PLAINFIELD, NJ — Over 50 guests, including families and volunteers, gathered around the Christmas tree on the second floor of the Drake House Museum for the 23rd Annual Tree Lighting ceremony. Friday's event was organized by the Historical Society of Plainfield, and began with attendees singing popular Christmas carols, accompanied by Vicky Griswold on piano.

A flip of the switch, and the Christmas tree was lit up and Santa arrived. Each child was allowed to select a gift from the wide selection under the tree and to sit for a picture with Santa.  Adults were not left out of the fun, as two lucky guests won gingerbread house kits. Refreshments were enjoyed by all.

The evening also featured a solid wood antique dollhouse on display, which was lovingly restored by Carla Phoenix, a trustee of the Drake House and a North Plainfield resident.  Phoenix immediately got to work on the dollhouse back in October as the tree lighting ceremony was not far off. She described the many hours it took to clean and restore all aspects of the house, both the interior and exterior, and mentioned that it was “a labor of love” as she had always wanted a dollhouse as a child.

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With fresh coats of paint, and a new copper roof that Phoenix cleaned with tomato sauce, the delicate pieces of original miniature wooden furniture were polished; accessories, such as a signed framed needlepoint picture and tiny books, were placed in each room. Phoenix even washed the crochet bedspreads to restore them to the original cream color. The wallpaper in some rooms have faded with time, while in other rooms, traces of the colonial Williamsburg wallpaper design can still be seen. In keeping with the season, tiny handmade Christmas decorations and LED lighting were added to the decor.

“I hope people enjoy coming and seeing it,” Phoenix added.

The Drake House Museum is located at 602 West Front St., and is typically open on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m.  For more information call 908-755-5831 or visit the website at

The Historical Society of Plainfield welcomes any monetary donations.  Make checks or money orders payable to “Historical Society of Plainfield." is Plainfield's free online daily newspaper for Plainfield, NJ news. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook, Twitter @PlainfieldTAP, and on Instagram @tapintoplainfield for all of your Plainfield local news.

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