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Christmas in August: Winchester Holiday Tickets

If you're less into frights than fa-la-las, the San Jose landmark has you covered.

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    Winchester Mystery House
    If you're less into frights than fa-la-las, the San Jose landmark has you covered. Trees and lights will fill the San Jose landmark over several December-special nights.

    WHEN AUGUST ARRIVES... things start to shift, just a bit, from summer to autumn. It happens in the way the sunlight glimmers a bit more softly in the early morning and it happens when school supplies pop up on store shelves. Candy corns and costumes will soon replace the pencils and erasers, possibly even before Labor Day Weekend arrives. Many bemoan the fact that the holidays, which now include Halloween, arrive on the early side, at least in terms of merchandise, and there is a point to that: Every season should have its chance to breathe. But there's something to be said for looking ahead to when tickets to a holiday-related event go on sale, as tickets for once-a-year happenings have a rather remarkable way of going, going, going way ahead of time, in the tickets department. And while many a Halloweenie is looking to the Winchester Mystery House for those October nighttime flashlight tours, it is worth a merry mention that the tenth month of the year isn't the landmark's only time to shine. It also throws a yuletide run of evenings, complete with Christmas trees decorated to the starry hilt and music that befits the occasion. It may not surprise you that, in August, tickets are available for the December doings, which spin into the San Jose mansion, "Nutcracker"-style, on...

    FRIDAY, DEC. 11: Sarah Winchester's rambling house will open for "special holiday evening tours" as well as a look back at the storied life of the mansion's mistress. Over 100,000 twinkling lights shall be strung about, which lend quite the different mood from shadowy, spooky October. And will old-style garland gaily garland-up various spots, such as the ornate fireplaces and bannisters? Oh yes, there shall be garlands. If Halloween isn't your bag, and you're keen to see a less eerie side of what's often called one of California's most haunted abodes, make some room in the days leading up to Dec. 25 (and a few days past it, too).

    BEYOND OCT. 31: If you only ever do Halloween at the Winchester Mystery House, the holiday events could offer you a different, less-gasp-y glimpse into a mansion that's often associated with October. Yes, the Winchester grandly stands, and shimmers, in December, too.