Aladdin the Christmas Camel and Feathered Friends

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I went to George Washington’s Mount Vernon yesterday and eventually I’ll get around to a post about the house and grounds.  But I’d like to spend this last evening of 2012 on Aladdin, the Christmas Camel.

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In December of 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to a man “who brot a Camel from Alexa. for a show.”  Washington was interested in animals of all types and apparently hired the camel as a treat for his Christmas guests.

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The Mount Vernon Ladies Association — they who now own and run George Washington’s 18th century estate — commemorates the event by bringing Aladdin the camel to stay at Mount Vernon each Christmas season.  The rest of the year, Aladdin resides on a farm in Berryville, Virginia.

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Having lived in Niger, on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, I know camels.  And all the ones I’ve known have been nasty, biting, spitting beasties.  Not Aladdin.  He’s got to be the sweetest camel in existance.  He nudged people for scratches.  He sucked on hands.  He licked ears.  He was an oversized golden retriever with hooves and a hump.

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Also on display for the season: Cobbler and Gobbler, the Thanksgiving turkeys who were pardoned by President Obama this year.  I don’t know which is which.  After the holidays, they’ll go to Mount Vernon’s private farm area, where they’ll join last year’s Thanksgiving turkeys, Liberty and Peace, in living out their lives stuffing-free.

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Mount Vernon celebrates the traditional twelve days of Christmas, so their holiday festivities go until Epiphany (January 6).

The History Tourist has been going since April and I’ve had an amazing time doing it.  So thank you for a terrific 2012.  Have a safe New Years Eve and I hope to see you back here next year!

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10 Responses to Aladdin the Christmas Camel and Feathered Friends

  1. I’ve enjoyed your posts – it’s nice to get to see so many places that I haven’t been able to visit yet. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

    • Thank you. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts as well. They make me promise myself that I’ll get to the Pacific Northwest someday, to see all those places. I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy (especially Martini!) 2013.

  2. OMG! I love camels (the ones I met were also mean, but I admire the pluck) and can’t wait to meet Aladdin! My weekend plans are now set.

  3. I thought he was stuffed! Didn’t realise he was real. He’s even smiling 🙂

  4. Zeke says:

    My wife and I chaperoned a field trip for our sons school to Mount Vernon probably about 5 or six years ago. I want to say that aladdin was the highlight of the trip for me. He is amazing in his gentle nature and love of the attention that all bring to him. Aladdin alone is worth the trip to Mount Vernon. I was so happy to read your post, as I wasn’t sure Aladdin was still spending his Christmases at Mount Vernon. I hope Aladdin has many more joyous Christmases ahead of him.

    Zeke

    • I completely agree — Aladdin is the highlight of the holiday season at Mt. Vernon! I haven’t made it there to see him yet this year, but I will before the year is out. Glad that you had the same, terrific experience with him. Thanks for commenting.

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