I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting about 365 days for the holiday season. Just writing this blog has me channeling my inner Buddy the Elf, “SANTAAA!!”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel as though Minnesotans in particular, really love Christmas. It might be the mounds of snow or the -45 degree weather, regardless Duluth soaks up all of the Christmas spirit possible and is notorious for it’s holiday events and attractions. This season, make sure to put “Glensheen’s Christmas Tour” on your list of things to do and see.

This year’s Christmas tours incorporate a chance to explore the mansion yourself. Yes, I said it. You get to run around a 20,000+ square foot mansion willy-nilly. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Tall signs are placed in the rooms of the mansion with information, plus, voice recordings on a brand new audio tour are available through our app. Holiday music will accompany you in various rooms as well. Though the first floor, second floor, and basement are free for you to explore on your own, friendly staff members are there guide you through and answer any curiosities you may have.

#1 Glensheen’s Elf Hunt

When you head to Glensheen to take a Christmas tour, you will begin your journey in the ticket house. This brings me to #1 of the 5 things to know about the Glensheen Christmas Tour. The elf hunt! You can pick up “Glensheen’s Elf Book” for a just few dollars while you grab your tour tickets. The book contains a scavenger hunt for the little elves and other neat items in each room. There are 25 elves hidden around the mansion. I couldn’t even find them all myself, so make sure you bring the kiddos for another set of eyes!

#2 The Gift Shop

Your tour begins in the Carriage House, which is utilized as our gift shop. This is #2 of 5 things to know before your Glensheen Christmas experience. While you wait for your tour, you can browse the holiday decor, locally made items, and Glensheen merchandise to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. I recommend taking a look at the Glensheen pillow ornaments, they are the cutest! There is so much to see here, so I’ll let the photos do the talking.

#3 The 25 Christmas Trees

So now for the legendary Christmas decor in the mansion itself, which is #3. There are 25 trees illuminating the inside the mansion. Glensheen’s staff spends an entire week literally decking the halls for the holiday season. The decor in each and every room makes for a cozy environment, sure to make you feel at home.

#4 The Kitchen (and its yummy surprise)

Now for #4, and my particular favorite. We have cookies! Once you make your way to the mansion’s kitchen you will see a tray of cookies and a recipe to take home with you. This was Clara Congdon’s original holiday cookie recipe, and son-of-a-nutcracker they are wonderful. Make sure you snag a cookie, locally made by Johnson’s Bakery, before heading down to the basement for the rest of your tour. Don’t tell anyone, but I may have had 3…

#5 The Great Glensheen Outdoor Tacky Christmas Display

Finally, the new addition to Glensheen’s holiday experience: The Great Glensheen Outdoor Tacky Christmas display. The display is a family-friendly atmosphere, fun for people of all ages! After you exit the elegant mansion, you are free to roam the grounds and enjoy a brand new light display of the tackiest luminosities along the shores of Lake Superior. With extended tour hours throughout the season, a stroll through a unique light display is the perfect end to your date night with or without the family. I must warn you though, to keep your kiddos close, as you may come across a few sharks attacking Santa Claus or a wild unicorn amongst woodland creatures.

So to recap, I’ve highlighted 5 things for you to keep in mind when planning your Christmas tour this season. With all of the new things to see, the tour is perfect for even the seasoned Glensheen enthusiast. The mansion is particularly special this time of year, so come get cozy in this big ole mansion with us!

Tours hours are Sunday-Thursday 9AM-5AM, and Friday and Saturday 9AM-9AM. You can purchase tickets at glensheen.org.