Journalist and author.

The Santa Claus Man

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A Gilded Age Christmas

Posted on December 30, 2016

Whitehall is a stunning mansion in West Palm Beach, FL that was formerly the estate of oil baron Henry Morrison Flagler. Originally built in 1902, it's since become a museum to Flagler's life and accomplishments and houses his vast collection of Gilded Age furnishings and objects, and is now a National Historic Landmark. They also throw quite a Christmas party. I got to experience Christmas at Whitehall first-hand as the guest lecturer. I talked about the history of Santa letters, origin of Santa Claus, and rise and fall of the Santa Claus Association. It was a packed house and a great audience, and afterwards I had the chance to wander the halls of the mansion, checking out the vintage Christmas decorations, listening to live organ and choral performances, and watching the annual Christmas Tree Lighting (done by the youngest descendants of Flagler himself). Here's video of the lecture:

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