Best Things to Do in Williamsburg Virginia in December 2023

williamsburg in december

Looking for the Best Things to Do in Williamsburg in December?

The fall and winter are really wonderful in Williamsburg Virginia and during the month of December there are many fun things to do in Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg is decorated for the holidays, the outdoor ice rink in Colonial Williamsburg is open daily with hot cocoa and treats just to the side of the rink. Over at Busch Gardens one of its most popular events is happening…Christmas Town. The park glows with holiday lights, Santa is ready to great the children and get their wish list and rides will thrill your family. Yorktown has themed Mistletoe Market, a Toyland Parade, tree lighting, an amazing lighted boat parade and Santa! These are just a few of the events. They are roughly in order by date. Make sure to check our daily calendar so you don’t miss any others! Have fun and enjoy this special time with your family! (events below are listed by date, daily events are peppered throughout)


Community Christmas Tree Lighting in Colonial Williamsburg – Free & Open to the Public

November 30, 2023
5 PM – 5:30 PM at the steps of the Colonial Courthouse 102 W Duke of Gloucester St, Williamsburg

The festivity begins in front of the Courthouse steps with a special reading of The Night Before Christmas. Hear the story of the first Christmas tree in Virginia. Sing classic Christmas carols. Delight in the joys of childhood as Father Christmas helps illuminate the live, 40-foot spruce with over 7,500 twinkling lights on Market Square. The annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Colonial Williamsburg, co-sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg.   Free and open to the public.  Additional details

Christmas Tree Lighting – Victory Monument & Yorktown Waterfront

Friday, December 1
Monument Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.
Tree Lighting at 7:30 p.m.

The holiday fun kicks off with Yorktown’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. This community tradition goes all the way back to 1945. That’s the year that Reverend Claud G. Barkley, Pastor of Yorktown Baptist Church, and staff from the County Clerk’s office, decorated a cedar tree that stood at the corner of Main and Ballard Streets. The York County Historical Committee works hard to keep this ritual going! The tree that is used today is a 20-foot artificial commercial “Giant Everest Fir” tree placed down in Riverwalk Landing. Everyone is invited to gather at the Yorktown Victory Monument by 6:30 p.m. for live music including a performance by the Fifes and Drums of York Town. From there, the procession will make its way from the Victory Monument to Riverwalk Landing, where the tree lighting ceremony will begin. Make sure you stay for a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, eager to hear all those wish lists!  Additional details

Williamsburg Christmas Market – Downtown Williamsburg adjacent Bicentennial Park

November 30-December 3, December 7-10, 14 -17, and 21-23

Williamsburg Christmas Market, a European-Style Christmas Market will have 40 chalets. This year marks the third year for the Christmas Market and it is a delightful addition to your Holiday calendar. Take in live holiday entertainment, trackless train ride, warm gluhwein, craft beer, delicious market food, fire pits, Santa and more. The market runs for 4 weekends and we bet if you go once you will be back again before the season is over! Additional details


Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg for 2023

Fireworks – Saturdays December 2, 9, 16 at 7 PM
Festivities – December 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16 from 5 pm – 7 pm
Lighting of the Cressets & Holiday Procession  Fridays December 1, 8, 15 from 6-7:30 p.m. 
Live Theater, Father Christmas – Saturdays December 3, 10, 17, 2022 at 5 pm – 7 pm
Special Programing at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg Hennage Auditorium

The festivities begin each Friday night, with the Lighting of the Cressets, 18th century entertainments on Duke of Gloucester Street and a Celebration of the Yule Log, a holiday procession beginning at the Capitol and ending at the Magazine where guests will have an opportunity to make a wish and toss a sprig of greenery into the bonfire. On Saturdays, musical performances from multiple stages throughout the Historic Area: the Lighting of the Cressets, Goodwin & The Ghost: A Williamsburg Christmas Tale—storytelling on Palace Green, a special appearance by Father Christmas, and breathtaking fireworks displays from the Capitol and the Palace. That is right each night and will feature two locations for fireworks, one at the Governor’s Palace and one at the Capitol. You are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets – even a cooler. Seating is open to all with no premium seating area on Palace Green. Just come and grab your favorite spot. Best place to view the fireworks? For the Palace fireworks, anywhere on Palace Green is perfect. For the Capitol show, the best viewing area is on Duke of Gloucester St. east of Botetourt St. Learn More

