Longwood gears up for Christmas with a French accent

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A Longwood Christmas runs November 23–January 7. Photo by Daniel Traub.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — There is only one way to describe Longwood Gardens French-inspired holiday display . . . c’est magnifique! Explore the warm 4-acre conservatory and be enchanted by fanciful topiary and more than 50 trees adorned in classic holiday tones boasting sparkling crystal ornaments reminiscent of the splendor of Versailles. Outside, illuminated stars twinkle above, colorful fountains dance to holiday music, and a half-million lights brighten the night.

Inside Longwood’s 4-acre heated Conservatory, 16,000 seasonal plants including poinsettias, cyclamen, and anthurium flourish. In the Exhibition Hall, an array of floating cranberries and apples are set in intricate, swirling botanical patterns creating a carpet of color. The Music Room will transport guests to Versailles with its ornate and a mirrored dining table set for Christmas Eve dinner. Upon entering the Conservatory, guests will encounter a 25-foot tall concolor fir garnished with blue, copper, and gilded ornaments amid a topiary parterre border that heralds the formal splendor that awaits in the Conservatory.

Throughout the season, Longwood’s grand Ballroom will feature free and ticketed holiday-inspired performances as well as daily holiday sing-alongs performed on Longwood’s grand 10,010-pipe organ. The Strolling Olde Towne Carolers add to the holiday charm on select evenings. For a complete listing of performances, visit longwoodgardens.org.

More than 500,000 outdoor lights grace 124 trees, with the tallest tree topping over 90 feet. Outdoor favorites return including the illuminated Italian Water Garden, and two 8-foot Concolor Firs in the Hourglass Lake Pavilion ornamented with materials found in the Meadow Garden and our natural lands. The popular Wildlife Tree entices our furry friends to nibble on edible ornaments made from wheat, apples, and birdseed. The Gardener’s Tree cleverly showcases our gardeners’ creativity with handcrafted ornaments and garland made with angel vine and Mediterranean textiles draping the 26–foot Norway Spruce.

Created by Longwood craftsmen and local artisans, three fire pits will be placed throughout the Gardens, allowing guests to warm up by the fire on cool evenings. The fire pits will be available every night throughout the holiday season, weather permitting.

In the Open Air Theatre, fountains dance day and night to holiday classics. Young and old will delight in Longwood’s outdoor train display located near the Birdhouse Treehouse as it travels past miniature Longwood landmarks lit for the holiday season. In Longwood’s historic Chimes Tower, the 62–bell carillon plays holiday music every half hour.

Admission to the Christmas display is by Timed Admission Ticket, with tickets purchased in advance for a specific date and time. There is no admittance to the gardens without a timed admission ticket. Guests should buy their tickets before arriving at the Gardens to ensure admittance. Tickets are available now and can be purchased online at longwoodgardens.org.

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