November 30, 2023 6:00 pm - November 30, 2023 7:30 pm

O Tannenbaum: German-Texan Holiday Traditions

A woman in period dress looking at a christmas tree with a little girlFrom decorations and customs to food and music, German heritage has had a powerful influence on holiday traditions throughout Texas. These traditions come to life each December during “Trail of Lights” at Kreische Brewery and Monument Hill State Historic Sites in La Grange, Texas. Thousands of visitors pass through the historic Kreische House where displays and living history interpreters share the German influence behind holiday dinners, the Tannenbaum (Christmas tree), Victorian ornaments and decorations, gift giving, Santa Claus, and more.

During this virtual presentation, sites staff will bring the historic holiday traditions of the Kreische House to the modern displays of your computer screen. Many of these traditions have become common place in Texas households, regardless of whether or not those homes claim German ancestry. The presentation will also include a demonstration from the Kreische kitchen where costumed staff will prepare kinderpunsch, a spiced warm beverage popularly served at Christmas markets and German homes during the winter.


Marsha Hendrix, PhD, Site Manager

Marsha has been working at museums and historic sites for over 30 years and has degrees in Psychology, History, and Educational Psychology with a focus on how people learn in informal educational environments. She has managed historic sites for Texas since 2004 and has been at Kreische Brewery and Monument Hill since it transferred to the THC in 2017.  She has decorated many Victorian homes for the holidays, but she especially enjoys having the opportunity to share German Christmas traditions, some of which are still enjoyed by her family.


Jenny Townzen, Sites Educator

Jenny Townzen studied Anthropology and History at the University of Texas at Austin and is a master’s graduate in Archeology from the University of Glasgow. There she learned the impact that tangible artifacts can have on the interpretation and understanding of the past. Before joining the Texas Historical Commission in 2022, she was an educator at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin. Jenny loves to combine archival and archeological studies to make sense of historical moments.