Step back in time to a Victorian Christmas at the Winchester Mystery House’s Spirit of Christmas this year, featuring over 10,000 twinkling lights, entertainment, and some faux snow, in one of the most iconic locations in the greater San Jose-area. There is still time to enjoy this unique celebration after Christmas, when the pace of life has slowed a bit, with the last two evening events slated for Dec. 26 and 27.
I’ll admit, when we were invited to visit the Winchester Mystery House for a nighttime holiday tour, we were expecting something a little spooky. Not so much like the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, but as it was our first visit to the house, we were slightly nervous and very curious. We can now say that there is no reason to be nervous, and even if you’ve already toured the Winchester Mystery House, the Christmas celebration features themes trees and decorations fitting with the Victorian theme throughout the 160-room mansion. For us first-timers, it was a great way to see the house.
Featured among the decor, were Victorian carolers and other characters. It was great to walk into the parlor, and other rooms, and see people in costume conversing or dancing, as they would have at the time. Also, the scents of the house helped bring it alive, including citrus in the kitchen, which would have been a prominent food at a Victorian Christmas.
Outside, there is “snowfalls” on the hour, beginning at 6 p.m., many holiday lights, and more characters, including Santa and Mrs. Claus. A highlight was the Victorian Mistletoe Singers performing outside under the illuminated house.
Tours begin at 5:20 p.m. and last about 50 minutes. It may sound long for younger kids, but it moves enough to keep things going for most ages. My nine year old had no issues with the length of the tour. Ticket prices range from $14-24.