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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home for the Holidays at the Sam Rayburn House Museum

by Anne Carlson, staff member at Sam Rayburn House Museum

The Sam Rayburn House Museum held its annual Holiday Open House on December 10 and December 12. The theme for this year’s open house was “A 1950s Cold War Christmas.” This event showcased holiday d├ęcor appropriate for the Rayburn’s home during the 1950s and featured Christmas music and radio programs of that period. Themed tours focused on Cold War events such as communism, McCarthyism, and the space race. Other 1950s related topics included the Korean War, Civil Rights, and the popularity of radio and television.

Visitors toured the home and were invited to enjoy refreshments also based on the 1950s theme. Foods invented during the decade were featured such as Ruffles potato chips and peanut M&Ms. Popular dishes of the decade, such as ham salad spread, cheese spread, “wedgies” (slices of bologna layered with cream cheese, horseradish and chives) and dried beef rolls were also served to visitors. Sam Rayburn’s favorite dessert, coconut cake, was served during the event.

The house decorations included a Christmas tree in 1950s trim, evergreen, mistletoe and holly garlands along with candles and poinsettias. These were typical decorating styles utilized by the Rayburn family during the holidays. Holiday scents of pine, pumpkin pie and sugar cookies wafted through the home while radios played Christmas music and radios programs, such as I Was a Communist for the FBI, Father Knows Best, and The Jack Benny Program.

There is truly no place like home for the holidays, especially one that has seen so many joyful holiday seasons. Happy holidays from everyone at the Sam Rayburn House Museum.

**The Sam Rayburn House Museum is located at 890 W. State Hwy. 56, two miles west of Bonham on highway 56 in the Texas Lakes Trail Region.

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