10 Popular Ways to Celebrate Christmas In Williamsburg VA

Step back in time when you head south from DC to Williamsburg, Virginia this holiday season. Christmas in Williamsburg, VA means the best Christmas lights, a photos with Santa, Busch Gardens Christmas Town, and more sights and sounds of the holiday season.

Let’s celebrate the holidays together, with traditions old and new, as you start planning your Williamsburg vacation for November and December.

Christmas in Williamsburg VA
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Christmas Celebration at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

  • Address: 1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23185
  • Dates: Mid-November through first weekend in January (select dates), 10am-3pm or 5pm-10pm
  • Cost: Free with a reservation for annual pass holders/ Tickets – $39.99 (reservation required)
  • Website

Celebrate the Christmas season throughout the European villages at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Enjoy the carolers as they sing your favorite holiday songs while you stroll through the festively lit park.

Christmas in Williamsburg VA
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The Busch Gardens Christmas Celebration runs on select dates from Thanksgiving through the first weekend in January, featuring village entertainment, fifteen coasters and rides, a Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt, festive holiday shopping, sweet culinary offerings and meeting Santa in his Workshop. 

Check the website for more upcoming events and Williamsburg Christmas packages.

Christmas in Williamsburg VA
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The Lighting of the Cressets

  • Address: Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185
  • Dates: mid- December through Christmas Eve, 6pm-9pm
  • Website

Join in this 18th-century holiday tradition of Lighting the Cressets in Colonial Williamsburg. There will be musicians strolling about for your entertainment as you stroll the grounds and see these huge metal cups (or baskets), mounted to a pole to light your way.

Williamsburg VA Christmas
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Colonial Williamsburg Christmas

  • Address: Williamsburg, VA
  • Dates: December
  • Website

At the Colonial Williamsburg Christmas, guests will enjoy special holiday events throughout December include caroling at the Courthouse, walking tours highlighting colonial Christmas decorations and the galleries of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Make sue you visit Father Christmas before you head to the ice skating rink at the Liberty Ice Pavilion.

Williamsburg VA Christmas
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Families will love the community Christmas Tree lighting with a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” in mid-December, which is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Experience the Lighting of the Cressets on historic Duke of Gloucester Street from mid-December through Christmas Eve.

Savoring the holiday feasts and Christmas meals put a unique spin on the holidays, especially for students starting to dive into American history.

There are plenty of opportunities to shop for unique colonial gifts such as wreaths, centerpieces and more. 

Williamsburg VA Christmas
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Grand Illumination

  • Address: Colonial Williamsburg, 310 S England St., Williamsburg, VA 23185
  • Dates: First Sunday in Dember
  • Website

Schedule your trip to Colonial Williamsburg to witness the Grand Illumination, one of the most highly anticipated Christmas events in Williamsburg, VA. It takes place the first weekend of December every year, and is something you, your friends and family won’t want to miss.

Williamsburg VA Christmas
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The history of “Illuminations” dates back to the 18th century, when the firing of guns and fireworks celebrated a major event in the region, like the birthday of the king, military victory or a new governor’s arrival.

Musical performances from multiple stages throughout the Historic Area begin at 5:15 pm and fireworks displays can be viewed from three locations—the Palace, Magazine and Capitol—at 7 p.m.

Christmas in Williamsburg VA
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Yorktown Christmas

  • Address: Yorktown, Virginia 23690
  • Dates: First weekend in December
  • Website

Pop over to Yorktown, VA for even more Christmas magic. The Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting, a community tradition started in 1945 taking place on the first Friday in December.

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It kicks off the Christmas Market on Main Street that takes place the first weekend in December. This annual holiday market features 60 vendors, holiday music, The Fifes and Drums of Yorktown, festive food and drink, and of course, a glimpse of Santa as he rides by on York County’s first fire truck.

Christmas in Yorktown VA
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On the first Sunday in December, you can sit down for Cookies with Santa at the Gallery at York Hall. History lovers can learn about ancient Norse influences on modern Christmas culture at the Viking Yuletide Celebration at the Watermen’s Museum.

Christmas in Williamsburg VA
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Shop for holiday gifts while enjoying chowders, soups, baked goods and other treats at the Mistletoe Market at Riverwalk Landing, Second Saturday in December, also featuring a live ice carving demonstration and a Toyland Parade.

Christmas in Yorktown VA
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Christmas at the Jamestown Settlement

  • Address: 2110 Jamestown Road. Williamsburg, VA 23185
  • Dates: Weekend before Christmas through Christmas Eve
  • Website

The weekend before Christmas through Christmas Eve you can experience Christmastide in Virginia at the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Learn about how early settlers in the 17th- and 18th-century spent their Christmas, what holiday traditions they celebrated and have carried through to today.

Special interpretive programs and musical entertainment of the period happen throughout the event for all to enjoy.

At Jamestown Settlement, you can compare the English Christmas customs of the period with how Christmas was celebrated during the tough early years in the Jamestown colony. It sure wasn’t filled with ballgowns and high tea.

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Christmas events

  • Address: 200 Water St, Yorktown, VA 23690
  • Dates: Weekend before Christmas through Christmas Eve
  • Website

At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, you will learn about the Christmas traditions and winter life at military encampments during the American Revolution. You can also catch a glimpse of the holiday preparations on a Revolution-era farm.

Williamsburg VA Christmas
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Where to find Santa in Williamsburg, VA

It’s hard NOT to find Santa in Williamsburg, VA. Meet with the big guy in red at Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Yankee Candle Village, the Gallery at York Hall, Yorktown, the Mariners Museum, and more. 

Christmas in Williamsburg VA
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Christmas shops in Williamsburg

No one puts Christmas in a corner when you are in Williamsburg, VA. There are three jam-packed Christmas shops in the destination for ornament and decoration lovers.

The Christmas Shop in the middle of Merchants Square, specializing in collectibles and unique ornaments.

The Christmas Mouse, whose flagship store is located in Williamsburg and brimming with thousands of ornaments and decorations.

Yankee Candle Village, with more than 45,000 square feet packed with more than 40,000 ornaments, candles, music, entertainment, food, Santa and more. 

Williamsburg VA Christmas
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Colonial Williamsburg Hotel Christmas Packages

Check out Colonial Williamsburg Resorts Holiday Getaway Packages, valid for stays Thanksgiving through New Years.

Williamsburg VA Planning Guide

Best Williamsburg VA Hotels

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Our Favorite Williamsburg VA Airbnb

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