Your Ultimate Holiday Guide to Williamsburg

skating rink with several people skating

The Holiday season is upon us! And here in Williamsburg, there’s so much going on to celebrate. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the Ultimate Holiday Guide to all the special seasonal events so you don’t miss any Christmas festivities. Here we go!

First off, there are several recurring opportunities available in Williamsburg throughout the entire season. Come explore Sparkleland in Merchant’s Square every week Thursday through Sunday. You can enjoy special performances and activities, or come meet Santa! Just next door is the Liberty Ice Pavilion, open daily for the perfect cold-weather past-time. Every Thursday and Sunday, head over to Charlton’s Coffeehouse for Christmas caroling, complete with burning cressets.

If you have a love for the historic side, Colonial Williamsburg tours are perfect at this time of year. Check out their Christmastide in Virginia tour to learn about traditions and techniques of a colonial Christmas, or the Midwinter Stories presentations throughout the day. For some 17th century classics, consider the seasonal concert series at the Governor’s Palace where you can enjoy impressive musicianship and historic holiday-themed selections.

We would be amiss to forget Busch Gardens’ Christmastown, Williamsburg’s own winter wonderland! Always a local favorite, you can experience the sights, sounds, and smells of holiday comfort and take in thousands of Christmas lights!

There are, of course, some special events throughout the season as well. Here’s the ones we’re most excited about!

-November 24: The annual Tree Lighting party, complete with free hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts, of course.

-December 1: The Williamsburg Christmas parade, a must see!

-December 1-2: Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops concert, conducted by Janna Hymes.

-December 2: the ever-popular Grand Illumination! It’s a well-known Williamsburg tradition, including performances by the best local musicians and a beautiful fireworks display.

-December 15: “At Christmas Be Mery”: A Special Evening at Historic Jamestown, where you can experience traditional early-English traditions, including the firing of the guns and a seasonal bonfire.

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It’s certainly no secret that Colonial Williamsburg is known for it’s breathtaking and naturally-made decorations, and this year is no exception. The streets and buildings will soon be adorned by garlands and, in particular, wreaths made locally from natural materials to make a beautiful seasonal landscape. You can read all about the history of this tradition here, then take to the Williamsburg streets to experience this unique Christmas decor. You can even take a tour around such houses with this special Colonial Williamsburg tour.

We take such pride in these homemade decorations, in fact, that this year the Christmas Homes Tour is in it’s 58th year! This unique tour includes entry to several historic buildings like the Nelson-Galt House, Edinburgh Castle Tavern, and Benjamin Waller House. It’s a special event over the course of December 1-2; click here for tickets!

Finally, here’s a simple recipe for a cold-weather classic…mulled cider! It’s the perfect cozy drink for the holiday season…

This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, click here for the whole post. 

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4 whole cinnamon sticks

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

8 whole allspice berries

Orange peel from 1 orange

Lemon peel from 1 lemon

1/2 cup maple syrup

6 cups unfiltered (fresh squeezed is great) apple juice

1/2 cup dark rum (optional)


Place cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, allspice berries, orange peel, and lemon peel in a medium saucepan. Pour in maple syrup and apple juice, then bring to almost a boil. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve in mugs.

(Add a splash of rum for an adults-only version! Yum, yum, yum.)

We hope this Holiday Guide sets you up nicely to experience all the Williamsburg area has to offer this season!  It can be easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in Christmas crazy, so take a little time to experience the beauty of the area and the joy of the season. It only comes once each year, here’s to the loveliest year yet!

What’s your favorite way to bring in the holiday season? Let us know below!

Holiday Recipes from our Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast 

baked apple pastry

Most of us have a favorite holiday treat to indulge on during the season, or a go-to recipe that’s always a hit at potlucks. Cherished holiday recipes are typically comforting and familiar, often bringing us a sense of nostalgia – like Grandma’s special hot cocoa with just the right amount of marshmallows, or Uncle Johnny’s famous pot roast with his secret blend of spices.

At our family-run Williamsburg bed and breakfast, we strive to make our guests feel at home during their stay by offering refreshments and home cooked breakfasts each day. For those of you who aren’t able to join us during the cold winter months, we wanted to share a couple of our favorite recipes guaranteed to keep you warm throughout the winter, from our family to yours!

French Toast Casserole (makes 8 servings)


  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups
  • tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 10 slices of 1 inch thick French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  • Blueberry or maple syrup (optional)


–        Heat oven to 350 degrees

–        Generously grease a 2 ½ quart or 13×9 inch baking dish

–        Beat flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large bowl with a hand beater until smooth

–        Stir in bread cubes until coated

–        Pour bread mixture into pan

–        Top evenly with cubed cream cheese, blueberries and nuts

–        Bakes 20-25 minutes, uncovered, until top is golden brown

–        If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup

Hot Spiced Apple Cider (makes 4 servings)

Flavored with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and orange. This easy, one-step recipe is the perfect warm drink for Thanksgiving or your holiday party.

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 apple, cut into slices
  • 1 orange, cut into slices
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. whole allspice

–        Add all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot. 

Edwards Ham Fantastic Biscuits (makes 6 servings)

We borrowed this recipe from our friends over at Edwards Ham because it is a Virginia party favorite and, frankly, too good not to share.


1 package rolls

6 slices provolone cheese

10 ¾ oz can of undiluted cream of chicken soup

6 slices of Edwards Virginia Country Ham, thinly sliced

¼ cup white wine

1 stick butter, melted

1-2 tsp. mustard (depending on your flavor preferences)

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. onion, diced and minced

Salt and pepper to taste


–        Line a 13×11 inch pan with foil that has been lightly greased with cooking oil spray

–        Place rolls that have been filled with ham and cheese in the foil-lined pan, making sure they are very close together

–        Mix melted butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion and salt and pepper, then pour over rolls

–        Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to make

These are just a few of the recipes Sharon and Billy love to make for their family and friends to warm their spirits and keep stomachs happy around the holidays. These are tried and true favorites that guests of our Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast rave about. We hope you’ll take a stab at them. What holiday recipe are you famous for in your family?

A Family Recipe: Mom Fannye Breakfast Casserole

Some of the best recipes are passed on from generation to generation. From our family to yours, we would like to share a family recipe that Billy’s mother has served for holiday breakfast for years and years. The Scruggs family now serves the same great recipe at Christmas each year. Her name is Fannye Holden Scruggs Rorer and she was named after Billy’s Great Aunt Fannye.

Mom Fannye Breakfast Casserole

2 cups seasoned croutons

1 cup shredded cheese

3 eggs

1 – 1/2 cups cream/milk

Optional 1 – 1/2 cups browned ground sausage, drained

Layer croutons in the bottom of a buttered casserole, then cover with cheese. If desired, cover with sausage. Mix together milk and egg and pour over, then let stand overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes and enjoy! What’s your favorite family recipe? Share it with us!