Christmas at Beauvoir
The historic last home of American statesman Jefferson Davis takes a step back in time this holiday season with the first annual Christmas at Beauvoir. Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Beauvoir is celebrating with an 1889 theme Thursday through Sunday until January 6. First Lady of Mississippi Deborah Bryant, Father Claus and school children singing carols opened the new holiday event in November by turning the switch on thousands of white lights that adorn 100 live oak trees across the grounds.
Since then, carolers, storytellers, actors and musicians in 1889-period dress have been entertaining visitors. Father Christmas is on hand for photos, and families can enjoy crafts, games and activities from the time period, while also touring the decorated house and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.
Jefferson Davis’ great-great grandson Bertram Hayes-Davis serves as executive director of Beauvoir and The Jefferson Davis Presidential Library. He says Christmas at Beauvoir is part of a long-term plan to make the property a prominent attraction for Southern history and culture. He explains that visiting the historic home allows people of all ages to learn more about the numerous leadership roles Jefferson Davis played in our country’s government and history.
“He was a U. S. Representative, a U. S. Senator, Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce and then President of the Confederacy during the Civil War,” adds Hayes-Davis. (Don’t leave without a commemorative ornament from the gift shop, signed by Hayes-Davis himself.) Davis died a few weeks before Christmas in 1889, so Beauvoir captures that year in history as a celebration he would have experienced himself.
The festivities conclude on Twelfth Night, with reigning Gulf Coast Carnival Association King d’Iberville and Queen Ixolib (Ick-suh-lib) darkening the lights and parading to the Mardi Gras Museum to officially kick off the start of Mardi Gras season on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Admission to Christmas at Beauvoir is $20 for adults, $12 for seniors, military and children ages 5-15, and children under 5 get in free. A train tour of the grounds is included.