Christmas TreeWhitehall's first floor is decorated in traditional Gilded Age splendor through Christmas Day each year. The focal point is a 16-foot tall Christmas Tree in the Grand Hall, adorned with colored electrical lights and traditional Gilded Age style ornaments. Bring your family and experience holiday traditions like the Annual Tree Lighting where you can meet Santa Claus, enjoy refreshments, hear music on the historic organ and watch as Henry Flagler's youngest descendants light the Grand Hall Christmas Tree. The Special Christmas Lecture explores beloved Christmas stories and events to better understand modern Christmas traditions. During Holiday Evening Tours families tour Whitehall after hours by the glow of the original light fixtures and learn the origins of American Christmas traditions.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Christmas Tree Lighting

December 4, 2016
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Free with Museum Admission

For more than four decades the Flagler Museum has observed the tradition of Henry Flagler's youngest descendants lighting the Museum's Christmas Tree on the first Sunday of December.

Schedule of Events

Seasonal refreshments in the West Room - 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Santa Claus in the Pavilion - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Brief Organ Performances in the Music Room
3:30 p.m., 3:50 p.m., and 4:10 p.m.

Installed in 1902, the J.H. & C.S. Odell pipe organ incorporates 1,249 metal and wood pipes powered by massive bellows. The Flaglers employed an organist to provide music for all their social functions held at the estate throughout the Season.

Brief Piano Performances in the Drawing Room
3:40 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 4:20 p.m.

Holiday music was performed on the Steinway Piano. Original to Whitehall's Drawing Room, the grand art case piano was custom designed to match the aluminum leaf detailing of the Louis XVI style room.

Holiday Caroling in the Courtyard  - 4:30 p.m.
A choral performance celebrated the season with holiday carols. Entertaining during the Flagler era often centered around musical events. Musicale, concert, and orchestra performances were often held at Whitehall during the winter Season.

Christmas Tree Lighting - 4:55 p.m.
Henry Flagler's youngest descendants lit the 16ft. tall Grand Hall Christmas tree. The Flaglers celebrated Christmas in a traditional Gilded Age fashion, with a tree richly decorated with ornaments, colored electric lights, and gifts for the local children. The Museum continued that tradition and handed out Animal Crackers, a snack invented in the Gilded Age. The iconic circus box with a string was originally designed to be used as a Christmas Tree ornament.

Sponsored in part by:

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Special Christmas Lecture 2016

Santa Claus ManSanta Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man
and the Invention of Christmas in New York

by Alex Palmer, Author and Journalist
Sunday, December 4, 2:00 p.m.

The 2016 Christmas at Whitehall program featured a lecture on the endearing and sometimes controversial history of sending wish lists and letters to Santa Claus. For almost 200 years, Americans have been writing to St. Nick, at first asking for simple gifts of fruit or books, and soon requesting necessities, advice, and increasingly elaborate toys. As long as kids have written to Santa, adults have struggled to answer their letters, with inspiring, funny, and sometimes scandalous results. In this lecture, author and journalist Alex Palmer discussed the history and the most famous of these efforts: New York City's Santa Claus Association, which for 15 years answered tens of thousands of Santa letters before being exposed as fraudulent. The lecture drew on Palmer's findings in his nonfiction book The Santa Claus Man, and offered a lens into the funny and fascinating history of Santa letters and the evolution of America's celebration of Christmas.

If you were unable to attend the lecture in person, Website visitors can experience this lecture via a pre-recorded Livestream Webcast. On-line visitors can listen to the lecture live and see the presentation. 


Special Christmas Lecture sponsored by:

     Hilton WPB Black          BMO Logo RGB96                Florida DCA RGB72gif              

Holiday Evening Tours

Grand Hall Christmas Tree Group

December 18 - 23, 2016

December 18 and 19:
Tours begin at 7:05 p.m., 7:15 p.m.,
and 7:25 p.m.

December 20 through 23:
Tours begin at 6:50 p.m., 7:05 p.m.,
7:15 p.m., and 7:25 p.m.

During this beloved annual event, families toured Whitehall after hours and discovered the origins of American Christmas traditions. Guests had the rare opportunity to see Whitehall by the glow of the original 1902 light fixtures. Every visitor received a traditional Flagler Museum Christmas Cracker following the tour. A choral group sang carols, and holiday refreshments were served. The Museum Store remained open for holiday shopping.

Sponsored in part by:


Holiday Shopping


The Flagler Museum Store offers a variety of specialty gifts, many developed exclusively for the Flagler Museum. Each product is designed to evoke the romance and grandeur of the Gilded Age, as epitomized by the National Historic Landmark Whitehall. All Flagler Members receive a 10% discount on store purchases.