5 Virginia Holiday Traditions

Quite possibly the longest-awaited holiday each year, Christmas brings about many extravagant events which many people find essential to their annual holiday experience, including in Virginia. To make sure the season doesn’t pass you by, consider checking out these holiday events, all within a two-hour drive from Fluvanna.

  1. Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Christmas Town

Perhaps the most popular of Virginia’s Christmas destinations is Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s famous Christmas Town. The park is adorned by eight million Christmas lights, the largest display in North America. Offering festive foods and drinks, holiday shopping, heart-warming shows, and a wider assortment of thrill rides including Tempesto and Verbolten, there is something for everyone. Take a sip of their signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate while enjoying their multiple entertainment options, including holiday musicals. Christmas Town starts Friday, Nov. 25, and will be open on select days through Monday, Jan. 2. Single-day tickets bought at the park cost $38, but if you purchase tickets online in advance for a particular date, you can get tickets for as little as $16.  Additional information can be found here. 

  1. Richmond’s Gardenfest of Lights

Another popular attraction includes the “Dominion Gardenfest of Lights Living Color.” Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond features more than half a million lights and botanical decorations. As you follow each winding path you will find trains, holiday activities, and firepits with s’mores and hot chocolate available for purchase. Taking place from Nov. 25-Jan. 9, there are many options to come enjoy the display. Tickets cost $13 per person, and more information can be found here

  1. Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination

Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination takes place on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 5:00-7:30pm. Experience this annual event featuring musical performances and fireworks displays from three different locations. According to https://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/holidays/, the event celebrates the fact that “In the 18th century, illuminations, which included the firing of guns and lighting of fireworks, were held to celebrate major events, such as great military victories, the anniversary of the reigning sovereign’s birth, or the arrival of a new colonial governor.” Enjoy a meal at one of the taverns, a Christmas decorations walking tour, holiday auctions, or enjoy their Ice Pavilion.

  1. Monticello Holiday Evening Tours

Throughout the month of December, visitors get to journey through “Monticello After Dark,” where the home of Thomas Jefferson is historically decorated and illuminated for the holiday season. The hour-long visit begins at “The Shop” where groups meet their tour guide for seasonal refreshments and a journey through public and private rooms, including the iconic Dome Room, as well as live musical performances in the Parlor.

This experience offers an intimate look at how all the residents of Monticello mountaintop celebrated the holidays. Tours take place from Dec. 9-10, 16-25, and 26-30 with groups leaving at 5:15pm, 5:30pm, 5:45pm, and 6:00pm. Tickets for all ages cost $55. Additional information can be found here

5. Christmas on the Historic Downtown Mall

On Friday, Dec. 2, Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall will experience its 18th annual illumination extravaganza of the community’s holiday tree. There will be live music and performances, a visit from Santa, and a showing of the movie Elf. With free entry open to all ages, this Grand Illumination is one you won’t want to miss.

Also taking place on the Downtown Mall the next day is the annual Holiday Heritage Parade featuring marching bands, floats, and more. This takes place on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10:00. Additional information can be found here