By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Saturday's chilly temperatures were perfect for standing by a campfire and learning about life during Civil War times.
Hupp's Hill Civil War Park hosted a Civil War Christmas Saturday and Sunday.
Crafts, cookies and period-correct decorations awaited guests in the visitor's center, while reenactors gave living history demonstrations on the grounds outside.
Reenactors gathered around a couple of campfires by a few tents Saturday afternoon.
"Just meeting the visitors and explaining about what they did in winter camp as much as we can," Jock White, of the 33rd Virginia, explained.
Sharon Edmondson, who was with the 7th Louisiana, chopped carrots beside a cooking fire.
"I'm making beef stew, and I'm going to fry some pies here a little later on," the Toms Brook resident said.
Her husband, Rusty, and children, Michael Edmonson and Holly Larkowski, were with her.
"I've been [reenacting] since 1975," she said. "Holly's first event, she was a month old in 1980."
Women normally wouldn't be in the soldiers' camp, Edmondson said.
"We came to give them a holiday meal," she said. "This is 1864. We've gathered up what food we have left, anything that can make their Christmas a little easier."
That included coffee brewing on the fire and fresh pumpkin bread and banana bread.
Larkowski was helping her mother with the meal preparation. She said she enjoys the demonstrations.
"Just meeting all the people, being able to teach people, answer any questions and things they may have, clear up any confusion," Larkowski said.
The visitor's center looked and smelled festive. Staff gathered cedar, pine cones and holly growing in the park to make decorations, Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation executive assistant Wendy Leckron said.
"I went out and found sticks for the curtain rods and then we just took homespun and tore it and made the little curtains," she said.
Cinnamon and nutmeg were used to make the ornaments hanging on the windows.
"When the sun hits them, they smell," Leckron said. "We tried to keep it as period correct, or close to period correct as we could."
Girl Scouts strung popcorn for the Christmas tree, which also featured pine cones, and period pieces.
Children's crafts included making paper snowflakes and paper chains and pomanders out of oranges and cloves.