Rural Missouri Magazine

Where Christmas past is present
Historic St. Charles

by Jim McCarty

Visit St. Charles in December and it’s obvious Missouri’s first capital takes the Christmas season seriously. The historic river city’s Christmas Traditions festivities return for the 22nd year.

Stroll down the cobblestone streets in the historic district and you are likely to smell roasting chestnuts and see living history characters like Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Little Match Girl and historic Santas from around the world.

St. Charles spares no expense to make your Christmas visit memorable. In October they hold tryouts for parts in their festivities and hire professional actors like the ones featured on our cover to play the parts. A dialect coach ensures they not only look the part but also sound authentic.

Only real decorations are allowed along Main Street, adding the sense of smell to the sites and sounds of the season. The Lewis & Clark Drum and Fife Corps joins carolers singing Christmas favorites. Dozens of craft stores can fill everyone’s wish lists.

On Dec. 7 the Las Posadas procession reenacts Mary and Joseph looking for shelter at the inn, followed by a throng of thousands holding candles. There is a Santa parade each weekend and plenty of opportunity for photos with Santa and his reindeer.

For more information call 1-800-366-2427 or log on to


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