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Victorian Christmas in Berlin: Modern Takes on Old Tradition

Ocean City’s Winterfest of Lights may be the main attraction at the beach this holiday season, but it is far from the only celebration happening in the area.  Just west of Ocean City, Maryland’s Coolest Small Town has big Christmas plans of its own, Victorian Christmas, that is.

It’s hard to imagine a world in which Christmas doesn’t exist; however, in the 1800s, the deeply rooted traditions seemed to be falling out of vogue in Europe and North America, calling the future of the holiday into question.  By the 1840s, Christmas related festivities were scarce and the once flourishing holiday seemed destined to fade into obscurity.

Enter the Victorian era in Great Britain- a long period of peace and prosperity that brought many benefits to Britain, and the world.  Among them was the resurgence of the Christmas spirit that rescued the once dying holiday from the brink and solidified many of the traditions we still observe today.  Christmas trees, cards, holiday dinners, gift giving, and carol singing were all either created or revived during the Victorian era and helped the holiday ascend to new heights in popularity.

Each winter, Berlin pays homage to the 19th century heritage of America’s most popular holiday with a month long, town-wide celebration that includes all the trimmings.   The 2013 edition of the event runs from November 29-January 1 and will feature elaborate window and light displays, carriage rides, visits from Santa, and fun activities for the whole family.

Here are some of the highlights to add to your calendar:

–          Victorian Christmas in Berlin kicks off at 5pm on November 29 with the official lighting of the town Christmas tree (located in front of the Atlantic Hotel) by the mayor and his special guests.

–          Friday, November 29, will also be Holiday Arts Night from 6-9pm.  Work by local artists and artisans will be on display throughout the town’s galleries and boutiques.  You can also enjoy live music and refreshments in the streets.

–          The 43rd Annual Berlin Christmas Parade takes place Thursday, December 5 at 7pm.  Christmas floats, marching bands, fire trucks, and Santa Claus will make their way through the town streets lined with spectators.

–          Friday, December 13 will be the holiday edition of the 2nd Friday Art Stroll, featuring art displays, receptions, live music, and food.  The event runs 5-8pm, but many shops will offer extended holiday hours to maximize your shopping experience.

–          Berlin’s acclaimed New Year’s Eve Celebration on December 31 rounds out the holiday festivities in a big way.  Enjoy beverages, food, music, and entertainment on Main Street before watching the ball drop in front of the Atlantic Hotel.  This, like all Victorian Christmas events, offers family friendly fun that is equally exciting for kids and adults.

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