The holiday season is upon us, and while it’s supposed to be a time of year filled with merriment, magic, and fun, usually it turns into a series of stressed out battles, including crowded shopping malls, boring office parties, and annoying holiday jingles played around-the-clock.
Before you turn into a Scrooge or Grinch, why not take a day or two to discover a destination that is packed with fun during the holidays. Whether you’re looking to go back in time, travel to the North Pole, or light up your spirit, a trip to historic Williamsburg, Virginia can be a welcome respite in an otherwise crazy season. And did you know that this colonial town was the location of the first Christmas tree in America?
Williamsburg is also an easy weekend destination, only three hours south of Washington, D.C. Just be sure to plan accordingly. There are several holiday events and activities happening throughout December that you won’t want to miss.
Here are just a few to get you in a warm and bright mood:
Yorktown is best known for its place in history and battle during the Revolutionary War. But it’s also a waterfront filled with holiday fun, including a boat parade, as well as antique shops, galleries, restaurants, and Market Days, a special holiday market that delivers a Toyland experience on December 9. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there to greet you, and there are several kid-friendly events, including breakfast with Santa, a “Toyland” parade, and extended hours for shopping.
Busch Gardens' Christmas Town
Busch Gardens is one of the few theme parks in the region that’s still open for the holidays. The theme park designed a North Pole workshop, with elf attendants who guide you on your visit. Busch Gardens also has bragging rights to the largest Christmas light display in North America. The park is decorated with more than 8 million lights from now through New Year's Day.
Yankee Candle Village
Even if you’re not too keen on scented candles, the Yankee Candle Village is an experience simply because of its unique size and scale. There are more than 400,000 scented candles that you can buy here. Yes, it’s sensory overload, but in December the Holiday Park is festooned with 40,000 ornaments and 250,000 candles... Talk about a lit experience—visitors can also experience animated musical entertainment and daily visits from Santa.
No trip to Williamsburg would be complete without a visit to the historic Jamestown Settlement. In December, visitors can hear from 17th- and 18th-century musicians playing popular holiday tunes. From Dec. 23 to 31, music by David Gardner (on the fiddle) and Barry and Lynn Trott on (the mandolin, guitar, flute and viola da gamba) can be heard as you tour and stroll the grounds of America’s first permanent settlement.