An annual event celebrates the holiday season of years gone by with children's activities at the Lanier Mansion this weekend.

The fifth "Spirit of Christmas Past" takes place Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. with a visit from a Victorian Santa, holiday stories by Bob Hartsaw, a craft for children and light refreshments, Lanier Mansion Site Manager Gerry Reilly said.

A local storyteller, Hartsaw has participated in other Lanier Mansion events and has been active in local theater productions.

"He really makes stories come alive for the children," Reilly said in a release.

Children will create a "Christmas cracker" as a craft during the event. "Christmas crackers" are brightly wrapped tubes that hold small gifts that tumble out once the package is pulled opened. Children will be able to open the gift themselves on Christmas Day or give the gift as a holiday present. The gifts date back to the 1840s, but are still popular in England during the holidays.

The Lanier Mansion will be decorated for Christmas in the style of 1850, which was the last Christmas J.F.D. Lanier celebrated in the home before his move to New York City. While a few of the holiday traditions remain the same as current-day holiday events, some holiday decor and traditions had not become commonplace. Christmas trees, store-bought gifts and caroling were just beginning to become popular traditions in the 1850s, and many people did not decorate for the holidays because of ancient pagan practices associated with holiday decorations, a release said.

Besides a Christmas tree, the only other decorations throughout the Lanier Mansion are evergreen boughs placed around portraits, mirrors and on the fireplace mantles.

Admission to the "Spirit of Christmas Past" event is $3 per child. One adult is admitted free to the event with the purchase of a child's ticket. Guests are encouraged to visit the Lanier Mansion between 2 and 3:30 p.m. to participate in activities.