Colonial Williamsburg Christmas: 14 Most Festive Things to Do

Crackling fireplaces, piping hot mugs of wassail, and garlands of popcorn and cranberries. There’s just something so enchanting about adopting 18th-century Christmas traditions. Celebrate the holidays in our country’s most historic area when you plan a Williamsburg Christmas.

Follow along to discover the best of Williamsburg VA at Christmas!

From dazzling Colonial Williamsburg Christmas decorations featuring pine cones and orange-topped wreaths to the glowing illumination of community tree lighting, the Colonial Capital is overflowing with Yuletide spirit.

Meet Father Christmas, sing along to acapella carols, or conquer your holiday shopping at Merchant Square.

Whether you want to welcome the merriest season with rides at Busch Gardens or wander through the American Revolution Museum, Williamsburg Virginia is Noel nirvana.

Williamsburg in December

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but that doesn’t mean the holiday season in Williamsburg VA is anything less than delightful! Pack those thermal layers, scarves, and mittens because you’ll want to bundle up.

You can expect average temperatures of around 40 degrees and a decent chance of snowfall. The best way to take the sting out of winter’s chill? Some serious savings! Bundle together the most festive Christmas attractions and accommodations when you book any of our Williamsburg Vacation Packages.

Williamsburg Christmas Events

Colonial Williamsburg Christmas

Wondering what highlights to expect from Colonial Williamsburg holidays this season? Consider this guide your official Colonial Williamsburg holiday planner. From dashing decorations to riveting firework displays, you’ll need more than 12 days to cover all the Yuletide glory of Christmas at Colonial Williamsburg.

Never miss out on a moment of Dickens or colonially accurate feasting when you pre-purchase your Colonial Williamsburg tickets. Tripster offers tickets for every type of traveler, from single-day passes to America’s Historic Triangle tickets, which include access to the American Revolution Museum and Jamestown Settlement.

Grand Illumination Williamsburg VA

For three Saturdays this December, train your eyes on the night sky. The annual Grand Illumination celebration is back with a bang. Prime your peepers for an electrifying display of pyrotechnics and gunfire. The Grand Illumination pays homage to the Colonial practice of commemorating major events with fireworks and fanfare.

In addition to the evening’s dramatic visual entertainment, visitors can enjoy musical performances on multiple stages, a Yule log celebration, a holiday procession, and more. Make a wish as you toss a sprig of holly into the bonfire or warm your hands around a cup of cider. Festivities will kick off on Friday night, so plan accordingly.

fireworks over colonial williamsburg during grand illumination
Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg / Facebook

A Charles Dickens Christmas

Soften up the most scrooge-like hearts when you attend this creative interpretation of the classic Dickens tale. A Charles Dickens Christmas combines the words you know and love with historically accurate carols. First, learn about popular holiday songs from the Victorian era as you follow along with the saga of Tiny Tim and the Cratchits.

Then, step back in time, and sing along to these cherished ditties accompanied by live instrumentals from the 19th century.

Ready to mix up your merriment? Step away from the mistletoe when you schedule in any of our other premier Williamsburg Things to Do.

Palace Christmas Ball

Don that petticoat, and perhaps even procure some breeches as you make arrangements for your most royal Christmas yet. Ring in the happiest season with the Royal Governor himself when you and your family attend the Palace Christmas Ball. A treat for the eyes and ears, guests of all ages will be in awe of the costumes and music ensemble.

Colonial attire is strongly encouraged, as well as brushing up on your waltzing footwork.

Man driving horse drawn carriage in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA in the snow
Photo Credit: Colonial Williamsburg / Facebook

Community Christmas Tree Lighting

Is there anything more heavenly than the aroma of a fresh Spruce tree? Revel in the beauty of thousands of twinkling lights on December. Gather round for the annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, co-sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg.

Enjoy a whole evening of holiday charm, including a special reading of The Night Before Christmas and visits from Mr. Claus. Raise your voice and join in singing classic carols, and discover the story behind Virginia’s first Christmas tree. Don’t forget to capture the towering glory of this 40 ft tree draped in over 7,500 lights with your camera.

Going all in on your colonial experience? Muster up even more love for muskets and tri-corner hats when you plan for seven consecutive days of American Revolutionary War history. America’s Historic Triangle Pass is the perfect primer for a winter getaway filled with battlefields, costumes, and carriage rides.

woman taking photo of christmas lights
Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights

Colonial Christmas Meals

Williamsburg Lodge Christmas Day Meal

Why spend Christmas Day toiling in the kitchen? Let the superior skilled chefs of Colonial Williamsburg whip you up a mouthwatering feast when you plan to commemorate the birth of Jesus with an array of culinary delicacies.

Opt for a brunch or lunch option and tuck into iconic favorites such as roasted turkey, artisanal cheeses, potatoes, and stuffing. Advanced reservations are required for the Williamsburg Lodge Christmas Day Meal, so please call 1 844 714 3205.

Williamsburg Inn Christmas Day

Wine pairings, seasonal cocktails, and a five-star worthy prix fixe menu come together to create the most elegant Christmas Day dining yet. Indulge your inner epicurean when you feast at the Williamsburg Inn on Christmas Day. This beloved Colonial Williamsburg event is helmed by Chef Travis Brust and features a four-course prix fixe menu. Not a fan of animal products? Don’t fret, as vegan options will be available.

exterior view of Kings Arm Tavern with sign on post in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
photo credit: Roy Kelley via Facebook

Grand Illumination Dinner King’s Arms Tavern

Compliment your evening of fireworks and musket fires with plenty of mutton and gravy when you dine at Kings Arms Tavern. Then, eat your fill of Christmas favorites as you sway along to the serene sounds of tavern music. Your dinner ticket includes your choice of starter, entree, and dessert.

