A highly anticipated holiday event returns on December 2 and 3 as the historic Moffat Mansion will once again be filled with a festive spirit for the annual Covington Twp. Christmas Open House. Now in its eleventh year, the Christmas Open House will be held from noon until 4 p.m. that Saturday and Sunday at the Moffat Estate, at 20 Moffat Dr. (just off Rt. 435) in Covington Township. The Christmas Open House is brought free to the North Pocono community each year by the combined efforts of the Covington Twp. Board of Supervisors and the township’s Recreation Committee

The Open House is held annually inside the beautifully preserved former home of Robert Y. Moffat, Jr., who bequeathed the mansion and its grounds to the community in 2002. Through Moffat’s generosity and his desire to keep the land undeveloped, the township inherited the house and forty-two acres of land to be used in a way that would benefit the community.

Mr. Moffat’s former home now serves as the location of the township offices, with a pavilion, playground, and covered bridge added to the estate’s grounds to create recreation opportunities for township residents. The township supervisors also fulfill Mr. Moffat’s directive of enhancing life in the township each year by hosting the Christmas Open House and other events such as a fishing derby for children and an end-of-summer fun day.

As always, this year’s event will feature the time-honored traditions and activities that township residents have come to expect and enjoy. The Open House will kick off on both days with Santa’s arrival in a horse-drawn carriage. The carriage, pulled by a team of enormous draft horses, will be used to provide free rides to event attendees through a portion of the charming estate grounds (weather permitting).

Most of the Open House activities will take place inside the Moffat Mansion, which will be festooned with jolly holiday decorations. As guests enter through the main door, each will receive a ticket for the chance to win one of many door prizes in a drawing that will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Winners are not required to be present at the drawing.

Christmas is a holiday that delights youngsters, so the organizers of the Open House strive to provide the children of the community with an exciting and memorable experience. Children will have the opportunity to engage in a number of fun activities, including making a holiday craft with the help of volunteers, writing letters to Santa, and making pinecone bird feeders with local scout troops. After engaging in the offered holiday activities, folks are invited to visit the beautifully decorated dining room for light refreshments. Live musical entertainment will be provided during the event.

No holiday event would be complete without a visit from Santa, who will be on hand to receive letters the children have written and to pose for pictures. Each child who visits Santa will receive a gift bag and candy cane from Mrs. Claus. Pictures will be printed by Boy Scout volunteers, inserted into festive frames, and will be available to take home within minutes.

In addition to the township Christmas tree, the Red Hatters and the Cub Scouts will have decorated trees inside the mansion. Other Christmas trees decorated by local groups, businesses, and organizations will be displayed in the Hall of Trees located in the pavilion near the playground. All activities offered during the Open House are free, and ample parking is available on the estate grounds.