Winter in Williamsburg Offers Unlimited Holiday Fun


There’s no time like the present to gift yourself and your loved ones unforgettable experiences. Whether you’ve already planned to spend time in Williamsburg this winter – or just getting started thinking about your getaway – there are unlimited ways to spend the holidays in Williamsburg.

Let there be light

Yorktown festivities kick off with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 2. The eight-decade-old tradition starts when revelers gather at the Yorktown Victory Monument for a 6:30 p.m. musical performance from the Fifes and Drums of York Town. From there, the procession winds its way to Riverwalk Landing for the tree lighting ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Be sure to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, while you’re there.   

Float your boat

Everybody loves a parade, and Yorktown is no different. The 26th annual Lighted Boat Parade kicks off on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. with caroling and a beach bonfire. Keep your hands warm with complimentary cider or by clapping to a musical performance by the Fifes & Drums of York Town before boats make their way down the river at 7 p.m. with their lights aglow.

Shop talk

Why visit one big-box store when 100 artisans are selling their homemade crafts at the Christmas Market on Main Street? The weekend-long daytime event is on Dec. 3 and 4, bringing nautical paintings, handmade soaps, ornaments, and greenery to Yorktown’s most historic thoroughfare. The festival will kick off not with jingle bells, but with the town crier ringing in two days of fun on Saturday at 10 a.m. Strolling musical entertainment will round out visits with Santa Claus on Saturday. On Sunday, enjoy the frosty artistic magic of an ice carver outside of York Hall. 

Main Street will be aglow for its inaugural Enchanted Evening on Main Street nighttime market on Dec. 9, featuring twinkling lights, festive tunes, hot cider, and roasted chestnuts – and shopping aplenty, of course. 

Away in a manger

Reindeer sightings are uncertain, but there will be plenty of other animals to visit during Sweethaven Lavender Farm’s Country Christmas event on Dec. 2-3. The weekend includes hayrides and family photos, holiday music, and a petting zoo. And for your holiday shopping list? None other than lavender gifts, stocking stuffers, and fresh greenery and wreaths.

Kiss and tell

The Yorktown farmers market is fun year-round, but perhaps none is sweeter than Christmastime when it’s a one-stop shop for butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. The Dec. 10 Mistletoe Market is one to plan a weekend around, with goodies including pastries, cakes, bread, brownies, fudge, and cookies on resplendent display. Locally made jams, jellies, and honey are ideal for stocking stuffers, while fresh meats, candles, and soaps make great housewarming presents. Don’t miss the Riverwalk Landing Polar Express train ride or the Toyland Parade, where strollers, wagons, pets, and kids will form a festive march set to seasonal music. 


Santa Claus is coming to town

Meet Jolly Old St. Nick at Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™, which returns on most dates from Nov. 11-Jan. 8, 2023. The theme park will be transformed into a winter wonderland with more than 10 million twinkling lights — one of the largest light displays in North America — with extra spotlights this year in the form of three new seasonal shows. Whether it’s Sesame Street, Old World Christmas, Scrooge, or the Christmas Town Express holiday train ride, there are treats, shopping, and entertainment for all ages. 



Happy olden days

Fireworks aren’t just for Independence Day in Williamsburg—three Grand Illumination weekends, December 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18, will light up the night with pyrotechnics on those Saturdays at the Governor’s Palace and the Capitol building. Traditionally festivities include a Yule Log procession on Friday nights along Duke of Gloucester Street to kick off the weekend’s festivities. The cresset-lined streets come alive with cheer and music, performances, an appearance by Father Christmas, and special seasonal greenery adorning the historic area. 


Historical holiday happenings 

There’s a special holiday gift this year with regular admission to Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown: Christmas Tide. Held December 18-31, the festivities offer a glimpse of 17th and 18th-century holiday traditions with period musical entertainment at both sites. At Jamestown Settlement, performances are daily at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., and costumed interpreters will present the story of how English Christmas customs – including those that differed from America’s earliest settlers. 

At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, get a whiff of figgy pudding in the Revolution-era farm kitchen and learn about winter camp life in the Continental Army encampment – with the pop not of Christmas crackers, but of flintlock musket demonstrations throughout the day. Besides the open-hearth cooking of festive treats, period music will be served up at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.




The holidays in and of themselves are magical, but Brandon and Hannah Wagster of Wagsters Magic Theatre take it to another level for the holidays. The husband and wife duo will present their illusions and sleight of hand with a seasonal spin most days starting just after Thanksgiving and into the new year. 

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