- Since this is such a busy time, reservations for lodging and dining during the holiday season should be made as early as possible.
- Make reservations for special programs and tours. Be sure to take the Christmas Decorations Walking Tour and enjoy a musical program or evening play.
- See a Williamsburg Visitor’s Guide for more planning tips.
Grand IlluminationSunday, December 2, 2012. Williamsburg welcomes in the Christmas season with candles, fireworks and music during an unforgettable night of fireworks and entertainment. The celebration begins in the late afternoon with a variety of entertainment that starts at 4:45 p.m. on multiple outdoor stages throughout the Historic Area. The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums provide 18th-century music appropriate to the season. Other costumed performers present holiday entertainment found in Williamsburg two centuries ago. At 6:15 p.m., candles are lit in public buildings, shops and homes, and fireworks are launched at three Historic Area locations: the Governor’s Palace, Magazine and Capitol. After the fireworks, entertainment resumes on the outdoor stages and continues until 7:30 p.m. Following Grand Illumination, guests can enjoy illuminations of individual buildings within the Historic Area throughout December.
Christmas Decorations at Colonial WilliamsburgTraditional Christmas decorations include wreaths and swags, using pine, boxwood, Fraser fir, magnolia leaves, assorted fruits and berries, and dried flowers. Residents of nearly 85 homes in the 301-acre Historic Area join in the holiday spirit each year by displaying additional decorations. More than 1,200 electric candles in the windows of buildings throughout the Historic Area are lit at dusk each evening during the holiday season. “The Christmas Decorations Walking Tour” takes a look at their work throughout December.
See Photos of Christmas Decorations at Colonial Williamsburg
Holiday ProgramsColonial Williamsburg offers a wonderful selection of entertainment programs for the holiday season. Visitors of all ages will enjoy performances such as “A Capitol Evening,” (18th century dancing), “Christmastide at Home,” (a journey back through time to experience Williamsburg Christmases of the past or walking tours such as the “Annual Christmas Homes Tour” (a tour of five private homes in the Historic Area not usually open to the public). Note that these programs require tickets at an additional charge. Check the schedule for a full list of holiday programming.
Seasonal Programming for KidsStep back in time and discover what an 18th-century Christmas was like during “A Kid’s Holiday Weekend.” This special program for young guests and their families explores seasonal traditions of yesteryear at selected sites focusing on interpretations and activities for families.
Programs include: dressing up for the holidays; 18th-century music, dance, storytelling and a puppet show; celebrating several religious traditions; singing carols; preparing for life passages and children’s moral education; participating in food preparation; leisure activities such as Loo (a popular card game) and introduction to British holiday traditions.
Holiday Dining at Colonial WilliamsburgColonial Williamsburg operates four dining taverns in the Historic Area, each offering unique 18th century menus served in authentic colonial surroundings:
- Chowning's Tavern - casual dining, chicken, ribs, pulled pork
- Christiana Campbell's Tavern - premier Seafood
- Shields Tavern - 18th century coffeehouse with light fare
- King's Arms Tavern - fine dining, prime beef, pork, lamb
While visiting Williamsburg, check out the new Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. The amusement park is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, combining an immersive holiday experience with one-of-a-kind shopping and dining opportunities, all-new holiday shows and a spectacular light-dancing Christmas tree.