Florida On a Tankful: Exploring Christmas of yesteryear at Pioneer Village

By Bailey Myers, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, December 08, 2017, 7:59 AM EST

With Christmas around the corner, you and your family have a chance to take some time and reflect on how Christmas was way back when it was new to Florida.

Off Babb Road in Kissimmee is a collection of authentic restored and some recreated homes and businesses sit on a 10-acre living history museum. There you can reflect on what life looked like for the average Central Florida pioneer.

"It was not Christmas as we know it." Pioneer Village volunteer Mary Thiele said. "For the local ranchers, back in 1890, it was another day. They took time out to go to church perhaps or meet at the school house, and the children would get a small gift, and then they kept on going."

While pioneers may have cut down trees for their Christmas centerpiece, the tree would not have been a spruce or fur, but a scraggly Florida scrub pine.

"Back then we would have sent our sons down to get a scrub pine and cut it down and bring it in. Then we would decorate it with what we brought from our European homes," Don Meirs said, another volunteer.

Without electricity, nothing but handmade ornaments would decorate pioneers Christmas trees.

"You'll notice it doesn't have lights on it. They didn't have lights. They would only put candles on it until Christmas Eve," Thiele explained.

Although Pioneers Christmas celebration may not have been as sparkling as today's, the Pioneer Village may put a perspective on what life was like just a little more than 100 years ago.

"We just appreciate all the things we have now that make our lives so comfortable. We don't have to have such grand things to have a fun Christmas and enjoy our family," said a visitor of Pioneer Village Vina Escobar said.

Pioneer Village will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s, but you can always stop by for a self-guided walking tour seven days a week or sign up for a guided tour with some of those living history volunteers.

For more information about signing up you can visit the Pioneer Village website here.