Few communities have the rich legacy of historic houses that Salem, Massachusetts boasts. These homes, spanning four centuries, help define the character as well as the appearance of the city, and every year some of their owners invite visitors in to view their homes decked out in full holiday regalia, with the help of professional decorators and florists.
Held annually the first weekend in December, Christmas in Salem inaugurates the holiday season, bringing thousands of visitors to see our homes and enjoy our city. The first Christmas house tour took place in 1979 under the combined auspices Historic Salem, Inc. and the Visiting Nurses Association of the North Shore. Historic Salem has since assumed responsibility for the tour, and it is now the organization’s major fundraising effort.
Each year, the tour highlights properties in historic neighborhoods across Salem. In 2012, Christmas in Salem explored the Salem Willows–a popular park and recreational area since the late 18th century and home to a variety of summer cottages and houses from the Victorian and later periods.
Proceeds of the tour support all aspects of HSI’s mission. Additionally, our successes in trecent tours allowed HSI to begin interior renovations of the Nathaniel Bowditch House, a National Historic Landmark that serves as HSI’s headquarters.