The halls are decked at the historic Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, with lighted Christmas trees throughout the mansion to get people in the holiday spirit.

“Christmas at Glensheen is truly a magical time,” Jane Pederson, Glensheen’s marketing manager, told Southwest News Media.

The seventh annual holiday event, called Christmas at Glensheen, will feature 25 lighted Christmas trees throughout the 39-room mansion (there’s a tree in nearly every room), as well as 25 elves hidden around the mansion, “perfect for all the kids (and kids at heart) to eye-spy on tour,” Pederson said.

“I love Christmas at Glensheen because it’s the time of year when the mansion feels most like the family home that it was built to be,” Pederson said.

For the Congdon family, who built the mansion in the early 1900s, Glensheen was a special place at Christmas and was one of the few times the family all gathered together.

“While the Congdons didn’t have as many Christmas trees as we have now, they did celebrate in some unique ways that we like to highlight today,” Pederson said.

One Congdon family tradition was for the family to give Clara Congdon — the mother of the household — nativity scenes as gifts. Her nativity scenes are from all over the world, and some are more than 100 years old. Glensheen displays Clara Congdon’s nativity collection during Christmas at Glensheen.

Glensheen also has a replica Portland Cutter sleigh — similar to the sleigh the Congdons used — so visitors can pretend they just arrived at the estate via sleigh and take photos.

“Along with the spectacular decorations and Congdon Christmas stories, there will be a live pianist in the living room playing Christmas music on the Congdon’s very own, original Grand Steinway piano,” Pederson said.

Christmas at Glensheen will run from Nov. 15-Jan. 5 at Glensheen Mansion, which is about a 2-hour and 30-minute drive from the southwest metro. Glensheen offers three tours (the general admission tour, the full mansion tour and the candlelight Christmas tour) during the holiday season. Each tour allows visitors to see all the trees, and get a shortbread cookie made with Clara Congdon’s recipe.

In addition to the festively decorated mansion tours, there are some special events planned throughout the holiday season.

New to Christmas at Glensheen this year is Spirit of the Lights, a free outdoor light display featuring various motifs. The light display previously hung on “beloved local” Marcia Hales’ Park Point property, Pederson said. Dates for Spirit of the Lights will be announced in the coming weeks on

Returning to Glensheen’s grounds for the fourth year is the Duluth Winter Village on Dec. 7-8. The holiday market, which is free to visit, will feature local vendors and small business owners selling their goods out of small, wooden cabins — fitting for the grounds of a mansion built by Chester and Clara Congdon, “some of Duluth’s earliest champions of local business,” Pederson said.

In addition to shopping, there will be campfires by Lake Superior, complimentary s’mores, food and beverages, live animals, carol singers and more.

Melissa Turtinen is the community editor for Lakeshore Weekly News and Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.


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