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Holiday Planner

With one-of-a-kind holiday programs, festive decorations, world-class dining experiences and more, the holiday season is not to be missed at Colonial Williamsburg. Below you’ll find a complete list of our holiday programs and a printer-friendly schedule to help plan your Christmastide trip to the 18th-century. We’ll keep the cressets lit!

Click the images below to learn more about our holiday events. Call 1-844-434-3243 to make your reservations!

Download Printable Holiday Planner

Grand Illumination

December 5, 12 & 19, 2020|Free reservations are sold out for all dates |Grand Illumination will look and feel a little different this year, but our mission remains the same – to bring the Williamsburg community together to celebrate the holiday season. Limited space is available, so make your reservations today.

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PROGRAMS

A Christmas Night at the Art Museums

Friday, Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11 & 18; Tuesday Dec. 22 & 29 at 7:00 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 8:20 p.m, 8:40 p.m. & 9:00 p.m.|Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg|NEW! Celebrate beloved traditions, stories, and music of the Christmas season during an intimate guided walking tour through the galleries of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

A New Kind of Christmas

Wednesday Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 at 2:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|NEW! Join Roger, and enslaved man from the Randolph property, on his journey through loss, laughter, and reflection in search of the meaning of this season.

Caroling at the Courthouse

Sunday Dec. 20; Thursday Dec. 24 at 6:00 p.m. |Courthouse| Join in the holiday spirit at the Courthouse to sing songs of the season.

Christmas and the Constitution

Monday Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21 & 28 at 2:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|Join Alexander Hamilton and James Madison in the throes of writing the Federalist Papers to support the Constitution over a hectic holiday season, as they balance public and personal duty.

Christmas Decorations Walking Tour

Wednesday Dec. 2, 9, 16 & 23; Thursday Dec. 24; Friday Dec. 11 & 18; (Friday Dec. 25 at 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.) Saturday Dec. 5, 12, 19 & 26; Sunday Dec. 6; Monday Dec. 7, 14 & 21at 10:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.|Geddy Yard|Enjoy a one-hour walking tour for a closer look at the Colonial Williamsburg decorations and a discussion of holiday traditions, past and present.

Decorating the Private Homes

Wednesday Dec. 9 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|Join us for our 28th annual fun-filled celebration of the decorating efforts of the employees who live in Colonial Williamsburg's restored private residences.

Decorated Wreath Sales

Saturday Dec. 5, 12 & 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Thursday Dec. 17 from Noon to 4:00 p.m.|Palace Green South End|Guests can purchase a beautifully decorated wreath in the Colonial Williamsburg style. Fresh greenery and popular dried materials will also be available.

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Dressing for Christmastide with Mrs. Rind

Saturday Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, 19, 26 & Jan. 2 at 2:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|NEW! Follow Clementina Rind, a businesswoman, government official, and mother, through her day to see what she wears and the reasons why she does.

Firing of the Christmas Guns

Thursday Dec. 24 at 5:00 p.m.|Market Square|During the 18th century, guns were customarily fired in salute to the Christmas season and as an expression of joy and celebration. Join us on Duke of Gloucester street for a re-creation of this event.

Holiday Decoration Workshop

Tuesday Dec. 8; Thursday Dec. 10 at 3:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.|Offsite| Learn tips for making Christmas decorations from the Colonial Williamsburg landscape design team. In this rare opportunity, participants will learn how to create a beautiful arrangement in a mug with a colonial flare. These small centerpieces make a big impact for the holidays in your home or as a hostess gift.

Light in the Darkness

Friday Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11, 18, 25 & Jan. 1 at 2:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! Join Gowan Pamphlet and George Washington as they discuss the impact the season has on them and their communities, both enslaved and free.

Lighting of the Cressets

Thursday Dec. 17 through Thursday, Dec. 24 at 6:00 p.m.|Duke of Gloucester Street| NEW! Join us on the historic Duke of Gloucester Street for our newest holiday tradition. The Lighting of the Cressets brings our 18th-century city to life at night with strolling musicians and tidings of good cheer.

Midwinter Stories

Sunday Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20 & 27; Monday Nov. 30, Dec 7, 14, 21 & 28; Tuesday Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 at 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.|Play House Stage| Stories are the life’s blood and collective memory of a society. Among many Native communities in the Eastern Woodlands, storytelling takes place in the fall and winter, when domestic activities move indoors. Come hear stories and traditions from Native Nations such as the Lakota, Cherokee, Shawnee, and Pamunkey.

Mini Illuminations

Friday Dec. 18; Saturday Dec. 19; Monday Dec. 21; Tuesday Dec. 22; Wednesday Dec. 23 at 5:30 p.m.|Throughout the Historic Area| Join Colonial Williamsburg for narrated illuminations with muskets, and cressets.

