Totara Estate revives a Victorian Christmas party

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A Christmas party from the Victorian era was on show at Totara Estate yesterday.

Anne Sutherland, property manager at Totara, and her team of six organised the special day, dressing up in Victorian costumes and using traditions from a bygone era to entertain more than 20 children and their equally delighted parents.

“We did a lot for the day. We made Christmas trees and hand-made decorations,” Ms Sutherland said.

The children enjoyed traditional games far removed from Playstations and computers and which were probably totally new to them – pin the tail on the donkey, parlour games, snakes and ladders and others.

The Carol Singers, Anna Clayton-Smith and Krissy McGeown, both of Oamaru, sang carols, bringing a suitably festive atmosphere to proceedings. Following an afternoon tea of mince pies, shortbread and other treats, Father Christmas made his grand entrance, chugging up the roadway to Totara in a 1901 replica Oldsmobile driven by Gordon Pringle.

“We didn’t have one (a Christmas party) last year and it’s the first time we’ve had one like this,” Ms Sutherland said.

“It’s all about the children and celebrating Christmas as a family.”

After his grand entrance, Father Christmas distributed small presents to the children while parents scrambled to take advantage of the photo op.

Ms Sutherland said the party would be repeated next year.

“Anyone can come,” she said.

A charge of $10 was made for adults, $5 for school-age children and the event was free for pre-schoolers.

By CHRIS TOBIN

PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

IN DECORATING MODE: Sven Beley, 4, from Hampden, hangs his decorated cookie on the tree at yesterday’s Victorian Christmas at Totara Estate.