Tourism Blog

Posted on: November 28, 2017

Holiday Activities in James City County

Holiday events

Month-Long Events

  • Experience centuries-old holiday traditions at Jamestown Settlement during A Colonial Christmas. Visitors will learn about Jamestown colony’s early years as well as the English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606, and the Powhatan Indian hospitality shown to Captain John Smith’s trading party in 1608 during a winter storm. There will be special festivities from Dec. 23-31 featuring period musical entertainment and appearances at Jamestown Settlement by the Lord of Misrule. A Jamestown Settlement holiday film and interpretive programs compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of the Jamestown colony.
  • Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ is open on select days through Jan. 1, 2018. Experience the largest light display in North America along with festive food and drink, wonderful shows including ‘Twas that Night at the Royal Palace Theatre and a visit to Santa’s new North Pole workshop.

Special Activities

  • Need a Christmas tree? Enjoy a tree grown in James City County! MillFarm Christmas Tree & Berry Farm is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and every Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for tree cutting. MillFarm offers White Pine, Caroline Sapphire, Leyland Cypress and Blue Spruce varieties. Cost varies by size. There are also pre-cut Frasier Firs available. The farm takes cash or check.
  • Enjoy Caroloke and Cocoa in New Town Williamsburg on Fridays through Dec. 15 from 6-8 p.m. $5 per person to enter the caroloke contest. There are three categories: 17 and under, 18 and over, groups of four or more. Cocoa is free!
  • Enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas as you wind your way through the world's most beautiful theme park during the Christmas Town Dash 8K run at Busch Gardens on Sunday, Dec. 3 beginning at 7:30 a.m. This 8K includes a long sleeve shirt, a finisher medal, post-race food/hot chocolate, a Chick-fil-A coupon, a 50% ticket for Christmas Town and a day ticket to Busch Gardens (valid for the 2018 season).
  • Enjoy A Dickens Christmas on Friday, Dec. 8 from 4-8:30 p.m. at the James City County Library. Virginia Theatre Machine will present "Master Thespian's Christmas Carol," an endlessly creative version of the show performed out of their specially designed trailer and all ages will find something to enjoy among a wide selection of crafts, musical performances, historical talks, ghost story readings, period dance demonstrations and a host of other Dickensian holiday fun in our newly-renovated Marketplace setting. Award-winning local food truck Foodatude will be on site selling snacks, meals, and hot beverages.
  • Join Santa Claus and support the York River State Park at Jingle Bark in the Park on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. until 1 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. Park is $4.
  • On Saturday, Dec. 16, enjoy Nature Ornaments and Crafts from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Freedom Park. Stop by Freedom Park this holiday season and transform acorns, sweetgum balls, and pine cones into adorable ornaments! Bring billfold size school photos if you would like to make a surprise for Grandma or a remembrance ornament for your tree. Drop in and spend an hour or so, and head home with some new tree ornaments! All materials (except photos) will be provided. 
  • Attend “At Christmas Be Mery,” a special evening event at Historic Jamestowne on Saturday, Dec. 10. This event will be offered at two times: 6:30 p.m. and 8 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! Join 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 Memorial Church. Governor Yeardley will then offer a welcome before inviting everyone to sing carols. Afterwards go outside to herald in the season by a bonfire with remembrances of “Yule times” past, dancing, and the firing of the Christmas guns! Tickets, which are $18 each, are limited and must be bought in advance.

Live Music

  • The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band (TRADOC) will present its annual holiday concert on Monday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at Saint Bede Catholic Church. All are invited to attend this entertainment extravaganza. The holiday concerts are among the band's most popular performances. The concert is free and no tickets are required. Parking is limited, please consider carpooling.
  • Attend the Flute Frenzy Holiday Concert on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:15 p.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. The program will be a Winter’s Journey of varied music for flute choirs of piccolo, C flute, alto and bass flutes. The program includes familiar classical and popular works from Sleigh Ride to the Nutcracker. Directed by Thom Recktenwald and Prelude Director, Olivia Lawson, the concert is free and open to the public. Reception to follow.
  • Usher in the holiday season with wine and live music! 94.9 The Point presents Uncorked & Unplugged the Holiday Edition live from The Williamsburg Winery on Sunday, Dec. 10. Doors open at noon and music is from 1-4 p.m. Enjoy live music from Andy Grammer while sipping on delicious Virginia wine in the beautiful Williamsburg Winery vineyard. Uncorked & Unplugged is certain to be a memorable event! All attendees must be 21 and over. Past Uncorked & Unplugged artists include LeAnn Rimes, David Cook and Ingrid Michaelson. Uncorked and Unplugged has three ticket options: general admission, VIP admission and Meet & Greet admission.
  • Enjoy Christmas with the Williamsburg Choral Guild on Sunday, Dec. 10 at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. There are two performances at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. This is a free, family-friendly program of traditional Christmas selections, seasonal musical arrangements and a group carol sing. The Guild offers this concert to the community in thanks for your continuing support. In lieu of admission, please bring a nonperishable food item for FISH.
  • 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 Friday, Dec. 15 at 8 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 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

  • Enjoy the Inaugural Grand Illumination Day Holiday Feast at the Williamsburg Winery on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 12:30 p.m. A festive, family style holiday meal inspired by the food from the same land and waterways first cultivated by the colonists. There will be live music and a bus transfer to the Grand Illumination. Cost is $78 per person or $63 per person for just the feast.
  • Corner Cafe is hosting their first-ever Craft Beer Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 5 with the Virginia Beer Company. To celebrate this first and the kick-off of the holidays, The Virginia Beer Company will be tapping an exclusive cask of Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout infused with bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup to welcome everyone to the table. Join us for a night of beers, bites and cheers! RSVP to this five-course meal by calling 757-345-3144.
  • Café Provençal will be open from 12-4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 25. Price of menu per person is $55 exclusive of taxes and gratuity. Their extensive wine and beverage list will be available. Reservations require a credit card upon booking. For reservations, please call 757-941-0317.

Menu

First Course: Caramelized onion soup with braised oxtail and homemade bread or black truffle deviled duck eggs with pea tendrils and parsnip chips or poached pear salad with local cheeses, Manikintowne greens and candied almonds

Main Course: Roasted Border Springs Farm Lamb Rack with white bean puree, braised swiss chard and sour cherry glaze or seared rockfish with polenta cake, fried okra, roasted heirloom tomatoes and basil nage or dry-aged New York strip with potato hash, butter beans and homemade steak sauce

Dessert: Ginger shortbreads with egg nog ice cream and bourbon glaze spiced walnuts or ricotta tart with winter berries and cardamom whipped cream


There are numerous restaurants open on Christmas Eve:

  • Baker’s Crust
  • Café Provencal at the Williamsburg Winery
  • Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant
  • Center Street Grill
  • Colonial Heritage
  • Cogan’s Deli and Sports Pub
  • Corner Café
  • Craft 31
  • Gabriel Archer Tavern at the Williamsburg Winery
  • Maurizio’s Italian Restaurant
  • Olde Town Pizza & Pasta
  • Opus 9 Steakhouse
  • The Whaling Company
  • Two Drummers Smokehouse
  • Tuscany Ristorante

All information about restaurants in James City County is located in our dining guide

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