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Tourism Blog

Posted on: December 3, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Holiday Activities in James City County

James City County Holiday Events

Start new family traditions this year with one or more of multiple holiday events in James City County! Whether you are looking for where to take the kids to see Santa or looking for holiday music, there are various free and paid events in the County. We also have compiled a list of restaurants open on Christmas Eve.

Reoccurring Events

  • Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ is open on select days through Jan. 5, 2020. Experience the largest light display in North America with more than 10 million lights this year. The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park transforms into a magical place with festive food and drink, wonderful shows including ‘Twas that Night at the Royal Palace Theatre and Santa’s North Pole workshop.
  • Caroloke and Cocoa will be held on Dec. 6, 13 and 20 in New Town Williamsburg beginning at 5:30 p.m. each night in front of the fountain by the movie theater. Enjoy free cocoa with lots of toppings and sing a carol or two karaoke-style.
  • “Christmastide in Virginia” at Jamestown Settlement offers a glimpse of 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions through interpretive programs and demonstrations from Dec. 20-31. Enjoy festive fun with daily appearances at Jamestown Settlement by the Lord of Misrule and period musical entertainment at both museums. This event is included with museum admission. As a reminder, local residents receive complimentary admission.
  • Take the kids to visit SantaLand in New Town Williamsburg on Saturdays and Sundays throughout December from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. SantaLand is located on Main Street. There will be special activities each Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Special Activities

  • Enjoy the New Town Holiday Market on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. There will be baked goods for sale along with beautiful gifts by local artisans. The market will be located around the fountain area in front of the movie theater in New Town Williamsburg.
  • Sweethaven Lavender of Williamsburg will be hosting the Sweethaven Country Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Turn your Christmas shopping into a memory-making event when you join Sweethaven for a day of s'mores toasting, lavender cocoa tasting and square dancing! There will be deals on lavender products for gift giving. Cozy up in your flannel and boots and do-si-do your way into the holidays!  Snacks and shopping are throughout the day square dancing from 2-4. No square dancing experience is required; the caller is great at helping beginners catch on quickly. Bring your camera to capture the joy of the dance and snap some great shots for your Christmas cards. Come prepared for chilly weather. Admission is free, but tickets are required.
  • Run in the Christmas Town Dash 8K on Saturday, Dec. 8. This is the 10th year of this event. The event includes an 8K and a fun run.
  • Join in on Jamestown 4-H tradition of Flannels and S'mores on the River on Friday, Dec. 13 from 4:30-8 p.m. Add a food truck (Two Drummers Offbeat Eats), a holiday movie on two screens (inside and outside), some hot chocolate or cider, a campfire with s'mores and you have some family holiday magic! RSVP by calling 757-253-4931.
  • On Saturday, Dec. 14, enjoy Nature Ornaments and Crafts from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Freedom Park. The decorations made by children are often treasured for decades. Come make some memories with your children at Freedom Park and be sure to bring a wallet-sized photograph for one of the personalized ornaments to surprise family and friends! Drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and spend an hour or so, then head home with some new tree ornaments! All materials provided.
  • Join Santa Claus and support the York River State Park at Jingle Bark in the Park on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 1- 3 p.m. Walkers will receive a set of "jingle bells." Dogs will receive a special treat. Enter your pooch in the holiday hat/outfit contest. Coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies will be provided. Donations of pet food and supplies will be accepted. Parking is $4. Call 757-566-3036 for reservations.
  • Attend “At Christmas Be Mery,” a special evening event at Historic Jamestowne on Saturday, Dec. 14. This event will be offered at two times: 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sir George Yeardley, Virginia’s Governor in 1620, invites you to an early-Virginia Christmas celebration complete with a seasonal bonfire, caroling, and firing of the Christmas guns! This program will be held outside, rain or shine, so dress comfortably for the weather conditions. Join Historic Jamestowne for this special program offering insights into early-English Christmas traditions. After a brief introduction to what the Jamestown settlers expected during their Christmastide, the Captain of the Guard will escort the “new arrivals” along a cresset-lit path to the 1618 Church. Governor Yeardley will then offer a welcome before inviting everyone to sing carols. Afterwards herald in the season by a bonfire with remembrances of “Yule times” past and the firing of the Christmas guns!  Tickets, which are $20 each, are limited and must be bought in advance.
  • Take the kids to enjoy breakfast with Santa Cow at Chick-fil-A Monticello Marketplace on Monday, Dec. 23 from 9 a.m. until noon. Visit with Santa Cow, grab some hot cocoa  and write a letter to Santa!
  • On Monday, Dec. 23, Billsburg Brewery will be hosting ART Unplugged for a festive family paint night from 6-8:30 p.m. The painting is a Peanuts Christmas featuring Snoopy and Woodstock. Cocoa, cookies and one craft beer (for those 21+) are included. Tickets are $25 per person or discounts for multiple paintings are available. This event is family-friendly.

Live Music

  • Attend the Flute Frenzy Holiday Concert on Friday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. The program includes festive music by each Flute Frenzy group ranging from middle school to adult. The concert is free and open to the public. Dessert reception to follow.
  • Christmas with the Williamsburg Choral Guild on Saturday, Dec. 8 at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church is sold out.
  • The bold sounds of the Virginia Symphony Brass section will ring in the holidays with a blast during their Holiday Brass Concert! All are welcome on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Saint Bede Catholic Church. Experience the festive sounds of the season in a concert filled with wit, virtuosity, and the glorious music of the holidays – featuring the VSO brass and percussion sections. You'll enjoy music from a variety of styles during this all-new program that will make this concert one holiday delight you won't want to miss! Parking is limited, please consider carpooling. Ticket prices vary between $25-65 and can be purchased online.

Holiday Dining

There are numerous restaurants open on Christmas Eve:

Billsburg Brewery is open on Christmas Eve as is the Alewerks L.A.B. Taproom at the Williamsburg Premium Outlets and the Williamsburg Winery.

Other restaurants may be open. Please visit our dining guide for other restaurants in James City County.

Christmas Day
On Dec. 25, Café Provençal at the Williamsburg Winery will be open for Christmas dinner. Price of menu per person is $79 exclusive of taxes and gratuity. A wine pairing is available for $35 per person. Reservations require a credit card upon booking. For reservations, please visit Open Table or call 757-941-0317. Menu details can be viewed online.

  • First Course: Brie cheese galette or apple fennel soup or Big Island Aquaculture fried oysters
  • Main Course: Hereford Farms filet mignon or hazelnut crusted barramundi or Border Springs Farm lamb shank
  • Dessert: Dark chocolate crepe or fig pudding

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