Bring on the Magic of Christmas: Visiting the Glensheen Mansion


The feeling of Christmas and the holiday season is most definitely present at our house this year. Since Clara is now five years old, there are questions flying at me almost every day about Old Saint Nick or, you know, Santa Claus. Most recently I fielded a few questions bright and early Monday morning at 8am.

Bring on the Magic of Christmas: Visiting the Glensheen Mansion | Duluth Moms Blog
Photo curtesy of Glensheen Mansion

Santa Questions

“Does Santa have a phone number?” 

“Do we have Santa’s phone number?”

“Is Santa coming to our house?” 

Yes, the last one is probably a common one, but the first two had me smiling and digging deep to answer it correctly as to not spoil any of the magic of Santa. I tried to answer her questions about the phone number, with another question: “What do you think?” She said, “Well, of course Santa has a phone, everyone has a phone!” 

Luckily she then dropped the matter and confirmed that she still wanted to see Santa in person (instead of calling). This past weekend, she was a bit apprehensive about visiting him and said a letter would suffice this year. But now this morning, she confirmed that she wants to see Santa in person before Christmas.

Of course I’m not the only parent trying to figure out how to answer the simple and not-so-simple questions about Santa. But, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? Clara’s little mind is trying to figure out what makes this season so magical, like so many other small children. 

Christmas Events in Duluth

Part of the magic I think is experiencing places that celebrate the season, like Bentleyville and the Glensheen Mansion. So, this year, in addition to going to Bentleyville, I took Clara inside the Glensheen. 

During the Christmas season they have 25 Christmas trees decorated around the mansion with the family’s personal ornaments, as well as 25 hidden Santa elves to find as you walk through each room. You can even take a candlelight tour, lit only by the Christmas trees. (The candlelight tour seems to me like the perfect date night event!) 

Bring on the Magic of Christmas: Visiting the Glensheen Mansion | Duluth Moms Blog
Photo curtesy of Glensheen Mansion

The Christmas Tour 

To be frank, my first thought of bringing Clara to the mansion sounded like a nightmare. I was apprehensive to take my preschooler who loves to touch everything to a place that allows you to touch nothing

But in reality it went really well and was a lot of fun. As moms, like most of the time, we worry for no reason at all. The days leading up to the tour, we talked about using our “eyes only” and discussed the “game” of finding all the elves throughout the house. She loved the sound of a game.

Upon arriving at the mansion, there was a quick reminder from security to not touch anything and he pointed out which chairs we could sit on throughout the house (which was handy to know for Clara, as it was a lot of walking for her little legs). We then used our “eyes only” as discussed to look at Christmas trees, decor and find Santa’s elves hidden in each room. 

Glensheen Mansion Elf Book

There was even a helpful kid’s book that outlined how many elves to find in each room, one additional item to look for in each room, and some kid-friendly facts about that item. For example, in the library, you will search for one elf and then the family globe. The book says: 

The Congdons enjoyed seeing new places and traveling the world. The globe is in the library may have been how they planned and mapped their adventures.” 

In some rooms she found the elves right away and in others it was a challenge, like in the breakfast room! We then checked off each page and item as we toured the rooms. The kitchen even had some Christmas cookies for everyone to enjoy. Which of course, we indulged in! 

Bring on the Magic of Christmas: Visiting the Glensheen Mansion | Duluth Moms Blog

As we neared the end and checked off everything in the book, she was satisfied that she had looked at every nook and cranny she wanted to. I was overjoyed that she got to experience the Christmas magic inside the Glensheen Mansion. Perhaps next year, my husband can join us, and this too will become part of our Christmas traditions. 

** Please be sure to follow the Glensheen’s COVID policies while visiting the property