Decking the Halls

170 wreaths and four Christmas trees make Mystic Seaport merry and bright.
Wreath-making at Mystic Seaport is a massive undertaking, as a dozen volunteers make 170 wreaths in time for Lantern Light Tours. Click this photo to launch a slideshow. Mystic Seaport photo/Joe Michael.

There are a lot of halls – and vessels and outbuildings and doors – to deck at Mystic Seaport. Work begins before the Halloween candy wrappers have even been swept off the Village sidewalks.

Made out of boxwood, spruce, fir, juniper, white pine, flat cedar, winter berry, 170 wreaths and 400 to 500 feet of garland are the stars of the Mystic Seaport holiday trimming. Garden Supervisor Julia Jankowski oversees a team of about a dozen volunteers who, over 18 total days, create all that out of piles of greenery and boxes of decorations. Gardener Steve Sisk makes nearly all the garland by hand.

The wreaths range in size from 10 inches (147) to 72 inches (the iconic decoration on Brant Point Light) and are hung throughout the Village and visitor centers in time for the opening of Lantern Lights Tours (this year on November 24).

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Jankowski says she couldn’t do it without her volunteers, who gather in the greenhouse in Tuesday and Thursday mornings starting in early November. There are printouts of the list of wreaths that have to be created and where they will be hung. Some are always the same, like the star-shaped wreath for the Treworgy Planetarium, and the shell wreath on the Mallory building. Some are left up to the wreath-maker’s own creativity.

Thirteen of the wreaths are made from scratch using greens gathered from the Museum ground, and the rest arrive formed but in need of decoration.

Additionally, Christmas trees are placed atop the Museum’s signature vessels, the Charles W. Morgan, L.A. Dunton, and Joseph Conrad. A tree is also placed top the Breeches Buoy on the Village Green. The trees went up on November 20, placed by riggers Matthew Otto and Sarah Clement.

You can enjoy the holiday spirit at Mystic Seaport during the day or during Lantern Light Tours, which runs weekends beginning November 24 through December 23. Please note winter schedule begins Monday, November 27: the Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday-Sunday, starting that week.