Posted by: Nancy
December 8, 2013
Tempe has a number of famous holiday events. The Tempe Fantasy of Lights and Boat Parade, the Tempe Festival of the Arts, the annual Mill Avenue New Year’s Eve Block Party are known far and wide and attended by thousands of visitors every year. However, there’s another really fun and interesting tradition that might not be as well-know, but has been a part of Tempe’s holiday celebrations for many years. I’m talking about the Danish Christmas tours at Tempe’s historical Petersen House.
Each year the Petersen House highlights different Scandinavian holiday customs. This year, the home will be filled with traditions surrounding the nisse, the magical creatures from Scandinavian lore associated with Christmas. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland share many ancient beliefs and stories about these gnome-like creatures, particularly during the holidays.
Nisse are believed to take care of the home, property and farm. (I would be happy to have a nice house cleaning nisse to keep the old condo in order, especially during the holidays.) If the resident family does not treat them well, they become mischievous. The nisse are also believed to travel from house to house giving gifts to children. In the mid-19th century, they became Santa’s assistants. European and American customs of Santa and his elves are derived from the nisse.
The Petersen House was built in 1892 by Niels Petersen, a Danish immigrant who came to Tempe in 1871. It is the oldest Queen Anne style brick residence in the Salt River Valley. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places and has received the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation.
The Petersen House is open to the public only during the holidays. Don’t miss this unique Tempe holiday tradition and take advantage of this once- a-year opportunity to visit this Tempe historic landmark. Tour hours are 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturdays, December 7, December 14 and December 21 and from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays, December 8, December 15 and December 22. For more information contact 480 350-5100.
The holidays are in full swing in Tempe with holiday celebrations, music, theatre, comedy, art exhibitions and more. Check out this list and view a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information.
- December 9-31: Las Noches de las Luminarias, Desert Botanical Garden
- December 10: Open Jam, Rula Bula Irish Pub
- December 10: Michael Powers Group with Steve Douglas and Greg Delfiner, Mad Hatter Brew Pub
- December 10: Mushroomhead, Marquee Theatre
- December 10: Performance with a View: Tetra String Quartet, Tempe Center for the Arts
- December 11: Kevin Nealon Fundraiser, Tempe Improv
- December 11: Canyon Concert: R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and Will Clipman, Changing Hands Bookstore
- December 12: Danielle Bradbery Live in Concert, Tempe Marketplace District Stage
- December 12-14: Steve Rannazzisi, Tempe Improv
- December 12-15, 18-20: Copperstar Repertory Company: Plaid Tidings – Forever Plaid’s Special Holiday Edition, Tempe Center for the Arts
- December 13: Finally Friday: Justin Olson, Tempe Center for the Arts
- December 13: Trivium & Devil Driver, Marquee Theatre
- December 13: Sea Merchants; December 14: Snake Burner, Rula Bula Irish Pub
- December 13:The Persuaders; December 14: West Hills Brothers, Tempe Marketplace District Stage
- December 13: Grady Soiné; December 14: León Santiago, Tempe Marketplace Barnes & Noble Fountain
- December 13-22: Stray Cat Theatre Presents All New People by Zach Braff, Tempe Performing Art Center
- December 14: Tempe Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade, Tempe Town Lake
- December 14: Uvon Brooks Trio, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
- December 14-22: Childsplay Presents The Velveteen Rabbit, Tempe Center for the Arts
- December 14-22: Peterson House Danish Christmas Tours, Peterson House
- December 15: Maria Bamford, Tempe Improv