Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum Volunteers Decorate Skylands Manor for Holiday Open House

Once again, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum volunteers are decorating the main entrance and grand staircase at historic Skylands Manor for the annual Holiday Open House, sponsored by the New Jersey Botanical Garden. This year’s theme, “A Country Manor Holiday,” is a tribute to the many festive celebrations held there when Skylands was a private estate. The Manor will be decorated floor-to-ceiling to create a warm and welcoming start to the holiday season.

Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum volunteers have been busily fashioning whimsical decorations to create a magical entrance for the open house. A group of more than 20 volunteers, under the direction of Sara McHugh, designed and constructed gingerbread and stocking ornaments, sprayed painted hydrangeas, filled glass ornaments with artificial snow, tied ribbons to sparkling pine cones, made gorgeous bows, and beautifully decorated the wreath that had been stored in the volunteer shed. Handmade gifts and decorations were the custom in Victorian times as gift-making was a genuine form of recreation for the whole family.

The Manor House is now quiet. The stockings have been hung with care.  A lavishly decorated parlor tree sparkles with embellished ornaments, many gathered from the manor’s gardens.  Tiny stockings and jauntily crafted gingerbread people adorn the nursery tree.

The Holiday Open House will be open November 29 through December 2 from 10 am to 4 pm daily. An evening reception is scheduled for Saturday, December 1 from 6 pm to 8 pm, with reservations required. For information go to or call 973-962-9534.

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