Learn about the inspiration and process of creating four stunning Christmas trees, inspired by Hillwood’s outdoor exhibition, Four Seasons. The monumental sculptures interpret Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s celebrated botanical paintings, which depict each season with seasonal fruit and vegetables. This year’s trees include dried flowers and foliage, many of which were grown in Hillwood's cutting garden.
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Season's Greetings at Hillwood draws inspiration from Deco Japan and Four Seasons with bountiful Christmas trees and festive decor throughout the estate.
Hands-on workshops, guided holiday tours, and the annual Russian Winter Festival add to the Christmas splendor.
Christmas trees evoking the botanical bounty inspired by the special exhibition Four Seasons are the centerpiece of a fantastical holiday season at Hillwood. On view through March 31, 2017, the lush foliage, colorful blooms, and vegetation navtive to each of the seasons will permeate the holiday decor that adorns the entire estate.
Christmas Trees on Display
Black velvet, gold silk, and metallic ornaments greet guests upon arrival in the visitor center as a twelve-foot-tall Deco Japan-inspired tree takes inspiration from the vivid, high contrast colors, geometric patterns, and unique materials of this era.
Four Seasons takes over the mansion as flowers, fruits, and vegetables abound in rooms that call out to particular seasons. A large, sumptuous tree commands the dining room. Reminiscent of fall bounty, artichokes, pomegranates, and tufts of wheat, rye, and millet accent the tree. Taking its cue from the bright colors and renewal of the season, spring thrives in the French drawing room as the tree overflows with pink silk tulips, peonies and dried roses highlighted by blue hyacinths and delphiniums. A summer tree brightens the first floor library, laden with fruit including apples, pears, strawberries, and raspberries, offset with silk roses. In the pavilion, a winter-inspired tree features a variety of mushrooms, pinecones, cabbages, and twigs, topped off with an ivy garland.
In addition to the trees, other displays celebrate the style of holidays past. A festive display on the dining room table features pieces from C.W. Post's dinner services that Marjorie often mixed with great flair. Richly decorated with gold and adorned with his initials, the pieces evoke the new American wealth of the Gilded Age at the turn of the last century. The brilliant centerpiece made by Vincenz Mayer & Sons was a frequent addition to Marjorie's grand dinner parties. Depicting Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, the piece represents the pleasures and revelry of a joyous banquet.
Holiday Programs and Workshops
The family highlight of the holiday season at Hillwood is undoubtedly the Russian Winter Festival on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11. Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden are on hand for this celebration of the holidays in Old Russian style, while winsome characters, enacting the old Russian winter custom of mumming--dressing up costume and visiting friends, singing, playing jokes, and fortunetelling--surprise and delight visitors across the estate.
Hillwood's gardens reveal another aspect of their ever-changing beauty during the holiday season. Confiers 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, museum shop is a favorite destination for holiday shopping. With dozens of fashionable accessories and fascinating items inspired by Deco Japan and Four Seasons, in addition to clothing, books, ornaments, and home decor, Hillwood's shop offers distinct gifts for everyone.