These very different house museums recreate Christmas as their owners might have celebrated it.
Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes
Over the top! The gilded, flamboyant Victoria Mansion is even more ornate during the holidays, when artists, florists, and designers dress up interiors. The month-long celebration includes programs for children, like Wednesday morning story hour on the massive flying staircase and performances of the Nutcracker by Portland Ballet. Nov. 23–Jan. 6. Victoria Mansion, 109 Danforth St., Portland. 207-772-4841. victoriamansion.org
Christmas at Norlands
The Washburn family’s Italianate country mansion will be decorated simply with ivy and balsam garlands, as befitting a mid-19th-century Maine farm (albeit a wealthy one). Activities include horse-drawn wagon (or sleigh) rides, lessons and spelling bees in the schoolhouse, storytelling and games in the parlor, cooking demonstrations in the farmer’s cottage, and caroling. Dec. 8, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Washburn Norlands Living History Center, 290 Norlands Rd., Livermore. 207-897-4366. norlands.org
Victorian Christmas at the Estey
Vera Estey decorated her unpretentious 1875 home with an upper-middle-class woman’s élan: silk-and-bead lampshades, expensive fabrics, her own paintings and needlework, and a piano and organ. For the holidays, costumed interpreters are in every room, stringing popcorn and cranberries, playing board games, reading children’s stories, and cracking peppermint pigs — one of the few Victorian traditions to originate in the U.S. Dec. 14–15, 6–9 p.m. 1875 Vera Estey House, 16 Third St., Presque Isle. 207-762-1151. pihistory.org