December in Williamsburg Virginia is probably one of my favorite months in fact its probably yours too you just don’t know it yet. To start with there’s the weather, beautiful crisp cool and clear days give way to evenings that are snuggle perfect, like a picture postcard, with beautiful wreaths and flickering lights everywhere. You’re standing knee-deep in history, and you don’t even mind.
All those people and events from American history books spring to life as you move from house to house, from blacksmith to wigmaker, from restored Capitol to the Royal Governor’s Palace. Costumed historic “interpreters” mingle with the tourists, ready to explain the customs, traditions and ideas popular in this place that is frozen in time.
Artisans describe their role in the early life of the colonies, and performances throughout the day reveal bits and pieces about how our young country struggled to become a democracy. They love for you to talk and ask questions. It helps them convey the importance of this time in history. Williamsburg is a town getting ready for a war that will change the world forever.
On this first Sunday in December on Duke of Gloucster Street as we lined up for the Grand Illumination parade, you are immersed in all that history; you feel that sense of urgency of a people on the brink of war. There would be no fancy floats, no dancing reindeer, no loud music and no jolly ole elf tossing candy, but to the tens of thousands of us on DoG Street, it did not seem to matter.
The rhythmic clicking is what you hear first. A hush falls across the crowd. Everyone starts jockeying for a better view. Perfectly synchronized footsteps moving in step with beating drums followed by the unmistakable shrill sound of fifes ignites the air. A small band of around 100 stone-faced young men, dressed in their 18th century uniforms, turns the corner and precision march down DoG Street, totally oblivious to the crowd.
I remember thinking the crowd’s reaction weird, more of reverent respect than celebration. Perhaps the magic of Williamsburg had cast a spell on all of us as we remembered the words of the “young wife of a Drum and Fife Corp member” who had tearfully told us why she was so sad.
It seems her husband was a drummer, and in the 1700s, these young men were often the first killed on a battlefield, because the Drum and Fife corp was the communication link for our armies. With their melodies and drum cadences, the Corp directed the action on the battlefield. They ordered attacks, retreats and other maneuvers. Because a band of fifes and drums could be heard up to 3 miles away over artillery fire, they were often used to signal threats and danger.
Yet, even though we knew their command was a happy one tonight, it was difficult to separate the worlds. We stood quietly, just watching these ghosts from the past go about their duties. Music played, a cannon was fired and fireworks lit up the skies in this beautiful restored village that Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller built for all of America to enjoy. The Grand Illumination kicks off the Christmas season in Williamsburg. With so much going on and all month long shouldn’t you be spending time in Colonial Williamsburg? Join us this season for at least 3 nights at the Colonial Gardens Bed and Breakfast, your choice for Williamsburg Virginia lodging, and we will give you free bounce passes to Colonial Williamsburg and Christmas Town at Busch Gardens! That’s a $130 value. Call today – 800-886-9715
# Friday, December 4 – Friday, December 4
Yorktown Celebrates Christmas in Yorktown, Va
Don’t miss the all American Christmas celebration in Yorktown, Virginia, located just 15 miles east of Williamsburg.
# Saturday, December 5 – Saturday, December 5
Community Christmas Parade at Merchants Square in Williamsburg, VA
The Williamsburg Christmas Parade is one of pride and tradition.
# Sunday, December 6 – Sunday, December 6
Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, VA
The skies over Colonial Williamsburg will be illuminated in light for the annual Grand Illumination event.
# Saturday, December 12 – Saturday, December 12
Olde Towne Holiday Music Festival near Williamsburg, VA
Celebrate the holiday season at the Olde Town Holiday Music Festival in Portsmouth, Virginia near Williamsburg.
# Thursday, December 31 – Thursday, December 31
First Night Celebration in Williamsburg, VA
More than 50 acts, from African dance to swing orchestra, will be showcased throughout the night of Williamsburg’s First Night Celebration.
On-Going December Events:
# Thursday, January 1 – Thursday, December 31
The Nelson Touch at Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA
There are some who wish they had gone to sea.
# Thursday, January 1 – Thursday, December 31
Ships of August Crabtree at Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA
The highlight of any trip to the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA is the collection of sixteen miniature ships all handcrafted by August Crabtree (1905-.
# Tuesday, December 1 – Sunday, January 3
A Colonial Christmas at the Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center in Williamsburg, VA
From the first “American” Christmas celebration held by English colonists still sailing towards the new land in 1606 to a look at the average traditions of a 1780’s Virginia farmer, A Colonial Christmas is an interesting look into America’s history with the holidays.