December 13, 2023

Christmas in the Adobes: Coming Together to Celebrate the Holidays in Monterey

Since 1983, the Monterey State Historic Park Association and California State Parks has hosted a unique holiday event called Christmas in the Adobes, a two-night gathering that continues to bring visitors far and wide to experience holiday magic in this California coastal city.

View of two of the windows dressed for the holidays as part of Christmas in the Adobes.

Decorations at Cooper Molera Adobe as part of Christmas in the Adobes in Monterey, California. These are the windows in the dining room.

On December 8-9, 2023, National Trust Historic Sites staff headed down to Monterey to support our area partners who are the backbone for Christmas in the Adobes. This event serves as a fundraiser for Monterey State Historic Park’s educational history programs for elementary students. Staff from California State Parks and Monterey State Historic Park Association decorated and prepped the house, and were onsite to staff the event, along with volunteer docents and musicians from the Monterey Youth Orchestra.

With candle-lit luminaries lining the path to each building, visitors come together to experience live music and the stories of Monterey’s historic buildings throughout this festive event. In 2023, Cooper Molera Adobe saw 1,834 visitors. We know that not everyone can experience this event in person and so we thought we would bring it to you.

The orchestra playing in Cooper Molera during Christmas in the Adobes.

View of the Monterey Youth Orchestra at Cooper Molera Adobe.

As Sara Gray, museum curator with California State Parks said, “Since 1983, Christmas in the Adobes has represented the start of many family’s holiday traditions. By opening approximately 21 of Monterey’s most significant historical properties for this two-night event, Monterey is able to bring together our community through a combined love and appreciation for history.”

A selfie of National Trust Staff at Cooper Molera Adobe for Christmas in the Adobes 2023.

National Trust Staff at Cooper Molera Adobe in preparation for Christmas in the Adobes.

Luminaries line the walk way in front of Cooper Molera Adobe.

A look at the luminaries along the fence at Cooper Molera Adobe.

One of the featured adobes is the National Trust Historic Site Cooper Molera Adobe, a historic site dating from 1827 that is in Monterey’s Old Town Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. Visitors to the site learn about some of the prominent families who built Monterey—from when it was the capital of Mexican Alta California through the development of the State of California. Today, Cooper Molera Adobe is not only a historic site, but also a coffee shop, restaurant, and event space developed as part of a shared use model which brings new uses (both for-profit and nonprofit) to the site.

National Trust staff sitting next to one of the volunteers at Christmas in the Adobes.

National Trust staff and Volunteers talk in the Skylight room at Cooper Molera Adobe.

A woman in traditional period dress standing next to a colorful Angel as part of Christmas in the Adobes in Monterey, California

Volunteer Ruth Alota posing with an original Monterey Christmas angel inside the museum

For Omar Eaton-Martinez the senior vice president of historic sites at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “It was important to the National Trust to show our support of this longstanding community event that also welcomed visitors from outside of the region. Spending time with our Cooper Molera family helps inform how we continue to strengthen our partnerships, broaden our impact, and increase our capacity to tell the full American story."

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While her day job is the associate director of content at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Priya spends other waking moments musing, writing, and learning about how the public engages and embraces history.

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