Christmas at the Eustis Estate

History inspires the holiday décor inside a Milton landmark

Photography courtesy of Historic New England, images by Olivia Gatti

Dried orange slices, paper chains and peacock feathers are just a few of the period-appropriate ornaments used to deck the halls at the historic Eustis Estate in Milton. Operated by Historic New England (HNE), the 1878 stone mansion is a showplace of late 19th-century architecture and design.

After being restored to its original spendor, the estate was opened to the public in 2017. Visitors are surrounded by decorative elements that embody the Aesthetic Movement, from elaborately carved woodwork depicting acorns, sunflowers and grapes to Spanish tiles adorned with ornate leaf patterns.

For the holiday season, the HNE team set out to adorn the estate’s grand halls with decorations inspired by naturalistic motifs and the distinctive floral and foliate patterns of the famed British textile designer William Morris, featured on curtains throughout the home.

William Morris patterns decorated a collection of presents beneath a tall Christmas tree adorned with handmade paper ornaments, golden ribbons, small bird figures and twinkling white lights (a modern-day addition).

Fresh evergreen swags, eye-catching poinsettias and live floral arrangements created by local garden clubs decorated many of the home’s rooms.

“We wanted the holiday decor to feel very natural,” says Eustis Estate’s site manager, Karla Rosenstein.

Now in its second holiday season, the estate is hosting a slew of community events to encourage South Shore residents to visit the landmark property. The month of December is particularly busy, with everything from Santa photo ops and craft activities to a holiday tea and a special culinary tour.

Peacock feathers, (faux) pomegranates and artichokes were arranged amid fresh greenery atop an ornate mantelpiece.

“Peacocks are emblematic of the Arts and Crafts style,” says Rosenstein, who notes that in addition to decorative feathers the estate has a full-sized stuffed peacock. “Patrick” the peacock’s vibrant blue and green plumage adds a beautiful pop of color against the rich wood tones in the home.

For a full list of upcoming
holiday events at the Eustis Estate, visit

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