Remembering Christmas: Enslaved and Free

Wednesday Dec. 2, 16, 23 & 30 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| The holidays have a way of bringing back memories of past holiday seasons. Listen in as a free black woman reflects and compares her years as an enslaved and freed woman during the Christmastide. Discover how the Christmastide provided hope during her time as an enslaved woman and explore how the season changed for her after she was set free.

Same Space, Different Place

Sunday Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20, 27 & Jan. 3 at 2:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|NEW! Meet Rachel Whitaker, a recently widowed tavern owner and her enslaved servant, Milly, to discover how the Christmastide season is different for these two mothers.

Stories of the Past, People of the Present

Thursday Nov. 26; Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 at 2:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|NEW! Celebrate American Indian culture through traditional stories and discuss with American Indian interpreters about what it’s like to tell the histories of their communities.

Talk of the Town: Christmastide

Daily, Friday Nov. 27 through Saturday, Jan. 2 at 10:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m. (Friday, Dec. 25 at 2:00 p.m. only) |Lumber House Ticket Office| Walk through town with a resident of 18th century Williamsburg as they share reflections on the holiday season.

The Art-Full Tree

Daily, Monday Nov. 30 through Thursday Dec. 24 and Saturday Dec. 26 through Thursday Dec. 31 at 12:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.|Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg| On a guided holiday tour explore the galleries, gaze at the Art Museums's huge decorated tree, and create your own art-inspired ornament to take home.

The Night Before Christmas

Thursday Dec. 24 at 10:00 a.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Experience the unique spirt of Christmas as people from the past read the classic Christmas story and bring the events to life.

Who Will Bring My Presents?

Sunday Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20 & 27 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Meet Grandfather Frost who delivers gifts in Russia, La Befana from Italy, and our own Santa Claus. Hear stories from their countries during this show for the entire family.

Wreath Decorating Workshop

Tuesday Dec. 1; Wednesday Dec. 2 at 3:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.|Offsite| Take home your own Williamsburg style wreath that you decorate yourself after learning the tricks of the trade from the landscape design team that decorates the Historic Area.

MUSIC & DANCE

A Fiddle for Your Pocket

Tuesday Dec. 1 & 8 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Join fiddler John Turner for a musical exploration of pochettes, 18th-century portable pocket violins, featuring popular period holiday tunes.

A Scottish Harvest Celebration

Friday Nov. 27 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! Explore the highlands of Scotland with Master Scottish Fiddler, David Gardner, during this musical journey celebrating Lammas—a harvest festival and the first reaping of the corn.

A Season Full of Holidays

Thursday Dec. 3 & 31 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Timothy Seaman and Thomas Abernethy celebrate the many holidays from Thanksgiving to Epiphany with delightful and moving musical selections on hammered dulcimers, psalteries, Celtic harp and more.

A Soldier's Song for Christmas

Monday Dec. 7 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! Join Kelly Kennedy and John Turner as they blend words from soldiers far from home during the holidays, with music of the period.

Christmas Ceilidh

Saturdays Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, 19 & 26 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! David Gardner, Gabe Stone, and Dacotah Hartman present a holiday performance with Scottish dancing, fiddles, bagpipes, and more! Fun for the whole family.

Christmas Classics: Readings, Poetry and Music

Monday Dec. 21 & 28 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|NEW! John Turner and Kelly Kennedy bring to life excerpts from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and other holiday classics, paired with music from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Coffee Cantata

Friday Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11, 18 & Jan. 1 at 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.|Play House Stage|NEW! Mrs. Charlton’s daughter Lizzy is wildly in love…with coffee! Join us for this comedic ballad opera, based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Coffee Cantata from the 1730s.

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Fiddling Away the Holidays

Tuesday Dec. 15, 22 & 29 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Master fiddler John Turner returns for this Colonial Williamsburg Christmas tradition of reveling in the lighter side of the holiday season.

Harp and Dulcimer Yuletide Joy

Thursday Dec. 10 & 17 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! Join Ann Robinson and Timothy Seaman as they journey through seasonal favorites, distinctive new compositions, and rare melodic gems old and new on hammered and mountain dulcimers, lyre, and more.

Music for a Back Porch Virginia Holiday

Friday Dec. 11 & 18; Saturday Jan. 2 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| In old Virginia, families and friends gathered just to talk, sing, dance, and have a good time. Join musical historians Carson Hudson and Arden Clark for an old-time holiday get-together.

Music for St. Andrew's Day

Monday Nov. 30 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium|NEW! Celebrate Scotland's patron saint with John Turner and Kelly Kennedy. Join them for songs, stories, and tradtions for what has become a month-long celebration.

