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Visit Christmas past at LBJ state and national parks

The Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site glows during the Christmas season. Courtesy photo

The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park celebrates its 50th anniversary this holiday season, but you can step even further back in time during Christmas events held at the Johnson City facility as well as at the state park.

The national park is offering guided lamplight tours of the president's Boyhood Home from 6-9 p.m. on November 30, December 7, and December 14, all Saturdays. Replicate kerosene lamps light the way through the historic home where Johnson spent his teen years in the 1920s.

The home is located at 200 E. Elm St. between avenues F and G in Johnson City.

“We’ve been doing the boyhood tour for years now,” said Brian Vickers, supervisory park ranger of interpretation at LBJ National Historical Park. “People can see the house; people can experience Christmas at nighttime. That gives it the feel of how the president grew up before electricity.”

On November 30, you can help deck the halls at Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, part of LBJ State Park and Historic Site, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. String popcorn, decorate cookies for the Christmas tree, learn to make wreaths from cedar, and dip candles. The state park is located off U.S. 290 at 199 Park Road 52 in Stonewall.

On December 7, in conjunction with that evening's lamplight Boyhood Home tour, the nearby Johnson Settlement log cabin, home of LBJ's grandparents Eliza and Sam Johnson, will be open from 6-9 p.m. for an 1860s Frontier Christmas.

Staff and volunteers in period attire will share cowboy stories and poetry around a campfire, cook up chuck wagon meals, and serve cider and cookies inside the cabin by the fireplace. Children can make hands-on Christmas crafts as well.

You can board a bus to the settlement or take a hike at 7 p.m. along a quarter-mile footpath from the Boyhood Home.

On December 15 at 5:30 p.m. is the 50th annual tree lighting at LBJ State Park and Historic Site. Listen to carolers, watch a live children's nativity, visit with Santa Claus, and enjoy refreshments beginning at 4:30 p.m. The schoolhouse where the president received his education before his family moved to Johnson City will be open for viewing.

When Johnson was a U.S. congressman in the 1930s, he was a key figure in bringing electricity to the Texas Hill Country.

“The settlement gets people thinking of a more rustic era,” Vickers said. “We’re taking people back into history.”

Visit the LBJ State Park and Historic Site or the LBJ National Historical Park websites for more information.

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