post's love of family decorates the French drawing room. Post surrounded herself with framed pictures of her family, as reflected in the tree's central adornment of black and white photographs. Soft pinks, glittering gold, and sparkling diamonds complement the room. In the pavilion, Post's generosity for the arts and education is on display. Her philanthropic support for causes such as the Washington Ballet and the National Symphony Orchestra are whimsically referenced in a tulle tree skirt and shining ornaments of musical instruments. A large tree in creams and golds inspired by Post's acts of service to others completes the dining room. Knitted decorations created by Hillwood staff, who followed in Post's footsteps as she knit socks for soldiers, are contrasted with ribbon ornaments that harken to awards Post received in acknowledgement of her "great selflessness."
In the visitor center, bold black, white, and red greet guests upon arrival as a dramatic tree takes inspiration from the LIFE magazine covers on view in the special exhibition Mid-Century Master: The Photography of Alfred Eisenstaedt. Vintage cameras and mid-century-style ornaments add a unique flair.
Holiday Programs and Workshops
The family highlight of the holiday season at Hillwood is undoubtedly the Russian Winter Festival on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15. Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden are on hand for this celebration of the holidays in old Russian style. Lively music and festive dances add to the holiday fanfare.
Hillwood's gardens reveal another aspect of their ever-changing beauty during the holiday season. Conifers such as the blue atlas cedar and false cypress show off their evergreen boughs, while holly and witch hazel provide bright spots of color. Hands-on wreath-making workshops provide the opportunity to explore Hillwood's magnificent grounds during the winter and craft a one-of-a-kind holiday decoration to enliven the home.
Throughout the season, the museum shop is a favorite destination for holiday shopping. With dozens of unique items inspired by the life of Marjorie Merriweather Post, in addition to clothing, books, ornaments, and home decor, Hillwood's shop offers distinct gifts for everyone.
The delightful Merriweather Café is the perfect complement to a day celebrating the holidays at Hillwood. Warm up with seasonal specials and hand-crafted food and beverages served in the gracious manner of Post.