Christmas Market on Main in Yorktown

Saturday, December 2 | 10 a.m. to 5 p. m.
Sunday, December 3 | 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Historic Main Street

Whether you’re searching for a holiday gift for family, friends, or as a treat to yourself—you’re sure to find it at the Christmas Market on Main Street! This is one of the most anticipated Yorktown events every holiday season, and it’s been extended to two days. Close to 100 vendors line the street this weekend selling everything from nautical paintings to handmade soaps to Christmas ornaments and wreaths! The Town Crier will ring in the market at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a performance from the Fifes and Drums of York Town to officially open the market. Then, Santa Claus himself will greet families. Expect strolling musical entertainment throughout the day to add to the festive atmosphere, and an ice carver set up in front of York Hall on Sunday. It simply doesn’t get more “Christmas” than this! Learn More


Annual Lighted Boat Parade & Beach Bonfire in Yorktown

Saturday, December 2, 2023
Pre-parade festivities begin at 6 p.m. boats parade starts at 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.

If you’re ready to get into the holiday spirit, you’ll want to put this one on your calendar! Head to the Yorktown Waterfront from 6 to 8 p.m. for the 27th Annual Lighted Boat Parade. Pre-parade festivities start at 6 p.m. and include caroling around illuminated braziers, a musical performance by the Fifes & Drums of York Town, and complimentary hot cider.

The boats will finish out the evening, as they make their way down the river in a dazzling show of lights that starts at 7 p.m. This annual event has been a community tradition for more than two decades, and brings neighbors together to celebrate the season. Learn more


A Celebration of the Yule Log select Friday evenings in December at Colonial Williamsburg!

Fridays, December 1, 8, 15, 2023 – Open to the Public non ticketed event

Follow the Yule log, hauled by wagon, from the Capitol circle to Market Square, accompanied by music, festivity, and the community of 18th-century and present-day Williamsburg. Make a wish and toss a sprig of greenery into the bonfire. This is a free public event. You can also take in an evening program like Cry Witch, Revolutionary Points of View or Haunted Williamsburg while you are down there. Learn more

Colonial Williamsburg Wreath Sale

Nov 30 & Dec 1-3 and Dec 7 – 10
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Fridays & Saturdays)
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Thursdays & Sundays)

Don’t miss your chance to buy a Williamsburg-style wreath or centerpiece made by the same designers that create the decorations that adorn Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area during the holiday season. Fresh greenery, dried materials, and floral supplies will also be available. These decorations will only be sold the first weekend in December at the Christmas Market on Court Street, behind the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. .  More information

Cookies with Santa

Cookies with Santa at York Hall (FREE event)

Sunday, December 3 | 1 to 4 p.m.
 Location: Gallery at York Hall – Main Street

The Gallery at York Hall is excited to host Cookies with Santa. It’s free for families. Bring your phones or cameras, wish lists to share with Santa! Don’t forget to stop inside the Gallery on your way out to pick up unique Christmas presents handcrafted by local artists. The Gallery is filled with local one-of-a-kind art pieces from hundreds of local artists, in all types of mediums. more info


Christmastide Music at the Courthouse in Colonial Williamsburg

December 1, 8 & 15, 22, 2023
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. or 9 – 10 p.m.

Try something fun and different this Holiday Season! Join musicians Brian Forsman & Bill Weldon for the best dance tunes and songs of Christmastide. Sing along to the carols that celebrated the season and lifted the spirits of our ancestors in holidays past! This is an event for all ages and is held at the Courthouse. The Courthouse is located on Duke of Gloucester between Palace Green St and N. Queen St. across from the Magazine. You do not need an admission ticket to Colonial Williamsburg but you need an admission ticket to just this event. Book today as there are only 4 nights as of now that are available. For tickets and more information visit here.


