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Enjoy the holidays from around the world at General Crook House Museum

Enjoy the holidays from around the world at General Crook House Museum

Holiday traditions have changed with the pandemic but some have stood the test of time. Buzz60’s Keri Lumm shares the results of a new study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Little Potato Company.

Step inside the front door of the General Crook House Museum and begin a holiday walk around the world.

There are straw ornaments from Norway, large stars from the Phillippines and an Italian Christmas witch. A stuffed tiger represents the Chinese New Year.

Every nook and cranny of the historic home is decorated — beautiful red umbrellas even fill an upstairs bathtub.


Red umbrellas fill a bath tub on the second floor.

“From the Globe to our Home” showcases holiday traditions from around the world. It’s beautiful, fun and unifying, Executive Director Kathy Aultz said.

“One visitor told me, ‘You can feel the spirit of the community in the room.’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do,’” Aultz said.


Irish children give 'Santy' a Guinness and a mince pie instead of milk and cookies.

The holiday idea was born from the current exhibition on display in the lower level, “Rooted in Diversity: Douglas County’s Ethnic Heritage.” Immigrants have been settling here since 1854. A list of arrivals from 2010 to 2019 includes more than 30 countries — from 4,406 from India to eight from Denmark.

“People are coming from all over the world,” Aultz said.

The museum asked those groups if they would like to showcase how they celebrate the holidays and 20 ethnic cultures responded. Groups ranged from family units to large ones such as the German American Society.


A tree decorated with American flags sits on the front porch of the General Crook House Museum.

Some filled a room in the three-story home and others a corner. The main hallway on the first level is dedicated to popular celebrations in the U.S. Czech, Polish and Lithuanian trees sit in the parlor.

“Ireland chose to do a Victorian Irish Christmas,” Aultz said. “It’s very subdued, with natural holly and berries, crocheted ornaments and pine cones. The Italian one has a witch, the Befana.

The Christmas tree is decorated in the colors of the flag, with strings of pasta. There are recipe books for cannoli.”


A Venetian nativity scene.

It’s been interesting to see how different and yet how similar the holiday traditions are from each country, whether Islam, Hindu or Christian, Aultz said.

The Poles made simple straw ornaments that are similar to ones you’d find on a tree from Mexico or Norway, she said.

“We had an open house for the people who decorated,” Aultz said. “It was really fun to see how excited everyone was to learn about the other cultures.”


A Scandinavian dowel tree.

To add to the experience, each area includes information about the holiday shown. A QR code gives visitors access to recipes from that country.

The holiday decor will remain through Jan. 14. Several activities are planned. On Sunday, a Polish choir will perform at 2 p.m. A list of other activities is available at

“It’s just been really fun listening to all the different accents in the house,” Aultz said.

Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Living

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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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