Nina Nightingale's Charm School: DIY Holiday Parol - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Nina Nightingale's Charm School: DIY Holiday Parol

1 hour
$15 per device
See Dates
$15 per device
$15 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

Nina Nightingale's Charm School is in session.

From silhouette portraits and hair reliquaries to postage stamp flirtation and suffragette tea parties, join curiosity artist and host Nina Nightingale in exploring history's most fascinating disciplines and their hidden origins! During each hour-long virtual live show, Nina will guide you through the basics of a specific craft, tell you about its often surprising importance in the cultural landscape, and take any questions that might come up along the way. Part Home Ec, part AP History, Nina Nightingale’s Charm School won't teach you how to be more genteel, but you’ll learn why crafting was never that polite anyway.

Now a ubiquitous holiday decoration in the Philippines, the parol —a star-shaped lantern often crafted from bamboo and tissue paper— was created in 1908 by Francisco Estanislao, an artisan from the province of Pampanga. Part of Philippine Christmas tradition is the Panunulúyan pageant, a procession re-enacting Joseph and Mary seeking lodging that leads up to midnight mass. Everyone in the procession carries these paper lanterns and afterwards, hangs them outside and in windows as decoration. Most houses, churches, and public walkways can be seen illuminated with parol, a symbol of Christmas cheer, the star of Bethlehem, and hope, even during the darkest nights. For this season finale of Charm School, we’ll dive deeper into the story of the parol and other holiday traditions then make our very own parol to celebrate!

Class Supplies, if you wish to work along:

25 straws (plastic that’s been recycled,washed & dried or paper) or bamboo sticks

Tissue paper, wrapping paper, or newspaper

Glue gun

Glue stick


String, ribbon, or yarn


Glitter, sequins, or other decorative elements

Crafting wire or an old wire hanger


LED battery-operated Christmas lights


Where We’ll Be


About Your Host
Nina Nightingale
Nina Nightingale

Hello! My name is Nina Nightingale and I am a professional fine artist practicing the very rare art of SILHOUETTE PORTRAITURE, in which I cut your likeness from paper with no writing instruments—simply freehand drawing with scissors. This art of "shadow cutting" was popular before photography was made affordable. Silhouette portraiture is one part history and one part how-does-she-do-it?

What Else You Should Know

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This Online Experience will be recorded. A temporary link to the recording will be provided in a follow-up email to all ticket holders within 72 hours after the event. Access to this recording will be available for seven days.

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