Free Photos with Santa – New Town

Saturdays & Sundays, Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 & 
Friday & Saturday, Dec. 22-23 

Times: 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Santa’s Workshop at 4915 Courthouse Street, located to the right of the movie theater

Head down to New Town to get some holiday shopping and while you are there bring the kids to get (FREE) photos with Santa happening each weekend leading up to Christmas! This is an opportunity for you to snap some photos of your children with Santa! Tag @NewTownWilliamsburg on Facebook & @NewTownWMBG on Instagram with #HolidaysHappenHere. More Info

Artful Winter Evenings

Fridays – November 30, December 7, 14, 21 & 28 from 5:30 – 8 p.m.

Celebrate the holidays in this magical after-hours event at the Art Museums. Take a guided tour through the galleries to discover Christmas trees themed to the artwork around them, attend a holiday performance in the Hennage Auditorium (separate ticket required), enjoy warm winter treats and crafts, and experience the wonder of the Art Museums at night. Don’t miss the centerpiece of the Museums — our 16-foot Folk Art Christmas tree decorated with over 2,000 hand-crafted ornaments. More info

Artful Winter Evening Concerts at 7:00 p.m. (Separate Ticket Required)
November 30 – The William & Mary Accidentals
December 7 –  Holiday Handbell Concert
December 14 – The Williamsburg Symphony
December 21 – The Magic of Christmas
December 28 – The Gonzales Sisters


Ford’s Colony Model Train Show

Saturday, December 2, 2023 from 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 3, 2023 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: James City County Library

The Ford’s Colony Model Railroad Club returns with their elaborate operating layouts and trains in all sizes. Marvel at the detailed settings, the intricate track planning, and the features that make each one unique. This is a FREE annual fun event for kids of all ages! Learn More

A Christmas Carol at The Williamsburg Players

December 7- 10 and Dec 14 – 17, 2023
Thursday & Friday at 8 pm | Saturday at 2 pm & 8 pm | Sunday 2 pm

In this holiday favorite, Charles Dickens shows us Ebenezer Scrooge as he falls asleep in his dingy, cold quarters on Christmas Eve. The old miser is visited by three ghosts, each revealing to Scrooge his wrong doings and what will happen if he continues in his evil ways. A traditional holiday classic for the entire family, guaranteed to fill you with the Christmas spirit and warm your heart. Get your tickets today!

An Enchanted Evening on Main Street in Historic Yorktown

Friday, December 8 | 5 - 9 p.m.
Location: Historic Main Street, Yorktown VA

Enjoy a second year of the nighttime Christmas market! Shop amid the twinkling lights, festive music, and nostalgic aromas of roasting chestnuts and hot cider. Find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for relative or something perfect just for yourself. Wrap up your shopping while enjoying all the enchantment Historic Yorktown has to offer – at night! Don’t forget to bring the kids – Santa will be there too! Food trucks onsite, crafts for kids, live nativity scene (grassy area in front of York Hall), Santa and much more. Here are the list of events at An Enchanted Evening on Main Street in Yorktown

Toyland Parade & Mistletoe Market in Yorktown

Saturday December 9, 2023
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The holiday shopping season has officially kicked off in Yorktown! Browse the market for chowders and soups; baked goods including an assortment of cakes, breads, brownies, fudge, cookies; jams, jellies, and honey; holiday wreaths; candles and soaps; and local seasonal art! A professional ice carver will be set up in front of the Riverwalk Landing in front of the LOVE letters providing a fascinating live demonstration. Don’t miss the Toyland Parade…

March in the annual Toyland Parade, and don’t forget to hop aboard the Riverwalk Landing Polar Express for a loop around the festivities. Participants are asked to line up in front of the Freight Shed beginning at 1. Parade will start off at 1:30. More info

iDance Presents Christmas Dreams

December 9, 2023 at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM
December 10, 2023 at 2:30 PM

Kimball Theater – 428 W. Duke of Gloucester

Institute for Dance, Inc. (iDance) has created a unique-to-Williamsburg holiday show, Christmas Dreams.  It’s Christmas in Williamsburg and Janie Sparkle wants just one thing this Christmas–for all her wishes to come true! An unexpected event occurs and stands between her and Christmas morning. Janie finds herself in an enchanted world where nothing is as it seems. Come join Janie on her magical journey home, presented exclusively by Institute for Dance, Inc. More info

Hennage Museum Holiday Programming!