My Heart is in the Highlands

Friday Jan. 1 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! Enjoy poetry and the music associated with Robert Burns as Master Scottish Fiddler David Gardner takes you on a musical journey through the hills of Scotland.

Outside the Box: 150 Years of Cigar Box Instruments and Music

Thursday Nov. 26 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Homemade instruments have been played in America since the earliest days of our country. But it was the lowly wooden cigar box that became part of a folk music tradition, beginning before the Civil War, continuing through the Depression, and having a revival today. Join musical historian Carson Hudson as he explains and performs "cigar box music"!

Perambulations of a Rat

Friday Dec. 25 at 2:30 p.m.; Saturday Dec. 26 & Jan. 2; Wednesday Dec. 30 & Thursday Dec. 31at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.|Play House Stage|NEW! The magic and music of Fishmastide continues as we follow Pandora Chowning and Wimberly Crumb on their return to Williamsburg. Celebrate the season with the Jug Broke Theatre Company.

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Profound Joy

Thursday Dec. 24 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Timothy Seaman celebrates the wonder of winter, Christmas and Hanukkah on extended-range hammered dulcimer, with songs full of joy, hope and peace.

Super Happy Fishmastide

Thursday Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 10, 17 & 24; Saturday Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 & 19; Wednesday Dec. 2, 9, 16 & 23 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.; Friday Dec. 25 at 11:30 a.m.|Play House Stage| Come celebrate Fishmastide with the Jug Broke Theatre Company, as the performers sing songs of the magical beast who was said to save good souls lost at sea and return them home to their families in Virginia on Christmas Day.

The Land We Left Behind

Monday Dec. 14 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! Join Kelly Kennedy as she shares stories of those that left their homeland for America and their Christmas traditions from around the world. Enjoy these remembrances of Christmas’s in the Old World through poetry, readings, story, and music.

The Old Dominion and Caledonia

Friday Dec. 4 at 5:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| NEW! Travel back to the 18th century with Master Fiddler David Gardner as he uncovers the Scottish influences in the popular music of Virginia from Colonial times to the present day.

Winter in the Valley

Tuesday Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 at 2:00 p.m.|Hennage Auditorium| Join the Waterman family for delightful Christmas songs and family stories from the 18th century as we welcome you into our music-making home during our favorite season!

DINING

Williamsburg Lodge Thanksgiving Day Feast

Thursday Nov. 26 at 11:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.|Williamsburg Lodge| Gather your family for Thanksgiving family-style at the Williamsburg Lodge. Reservations required.

Williamsburg Inn Thanksgiving Day Meal

Thursday Nov. 26 at 11:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m.|Williamsburg Inn| Celebrate this special day at the Williamsburg Inn Regency Room. Reservations required.

Chowning's Grand Illumination Holiday Feast

Saturday Dec. 5, 12 & 19 at 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. |Chowning's| Come enjoy Chownings' Holiday Feast in the Garden of Chowning's Tavern. Families will be seated at their own picnic tables with social distancing to others. Prepaid tickets and reservations required.

Taste Studio Annual Pie Sale

Monday Nov. 23 through Wednesday, Nov. 25; Monday, Dec. 21 through Thursday, Dec. 24, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.|Taste Studio| Come to the annual pie sale and choose from our famous pies like pumpkin, apple-cranberry, pecan and rum cream.

Williamsburg Inn Christmas Day Meal

Friday Dec. 25 at 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.|Williamsburg Inn| Enjoy a festive Christmas Day at the Williamsburg Inn’s Regency Room. Reservations required.

Williamsburg Inn Holiday Tea

Thursday Dec. 3, 10, 17 & 24; Fridays Dec. 4, 11 & 18; Saturdays Dec. 5, 12, 19 & 26 at 2:00 p.m.|Williamsburg Inn| Celebrate the season with a festive holiday tea in the elegance of the Williamsburg Inn. Sample the Inn's special holiday blend and enjoy cookies and pastries. Reservations required.

Williamsburg Lodge Christmas Day Meal

Friday Dec. 25 at 11:00 a.m & 2:00 p.m.|Williamsburg Lodge| Gather the family to enjoy a sumptuous family-style Christmas day meal at the Williamsburg Lodge. Reservations required.

Williamsburg Inn New Year's Eve Dinner

Thursday Dec. 31 at 3:00 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7:00 p.m. & 7:15 p.m..|Williamsburg Inn| Come enjoy the perfect 4-course meal with wine pairings at the iconic Williamsburg Inn for New Year's Eve. Reservations required.

Download Printable Holiday Planner

Plan Your Visit

A SEASON THAT WARMS THE HEART

Holidays at CW