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The Center will host “Deck the Center: Holiday Ornament Decorating,” a kids’ drop-in activity from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 to celebrate the start of the holiday season. Admission, materials and treats will be free.

On the Lewis & Clark Expedition, the Captains and soldiers used the holiday to relax and have some fun. The journals record the soldiers going dancing and hunting. The Captains handed out gifts that included handkerchiefs and rolled tobacco. For most families back in the states, Christmas was a simple affair (if it was celebrated at all).

Today, most American holidays like Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving looked very different 200 years ago. The tradition of decorating evergreen trees was not well known throughout many of the states. The tradition was first brought to the U.S. by German families. Some historians credit Prince Albert, the German husband of the English Queen Victoria, for popularizing the tradition in the late 1800s.

Early tree decorations included apples, candles, tinsel, homemade ornaments, and even angel-shaped pastries. Families also hung paper streamers and berries on the branches of the evergreens. Today, a common pastime is to string together popcorn and cranberries into garland.

For more information, contact Olson at 712-224-5242 or