Historic Holiday Celebrations Season Long At DACO

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Something special happens right at the end of each calendar year. For most of the western hemisphere; the final weeks of the year are filled with celebration: family get-togethers, work parties – and, for the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio (DACO) in Lancaster, a few weeks of holiday-themed programming all set in the gorgeous historical Reese-Peters House.

“There are several people who work very hard to decorate the entire house in the period style of the early 1800s,” said Brian Kemp, one of the organization’s board members. “It’s a really fun place to be around the holidays. The holidays at DACO are sort of Licking and Fairfield counties’ best kept secrets.”

The celebrations kick off with the opening of the Dressed for the Holidays exhibition on Nov. 24. Christmas trees from several decades, dating back to the ‘50s, will be on display alongside an assortment of antique toys that sat under many of those stylized trees.

On Dec. 4, the exhibition’s curator, Dr. George Johnson, will provide an in-depth look at the display. The event, entitled Memories from Our Childhood, has been crafted in such a way as to trigger deep-seated nostalgia for many. A special play area will be available for the younger set, as well as a holiday-themed coloring contest.

Dec. 13 marks DACO’s holiday party, a Historic Holiday Celebration, which will feature a performance by the Fairfield Youth Keyboards and Strings ensemble, a holiday toast to good health, a traditional wassail and dramatic readings of the Chanukah story and “The Night Before Christmas.” The event is taking place 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Rose Kalef, a high school senior at the Columbus Torah Academy, will be providing the reading of the Chanukah story.

“It’s really amazing to me to be able to share my culture with others,” said Kalef, who was approached to do the reading in part due to her heavy involvement with the Gallery Players at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. “It’s great that (DACO) has created an event that will allow people to come together to celebrate the holidays.”

Howard Schottenstein, the President of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, which is loaning a vintage menorah to DACO for the party, expressed that he is pleased with the collaboration and the upcoming event.

“It’s always good to share beliefs with each other. When we know what is important to each other and what guides our lives; it helps us to understand each other,” he said. “It’s truly heart-warming to be approached to supply something that represents our beliefs to this event.”

Schottenstein said that the menorah, perhaps being the most important implement of the celebration of Chanukah, is an especially appropriate symbol of the holiday.

“I mean; don’t you think people are just nicer in December?” said Schottenstein. “It’s just a wonderful time of the year for Jews and Christians and Muslims alike – everyone seems to be a little bit happier and a little bit warmer.”

In addition to the holiday programming, DACO will have special classes on tree ornament and gift making on Dec. 6, 10, 13 and 17.

DACO is located at 145 E. Main Street in Lancaster. For more information, visit