On a beautiful Sunday afternoon my sister, sister-in-law, and I visited the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, the official residence of the governor of Arkansas. I've driven by and looked through the massive wrought iron gates, but I've never been inside before. Somehow I've missed the fact that they have an open house each year at Christmas.
Carolers greeted us as we walked up the steps.
Just stepping into the foyer took my breath away. The mansion's rooms were decorated using the theme "Carols of Christmas" with each room featuring a holiday song or carol.
I have to admit that I did not recognize the carol "Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light" which was the theme for the dining room. I did look it up and read the words. It was written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1734.
The room was filled with elegant silver and gold decorations.
The theme in the formal living room was "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." This Christmas carol first appeared in 1739 in collection written by Charles Wesley. It was solemn, not the joyful tune we know today. A hundred years later in 1840 a cantata was written by Felix Mendelssohn. William H. Cummings adapted part of Mendelssohn's music to fit Wesley's lyrics.
The many angels placed around the parlor were beautiful!
"Let It Snow" was the theme in the glass atrium. There we found Old St. Nick with his sleigh and beautiful snow covered trees. The lyrics to this carol were written by Sammy Cahn and the music composed by Jule Styne in July 1945. I thought it was interesting that this carol was written in Hollywood, California during a heat wave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions! We could use a little of those cooler conditions around here, too!!
The lower atrium was decorated with whimsical elves, sweets and goodies. It wasn't the most gorgeous area, but it was a very popular area. There were delicious pastries, cookies, candy, punch and apple cider available for everyone to enjoy.
I was most happy to see several nativity scenes throughout the mansions. There were small ones to this very large one which was my favorite.
The beauty of the mansion put me in such a good holiday spirit.
What have you found this Christmas season that brings you joy?