Christmas in New York is not just the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, sure it is one beautiful tree but Christmas in The Bronx brings you eight beautiful trees inside one exquisite mansion. For those of you who have not yet visited the mansion, Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is the last of the elegant country estates that once populated the Pelham Bay area. A tour of the mansion transports you to mid-19th century New York City by means of its furnishings and fine and decorative arts. However, in the holiday season the classic rooms of the mansion sparkle with the twinkling lights of Christmas trees artistically decorated to the theme of contemporary storybooks. This year the storybooks brought to our Christmas tree present are:
- The Smallest Gift of Christmas Storybook by Peter H. Reynolds; Tree design by Bronx Council on the Arts
- The 12 Days of Christmas Storybook by Robert Sabuda; Tree design by artist Joe Burck
- Auntie Claus Storybook by Elise Primavera; Tree design by interior designer firm Franklin Eighth, Sarah Sarna and Tina Ramchandani
- Olivia Helps with Christmas Storybook by Ian Falconer; Tree design by artists Judy Moonelis and Jeff Mongrain
- Olive the Other Reindeer Storybook by Steve Moore; Tree design by The JFM Group
- A Christmas Tree for Pyn Storybook by Olivia Dunrea; Tree design by Bronx Parks 125
- The Mitten Storybook by Jan Brett; Tree design by decorator Jane Bell
- Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas Storybook by Jane O’Connor; Tree design by Bartow-Pell docents Linda Sacewicz and Christine Williams
Each of these dazzling Christmas trees brings a story to life through creative ornaments as well as room decorations and music. From The Twelve Days of Christmas’s six geese a laying crafted with Legos to A Christmas Tree for Pyn’s decorated with acorn ornaments straight out of our very own Bronx Parks, each artist meticulously selected their materials to reflect details from the books as well as showing off a bit of the artist’s passion. Joe Burck, a Bronxite and native City Islander used his artistic talent and passion for Legos to recreate The Twelve Days of Christmas into a creative tree complete with Lego gifts, even included charming nutcrackers to decorate the chimney top. Ellen Pollan, Deputy Director at the Bronx Council on the Arts and a Bronx environmentalist embellished her creation of A Christmas Tree for Pyn with nests, feathers and a string of seed pods that wrap around the tree. Another lovely story brought to Christmas tree lights is The Mitten, by designer Jane Bell who selected to hide curious woodland animals within the tree, the soft stuffed kind of course, even a hedgehog found its way out the mitten and into the tree.
A Storybook Christmas is a Bronx Christmas experience you don’t want to miss, with upcoming concerts, a family day and Victorian carolers, Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum will transport you an your family back to a simpler time we romanticize these days. Not only will children enjoy the beautiful trees with contemporary popular characters like Olive the Other Reindeer, Olivia and Fancy Nancy but they will also enjoy exploring the garden grounds. As for the adults, the music and beauty of nature along with the enchanting décor in an outside the mansion will provide a warm Christmas feeling even in the brisk winter air.
Admission to the garden and grounds is free daily from 8:30am to dusk, the mansion and carriage house are open to the public for guided tours on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4pm. For more information about Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and their upcoming events visit www.bpmm.org.