New Self-Guided Holiday Tours of Old Salem

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by Camel City Dispatch

By Staff
Old Salem Museums & Gardens is offering Self-Guided Holiday tours through December 31. Self-Guided Holiday Tours offer visitors the chance to experience holiday decorations and traditions, including hearthside cooking, music, and other demonstrations. Self-Guided Tours are available from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and on Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Please note Old Salem will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

old salem christmas
old salem christmas

A visit to Old Salem during the holiday season is a step back to a time when the holidays were simpler, less stressful, and more focused on faith and family. Traditional wreaths hang from the doors, lampposts and fence posts are wrapped in their winter greenery, and the smell of fresh baked treats emanate from the bakery, warming even the coldest nose. The sound of music drifts through the air to draw you into the holiday spirit.

Follow the progression of Christmas decorating and how it changed over time, with more elaborate decorations in the 19th-century buildings:

  • Single Brothers’ House (1769/1786): View the putz, or nativity, in the Saal.
  • Salem Tavern Museum (1791): See traditional decorations in the public and dining rooms, and enjoy the children’s putz in the Tavern keeper’s office.
  • Vierling House (1807): See traditional decorations including greenery and a putz in the front parlor and a decorated pyramid in the back parlor.
  • St. Philips African Moravian Church (1861/1890): See the sanctuary decorated with greenery for the holidays.

See traditional Moravian Christmas activities*:

  • St. Philips African Moravian Church (1861/1890): Learn what Christmas would have been like for the African Americans in Salem; Hear “Morning Star,” a traditional song played during Moravian lovefeasts.
  • Salem Tavern Museum*: See how coffee was made and learn how it was used in the Moravian lovefeast; Learn how to make punch used in English Christmas parties; See the preparation and grinding of spices used in Christmas baking; Discover what Christmas gifts were made in the home.
  • Single Brothers’ House: Learn about Christmas services and the Moravian lovefeast held on Christmas Eve.
  • Miksch Garden: See the winter garden and learn what seasonal foods were grown during Christmastime.
  • Vierling House*: See treats baked specially for Christmas; Learn how candles were made; See the Christmas pyramid and learn the sympbolism behind the decorations; Learn about frakturs, painted Bible verses used for decorating the pyramid; Enjoy Christmas flute music.
  • Vierling Barn (Tuesdays & Thursdays): Make your own painted Bible verses based on the Christmas story; View traditional Christmas gifts given to children in 18th century Salem.
  • *activities subject to change based on daily schedule and availability
  • Enjoy holiday shopping in our retail stores:
  • Horton Center Museum Shop: Visit our special children’s shopping area.
  • Moravian Book & Gift Shop: Purchase traditional Moravian lovefeast mugs, beeswax candles, and other specialty gifts.
  • Butner Hat Shop: Features hand-made baskets, woven Moravian stars, and a variety of coffee, teas, and specialty hats.
  • Old Salem Candy Shop & Marketplace: Taste the fudge of the month and shop for other locally-made specialty foods.
  • T. Bagge Merchant & Garden Shop: Shop our selection of items made by Old Salem tradesmen and visit a special area featuring gifts for men.
  • Winkler Bakery: Watch sugar cake and bread baked fresh daily, and bring a taste of Salem home with you!

All the activities are included with purchase of an All-in-One ticket. Friends of Old Salem enjoy free admission. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please visit For more information call 336-721-7300 or email [email protected].

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