Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mini Holiday Review: Christmas at Historic Houses by Patricia Hart McMillan, Katharine Kaye McMillan

Title: Christmas at Historic Houses
Authors: Patricia Hart McMillan, Katharine Kaye McMillan
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 19th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Schiffer Publishing

Description via Goodreads:

History is brought to life in many historic houses, especially at Christmas time, when special decorations help to welcome the social season and visiting guests. In this revised second edition, learn history and local customs through engaging text and over 420 colour photographs. Costumed guides interpret Christmas traditions in some of the thirty specially decorated houses that are featured from across America. Both magnificent estates and simple residences offer a variety of styles, tastes, and ideas to inspire your own celebrations. See preserved buildings with illuminated gardens, inviting dining halls, and stunning interiors. Enjoy the many efforts on display here that help to make the Christmas season a magical time of sharing, caring, and gratitude.


Christmas at Historic Houses is the kind of book that I imagine will adorn many coffee tables and bookshelves during the holiday house party season. Part history book, part photography book, and completely Christmassy, this book is stunning to flip through and really interesting to read.

As the title suggests, this is a book that features Christmas at historical houses. There's photographs included of these brilliant houses decorated so beautifully for Christmas. It put me properly in the holiday spirit- I wanted to somehow manage to decorate my tiny little dorm room with the panache and awe that these houses have.

I was pleasantly surprised when I found this book to be full of so much more than pictures. For each house, there are details about the history of the property as well as the architecture/design of the houses. There's also stories of the Christmas traditions that have taken place there or of the people who have made that house what it is. It gives off a warm and cozy, reading by the fireplace sort of story-telling that is easy to sink into and interesting to learn about, without it being too much like a text book.

Overall, this is a good book for those who need a little jumpstart into the holiday spirit, want to look at stunning houses, or want to learn a little more about Christmas traditions. Thanks to Schiffer Publishing for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


  1. One year I took my kids to see a holiday house in Sarasota, FL. It was really a lot of fun. I would love to have this book. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Oooh that would be fun! I was in Massachusetts for the holidays once and was blown away by the love of history and Christmas there.

  2. This sounds like a great book for a festive coffee table. I adore reading about history and traditions, and of course I love looking at stunning things (which is why I have so many pictures of you). What a wonderful review of a book I need to get.