Holidays in Williamsburg, Virginia

There’s no better place to spend the holidays than the well-preserved colonial town of Williamsburg, Virginia. Located just 50 miles southeast of the state capital Richmond, it provides visitors a look at life in 18th century America and teaches them about the Founding Fathers as well as the histories surrounding pre-revolutionary events. Colonial Williamsburg is fascinating to visit any time of year but it particularly livens during the holiday season, displaying a number of well-crafted decorations that were common during the era. There are nighttime caroling, Christmas markets, and a handful of theatrical presentations that the whole family will enjoy. Here are a handful of reasons on why you should consider spending the holidays in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg

Christmas goes on for 12 days

Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg: Woodworker's Home
Woodworker’s Home

For many, Christmas celebrations end on December 26 but that’s just not the case in Colonial Williamsburg. In fact, the feasting commences on Christmas day and continues until the day of the Epiphany lasting a total of 12 days. The homes continue to display handcrafted wreaths made with fresh pine, flowers, and fruits while tours incorporate information regarding the traditions of the day. The nighttime performances like the Un-Civilized Christmas feature Christmas themes. Should you decide to spend your holidays in Williamsburg, make sure you consult the Colonial Williamsburg app or the daily calendar since hours of operations for each attraction vary on a day-to-day basis.

Authentic 18th Century America Christmas

Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg: Sampling of 18th Century Holiday Feast Offerings
Sampling of 18th Century Holiday Feast Offerings

The conservation group that runs Colonial Williamsburg takes pride in bringing to life the traditions and events that took place when the town served as the capital of the colony of Virginia. This includes demonstrations on how to make Christmas wreaths that are used to decorate the front door of homes, recipes and instructions on how to cook dishes popular during that time period, and lively performances that feature beloved songs and dances of the era. Tours of homes and of buildings within the historic city are also slightly modified to incorporate stories that occurred during the holiday season as well as traditions that were common during that era.

The Gift of Learning

Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg: Silversmith's Shop
Silversmith’s Shop

Spending the holidays in Colonial Williamsburg not only provides you and your family with a unique experience but it also teaches you a great deal of history about the United States. Visit the Governor’s Palace and learn about the prominent people like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson or tour the Peyton Randolph home, the largest private house and estate erected in the town at that time, and its family members who made large contributions to Virginia history as well as the American Revolution. Take a peek inside the quarters of a prominent silversmith and see how materials used around homes were created at the time and stop by a real-life 18th century plantation to learn about the farming methods of American ancestors.

Natural Beauty and Scenic Views

Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg: 18th Century Farm with Windmill
18th Century Farm with Windmill

The Colonial National Historic Parkway is a 23-mile scenic route that passes through Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg, three significant historical sites often referred to as Virginia’s Historic Triangle. The route contains acres of dense forests, miles of shoreline views from both the James and York Rivers, and distant sights of original settlements located in all three cities. There are plenty of scenic lookouts so you’re unlikely to miss a great view. As you drive your rental car or ride your bike through the parkway, keep in mind that you’ll likely see birds and animals in its natural habitat. For your safety and theirs, avoid approaching them, especially feeding them and keep in mind that in some areas, the residents of the forests surrounding you have the right of way when crossing the road.

Fun for Everyone in the Family

Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg: Ice Skating Rink at Merchant's Square
Ice Skating Rink at Merchant’s Square

Spending the holidays in Colonial Williamsburg doesn’t confine you to colonial traditions and experiences. Though the children will certainly enjoy trying on 18th century costumes and interactive tours featuring toys, musical instruments, and materials during the era, there are also other fun holiday activities and events suitable for everyone in the family. Kids and adults can put on their skates and glide their way around the ice skating rink located in the town’s Merchant Square. The square also features dozens of boutique shops and local eateries. Then there’s the Christmas Town spectacular in nearby Busch Gardens amusement park. Soak in everything you love about Christmas, from thousands of twinkling lights, bonfires, holiday feasts, and Christmas trees.

Start planning your holidays in Williamsburg now by visiting Colonial Williamsburg’s website or Visit Williamsburg, the official tourism page for the city. The latter in particular contains an extensive listing of affordable places to stay within and just outside the historic center as well as additional information about the region.

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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