Craving a side of deals to go with your dinner? Then, take advantage of our wide array of Williamsburg Deals!

Christmas Shops

Move over, Mr. Claus! Tackle everyone on your Christmas list when you explore both the 18th century shops in the historic area and the retail delights in Merchants Square. Discover amazing treasures that will speak to even your most hard-to-shop-for friends.

From handmade jewelry to home furnishings and bespoke Christmas wreaths, there’s something for everyone. Outfit your family with waistcoats and cloaks at Tarpley, Thompson & Company, or customize handmade furniture at Brick & Vine.

*For the complete list of all holiday Williamsburg events, find the official calendar here.

Beautiful woman shopping in the city with wrapped holiday and christmas giftsColonial Christmas Tour

Hear ye, hear ye! Hightail it to the Duke of Gloucester Street for a costumed colonial tour steeped in holiday tradition. Witness the ethereal glow of hundreds of candles as you are led via lantern through the cobblestone streets of Williamsburg on your Colonial Christmas Tour.

Glimpse the stately Capitol building, sparkling Christmas trees, and more. Your 1.5-hour walking tour is the ideal way to take in every last Williamsburg decoration. Dive into the history of this fascinating holiday as you uncover the Yuletide rituals of 18th-century colonists.

Your knowledgeable guide will spill the tea on the very first Christmas tree, Mason’s private holiday service, and what fruit was called the Anana. Families traveling with fido in tow can feel free to bring along the pooch, and every guest will receive a complimentary lighted candle just for attending.

Large house decorated with bright warm colored Christmas lights at night
photo credit: Juliana Malta via Unsplash

Williamsburg Christmas Market

Say Guten Tag to a very German Christmas, when you spend hours imbibing the sweet treats, libations, and the jolly atmosphere of a European-style Christmas market. On select days from November 25th through December 21st, avid shoppers can stroll through 32 chalets with over 60 local and national vendors in Williamsburg at Christmas.

The Williamsburg Christmas Market can be found on Court Street, behind the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Adults will relish catching up over gluhwein (warm spiced wine) and craft beers. While little ones can pose for Christmas card-worthy photos with Santa.

Bop along to live musical entertainment all weekend long, and don’t forget to stock up on tasty morsels from the Bake Shop and Culture Cafe and other nearby restaurants.

Williamsburg Christmas Parade

Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, and every last Elf can’t resist the Williamsburg Christmas Parade. Sweeter than a cup of eggnog, this endearing local tradition is returning once again on December. Hours of festive floats, riveting live performances, and even a visit from St. Nick make this a can’t-miss Colonial experience.

Cheer along to the drums and horns of local marching bands, and watch in awe as the many parade participants unleash their creativity utilizing this year’s theme: Merry & Bright. Paradegoers can get in on the fun, too, as they are encouraged to shine equally bright by donning light-up apparel and accessories.

Come early to stake out a spot, as last year’s parade garnered a crowd of over 15,000 spectators.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a moment of Colonial know-how? Check out our ultimate guide to Colonial Williamsburg and glean the top tips for this historic destination.

child whispering in santa's ear with christmas tree and lights in backgroundBusch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town

Rollercoasters and the best Williamsburg VA Christmas lights? Yes, please! Inject equal parts adrenaline and ambiance into your Yuletide vacation when you buy a one-way ticket to Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Feel like you’ve stepped into your favorite Lifetime Christmas movie when you commemorate the Happiest Season at Virginia’s most beloved adventure park.

Gaze in awe at over 10 million twinkling lights as you soak in stunning seasonal decorations, trimmed trees, and more. From November through 2024, guests can transport themselves to the North Pole as they enjoy Santa’s Fireside Feast, Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland, and furry visits to the Highland Stables.

Rejoice in one of the largest light displays in North America as you debate which coaster to tackle next. Fan favorite Pantheon promises quite the thrill with its breakneck speeds. However, those needing a more mellow session of merry should take in a star-studded Christmas show such as O’ Tannenbaum or Scrooge No More!

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

End your evening of reverie and reindeer with a North Pole Nightcap from Oktoberfest, or fuel up with ribs and smoked chicken at Trapper’s Smokehouse.

Looking to press pause on all the Noel-themed fun? Tackle Busch Gardens Gardens on your own terms when you purchase any of our general admission tickets.

close up of christmas trees and clock with wreaths in at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
photo credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg via Facebook

What makes the Christmas season so special? Is it a 40 ft Spruce tree shining brightly with light, or perhaps the alluring melodies of carolers crooning Silent Night? From mounds of presents to comfy chats on Santa’s lap, there is much to appreciate about this time of year.

Christmas in Williamsburg is a love letter to the America of yesteryear. Walking in the footsteps of our colonial ancestors, it is all too clear that the reason for the season is love.

Love shines through every Christmas family dinner, piled high with roast turkey and stuffing. Love abounds in Dickens-inspired musicals. And Love is in the eyes of children witnessing the wonder of the Grand Illumination.

Show your love with bespoke rocking chairs, historical tours, or by surprising your family with colonial costumes and palace ball tickets.

However you show your Christmas spirit, Williamsburg offers up a world of love.

What are your favorite Williamsburg Christmas events?

Did we miss any of the best Williamsburg festive events?
Tell us in the comments below!

Avatar photo

Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

Have something to add? Post it here:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you a Tripster?

Create an account to get access to exclusive pricing and rewards.