Prescott House Celebrates BIG in December

The William Hickling Prescott House at 55 Beacon St.  celebrates the Christmas season BIG this year. 

Let’s start with Dec. 12 – National Poinsettia Day. Prescott, who is known for his histories of Mexico and other South American countries, including the award-winning Conquest of Mexico, is actually the man who named the poinsettia for his friend Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, who also founded the Smithsonian.  Being an amateur botanist, Poinsett became fascinated by the bright red flower and transported some of them back to his hothouses in South Carolina. He began to send them to friends, one of whom was William Prescott, who was a horticulturist, as well as an historian. 

Poinsett asked Prescott to give the plant an easier name for admirers to relate to other than Euphoria pulcherrima, «meaning very beautiful.” Since Prescott had just finished his novel about Mexico, in which he detailed Poinsett’s discovery of the plant, he named the plant Poinsettia in honor of the Ambassador. 

Also, on Christmas Day will be the release of  “Little Women,” a film directed by Greta Gerwig, with a superstar cast including, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet and Meryl Streep. Prescott House is featured in many interior scenes, as well as its close neighbor, the Gibson House.  What a tremendously proud day of celebration it was for the National Society of the Colonial Dames – MA as they are thrilled to be one of the locations of this major motion picture presented by Sony.

One of the NSCDA missions is historic preservation, so having its 55 Beacon St. property appreciated by professionals who specialize in identifying aesthetically pleasing period-locations is truly heartwarming, as is the story of  “Little Women” itself.   

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the NSCDA MA owning, operating and preserving the Prescott House. To celebrate, this joyous season, the house will be decorated in a Christmas Mexican theme in honor of its namesake. 

Don’t miss this unique opportunity on Dec. 20 from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. to mingle and/or enjoy a special off-season, docent-led tour of the venerable Beacon Hill townhouse.  As you are waltzed through the house as Christmas carols are played on the rare original square piano, enjoy nibbles and cheer with your neighbors.  Don’t forget to peak through the bow-front windows at the beautifully lit Boston Common. After seeing Christmas past, step back onto the cobblestone sidewalk of Christmas present and enjoy any of the many festive offerings nearby.  Admission is $12, and tickets are available through Eventbrite at

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