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Celebrate the holidays at Phillips’ Mill with a Victorian Yuletide tradition


Ring in the holidays at Phillips’ Mill with an evening of Victorian winter traditions: Drama at the Mill presents “Promises To Keep: A Yuletide Ceremony,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21.

Hearken back to a time before electricity illuminated the long winter nights when families gathered around the hearth to tell ghost stories. The tradition was a popular aspect of Victorian life and provided an entertaining evening of fantastical tales.

“As the nights get longer, the shadows get darker and our lives fill up with wrapping paper and Hallmark movies, wouldn’t it be nice to take a breath and shiver for some reason other than family travel plans going wrong at the last second? That’s how the Victorians did it! ‘Promises to Keep: A Yuletide Ceremony’ will revive the Victorian tradition of telling ghost stories during the winter holidays,” explained Valerie Eastburn, chairman of the Drama Department.

There will be warm cider, a troupe of generous actors reading short stories, and a playful candlelight vigil to ward off the chaos of the holiday season before heading back out into the night.

“At Phillip’s Mill, we’re attempting to revive the tradition Dickens drew from, not so we can retell ‘A Christmas Carol,’ but so we can playfully confront our own ghosts the way the Victorians did, together,” noted host Griffin Horn. Ghostly stories and tales of the unusual will enchant the audience and are appropriate for adults and children ages 10 and up. Parents are asked to use their discretion in deciding whether their children will be comfortable with ghost tales.

This new drama event for the holidays is part of a new PMCA Theater Residency Program, with Philadelphia-based playwright Griffin Horn serving as theater resident. A graduate of New Hope-Solebury High School with a B.A. in drama from Kenyon College and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Temple University, Horn will lead the audience through the evening’s festivities and provide all with memories to savor throughout the season.

Tickets are $10 for adults and free for children 17 and under. For information about all the programs at the Mill and to reserve your tickets for this dynamic new event, visit

Phillips’ Mill takes great pride in upholding the traditions of its founders William Lathrop and friends, as well as offering innovative new programs and events. “Promises To Keep: A Yuletide Ceremony” offers a little bit of both with its rejuvenation of this time-honored Victorian practice. Located at 2619 River Road in New Hope, the Phillips’ Mill Community Association invites all to join in the fun and experience what’s sure to become a holiday favorite.

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