Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

November 28, 2013

A very vintage Tree Time

Historical society's festive display decked in hints of yesteryear

Anyone can trim a beautiful Christmas tree with some strands of lights and glass ornaments in reds and greens, silvers and golds.

But for the sixth straight year, the Andover Historical Society is taking Christmas tree decorating to a whole new level with an enchanting collection of about 30 trees all bedecked with a nod to yesteryear.

Decorated by various groups in town, this year’s trees are each inspired by the historical society’s successful “Behind the Seams” exhibit, which combines costumes, accessories, quilts and samplers from 1790 to 1920 to tell tales from 130 years of clothing history in Andover.

The monthlong Tree Time exhibit opens this weekend in the society’s Blanchard House at 97 Main St.

Carrie Midura of the society, who serves as tree exhibit curator, applauded decorators for taking textiles and other objects from the society’s collections and building on them for their tree themes.

Midura said one of the groups, for example, is building on a circa 1900 picnic scene for its tree design.

“It’s decorated with food, wine, checkered napkins and even an oversized ant for a tree topper” Midura said.

A couple groups are gong the bridal route, with Wingate Nursing Home on Andover Street adopting a blushing bride theme for its tree and an empty-nesters group using a vintage wedding gown as its focus.

Andover Fire Rescue Department, which has decorated a tree every year for the festival, tends to go patriotic with its approach. Memorial Hall Library, another group that has had a tree from the start, always delivers something creative.

Midura said it has been exciting to see volunteers incorporate the many costumes and accessories on display in the “Behind the Seams” exhibit into their tree designs.

“It’s great to see the decorating enthusiasm,” Midura said. “The decorators really let their imaginations run wild.”

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