Holidays in the Historic Triangle

Combine the past with the present for a truly magical season

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There is some debate over how the first Christmas tree was introduced to the United States. One of the contenders for that honor, however, belongs to German immigrant Charles Minnegerode, who accepted a position as a professor at the College of William and Mary in 1842, teaching Latin and Greek. As a way of becoming engaged in societal functions, Minnegerode introduced the longstanding German tradition of decorating an evergreen tree for the holidays at the home of law professor St. George Tucker.

It’s only fitting that the birthplace of the nation also be the original site of a ritual of fun, entertainment and merriment—a tradition that continues today in Colonial Williamsburg and the surrounding Historic Triangle of Virginia.

But you don’t have to celebrate Christmas to be a part of the fun. Bring the family or out-of-town guests to engage in some of the many activities that go on between the beginning of November and the new year. Meet your friends for a festive beverage and soak up the atmosphere. Or just take advantage of the many shopping venues to get any holiday (or personal) shopping done.

Here are a few events and venues to help you plan your itinerary.


Ongoing Events

Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town

Open select days and hours from Nov. 21–Dec. 31

Celebrate the spirit of the season at Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town™. Christmas Town brings holiday traditions to life with heartwarming shows, delicious holiday dining and festive shopping opportunities. Experience Christmas traditions from around the world and keep warm with a mug of Busch Gardens’ signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate.


A Colonial Christmas Jamestown Settlement Yorktown Victory Center CoVaA Colonial Christmas at Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center

Dec. 1–Jan. 5, 2015

A Colonial Christmas recalls 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions through special interpretive and musical entertainment of the period. A combination ticket is available so you can enjoy all of the events at both venues. Private tours are also available.


Special Events

Yorktown Holiday Open House Weekend

Nov. 8–9. Hours of operating vary by business.

Special events, festive decorations, special sales, discounts, door prizes, strolling entertainment and much more await you as you start or finish your holiday shopping.


Thanksgiving at Colonial Williamsburg

Nov. 27

The holidays begin with the most American of meals—Thanksgiving. Enjoy a three-course meal in a historic tavern with traditional 18th-century trimmings, or bring the entire family together for elegant contemporary cuisine in one of our hotels. Celebrate this special meal together and leave the stresses of cooking and cleaning to us.


Yorktown Celebrates Christmas

Dec. 5–13

An annual event that includes Christmas tree lighting, market on Main Street, lighted boat parade, cookies/breakfast with Santa, Yorktown Market Days and Toyland Parade.


Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting CoVa EventsYorktown Christmas Tree Lighting

Dec. 5, 7:30–8:30 p.m.

A tradition that began in 1945 continues with the Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting. Evening highlights include a 7 p.m. performance by The Fifes and Drums of York Town at the Victory Monument, festive music at Riverwalk Landing, the procession of lights through the historic village and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.


Williamsburg Choral Guild—Carols and Holiday Songs

Dec. 6, 1–3 p.m.

Sing carols and holiday songs with members of the Williamsburg Choral Guild, accompanied by a brass quartet, under the direction of Artistic Director/Conductor, Jay BeVille.


Grand Illumination

Dec. 7

In the 18th century, a special occasion was celebrated with fireworks, bonfires and the lighting of candles in the windows or cupolas of public buildings and private homes. Today, this tradition lives on with live musical performances throughout the day and a dazzling display of fireworks from three different locations in Historic Williamsburg.


Christmas at The Café Provencal

Dec. 25, seatings at 1:30 and 2 p.m.

Enjoy a four-course dinner for $100, inclusive or tax and gratuity. Add $25 for a special wine pairing. Menu coming soon. Reservations required.


Colonial Williamsburg’s Pint & Pairings

Dec. 27, 2–4 p.m.

Celebrate the traditional flavors of the holiday season with Beer Barons, Anthony Frank and Ken Clasen. Discover some tasteful pairings of exceptional beers from Virginia’s breweries with products from local farmers and artisan food crafters.

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