The entire month of December has Christmas and holiday themed programs in the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg’s Hennage Auditorium. Some programs are included in your admission or with your Good Neighbor Pass – others require a small fee separate ticket. See all of the events here.

2nd Sundays Art & Music Festival: Holiday Market

Sunday, December 10, 2023
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Keep it local & handmade in 2023! Stroll the streets of downtown Williamsburg. Shop unique handcrafts, enjoy live music, street performances and food trucks. Fun, family friendly atmosphere. There’s something to be enjoyed by all! ADMISSION IS FREE. Learn more

MILK & COOKIES with Santa

December 16th from 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Williamsburg Community Building

Enjoy milk and cookies from Aromas Cafe while Santa reads a fun Holiday story. Crafts, bingo and other fun activities will be going on as well as a visit from Pete The Cat! Enter to win a basket of goodies from local Downtown Shops. Register here

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens! Open every day in December 2023

It is back and it is beautiful! Lights, shows, rides, food, shopping and family fun – you have it all in one amazingly lit park. Bring your walking shoes and a camera (cell phone) because you will be glad you had both. It is open everyday for the rest of the year so get your tickets (and there is a Groupon offer on tickets) and head to the most beautiful theme park around! Here is the rundown on what is new this year.

Photos with Santa for your kids and with your pets too! Till Dec 23, 2023

Scheduled sessions through December 23, 2023
439 Prince George St. Williamsburg (two doors down from Aromas)

Need that perfect picture of your child, family or pet with Santa? Then this event is for you!
How does it work? Sign up for a session and prepay for your session – then on the day all you have to do is show up and smile! They will send you all the digital images from your session. It’s a great thing to do when family is in town! Here is all the details and the link to sign up here.

Lighting of the Cressets on Duke of Gloucester St. in Colonial Williamsburg

December 22 & 23
Duke of Gloucester St. from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Head down to the historic Duke of Gloucester Street (DoG St) for the newest fall tradition from Colonial Williamsburg, the Lighting of the Cressets. Enjoy the fall evening as they bring our 18th-century streets to life at night with strolling musicians. Stop and have a drink in a tavern or shop and dine at one of the Colonial Williamsburg shops or restaurants. More info

Annual Pie Sale at Colonial Williamsburg

Select dates from December 21 – 24, 2023
11 a.m. to 4 p.m

Colonial Williamsburg Annual Pie Sale is back and extended this year throughout select dates in December at Taste Studio, next to the Williamsburg Inn and across from the Williamsburg Lodge. See all the pies available this year and the dates available here.


Christmastide in Virginia – Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum

December 16-31, 2023
9 a.m. to 5 p.m

Christmastide in Virginia at Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown offers a glimpse of 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions through interpretive programs and demonstrations. Enjoy festive fun with period musical entertainment at both museums. Outdoor living-history areas at both museums and expansive indoor exhibition galleries, interactives and films are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. more info

Ice Skating Outdoor at the Liberty Ice Pavilion in Colonial Williamsburg

Liberty Ice Pavilion will open daily through through February 27, 2024 including holidays! Ice skate with your family on Duke of Gloucester Street at the outdoor Ice Pavilion! You can purchase day tickets or if you know you are going to be going more than a few times purchase a seasons pass – Learn more

The list of Holiday events is way TOO LONG to be included on this list so be sure to check our Daily Calendar so you don’t miss anything!

santa in williamsburg, yorktown, newport news

Where to Find Santa in Williamsburg and surrounding towns!

Santa is super busy running around town be sure to check out our where to find Santa page!!

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  • Kristy

    Multifaceted role combines marketing, sales, event planning, communications and digital management to support the mission and growth of Williamsburg Families, The Burg Weekender, The Burg Weekly and Localourist.

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