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Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

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Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

Hello. We are excited about our upcoming trip to Williamsburg the week of Christmas (2008). The information from Colonial Williamsburg includes a ton of different special activities, most of which cost extra money. Does anyone have any suggestions as to which of these special events are "don't miss" events? We will definitely do the Bridles & Bits tour since we love horses, and I would love to get into the Jefferson Wine Dinner. Are there any Christmas programs that you would specially recommend? Is it possible to attend Christmas Eve or Day services at Bruton Parish church? If not, is there another Anglican church in the area where we could go? Thanks! PS we are interested in just about everything: music, art, history, cooking...probably not dancing though unless they are giving lessons!

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1. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

If you want to attend the Jefferson Wine Dinner, make your reservations now! Although additional seating days and times have been added the past couple of years, it sells out quickly. Well worth the price, in my opinion. Do a Christmas decorations walk, especially if you want to know more about the natural materials that are used. Also Dean Shostak's Crystal Concerts are highly recommended. An illumination of an area (Market Square, Palace Green, the Taverns) is informative and fun. It is followed by carol singing, if you enjoy that, it's wonderful, and there is no charge. If the foodways program about chocolate is being presented, or the program about preparing hams, bacon, etc. is on, both are very interesting. Visit Great Hopes to find out how the various rural populations observed the Christmas season, which is very different from how it's celebrated today. There is usually a very tall tree in the Museum, and usually special exhibits as well.

Christmas Eve late afternoon brings the lighting of the community Christmas tree and the retelling of the story of the first Christmas tree in Virginia, as well as the firing of the Christmas guns.

Admissions to Bruton Parish Church Christmas Eve and Day services are usually by ticket; you can contact the church to inquire about availability. The Rector of Bruton Parish has recently been named Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, as a sidenote. If not there, either St. Martin's Episcopal (off Jamestown Road) or Hickory Neck Episcopal in Toano, a short drive past the Williamsburg Pottery, hold services. Christmas Eve at St. Martin's usually has 3 services, including a midnight service which begins at 10:30 p.m. with carols, and finishes shortly after midnight. Very beautiful service!

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2. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

Thank you so much for the information. Perfect--that is exactly what I needed to know. BTW, don't know if you guys can stand any more Yankees but we are thinking about retiring down there. Any new developments of interest? We have considered two different scenarios: a nice chunk of nature (garden, pond, animals)... or a low maintenance condo with amenities where someone else does all the work! Any suggestions? We also checked out Charlottesville last time and we liked that area as well. Virginia is beautiful! Thanks again~!

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3. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

Prairiemom -- may I ask if you received the holiday brochure in the mail? I have been waiting for the brochure for a month now, but every time I called about it, I was told "it should come from the printers any day now", or "it will be mailed at the end of the week." Haven't yet seen it in my part of Illinois!

Thanks.

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4. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

Haven't seen it. When I called during regular hours and requested it, I was told it was available online. When I told her I had been unable to find it, she referred me to the regular calendar. Without going into detail, I'll just say that the calendar is very annoying to use and it didn't list the Jefferson Wine Dinner that she told me about so I know it's incomplete at this point. There is also a separate website for Christmas at Williamsburg that is very pretty. It lists tantalizing categories of special events, but again no details, dates, fees, way to reserve tickets, etc. So I called after hours and left a message requesting the Christmas planner. Maybe both our planners will arrive tomorrow! :-)

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5. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

OK, thanks. Last night I did find on the website a downloadable pdf of the holiday brochure. It was quite extensive, probably 15 pages or so, and lovely (natch!). And it did go into detail (time, place, cost) about each and every thing, including the dining events. Just no info on church services.

I think we're getting closer!

You asked before about what is most truly special and I remember a Palace Concert some 30 years ago. I hope they are still the same, because you arrive in the frosty, dark evening almost imagining you are an invited guest of the governor and are greeted by a huge snapping fire in the entrance hall fireplace. In the completely candle-lit ballroom you and no more than a hundred others are seated for a charming period music recital. The beautiful house, the gorgeous costumes, the panoply of music history and prowess in performance ... just great, and still a vivid memory for me after all these years!

Appreciate hearing from you. May I be the first to wish you happy holidays! :-)

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6. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

One more thing about planning to take advantage of special events at Williamsburg. In case anyone from CW is monitoring this forum. I agree with prairiemom that the online calendar is clunky and annnoying. Only ten events-per-page makes for a lot of lumbering around. And coloring in the part of the day's timeline which the event occupies is not only unconventional from a design point of view, but it is unecessary information. And it's confusing when there are two performances scheduled back-to-back but they appear as one big blob of color on the calendar.

Furthermore, if a potential visitor should want to print off a copy of the calendar to share around the dinner table ... heaven help us! It takes way too much paper and ink.

Of all the stylish and clever things being done in Williamsburg, this isn't one! Thanks for listening.

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7. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

The Holiday Planner has been delayed in it's release due to a misprint regarding one of the programs. But if you call 1-800-HISTORY and request one to be sent to you, I'm sure they will and make you aware of the misprint problem. You may want to go ahead and reserve for the Jefferson Wine Dinner at the same time because my experience has been that program has been sold out before the Planner is released. The current dinner will take place on Nov 29 and Dec. 5, 19, and 26 at 5 or 8 p.m at the Kings Arms. There is also a dinner with George Washington at Christiana Campbell's on Dec.23 at 5 or 8 p.m.

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8. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

Not to mention one with Patrick Henry Dec. 28. I'm looking forward to that one, too!

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9. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

Found the link to CW's online Holiday Planner: history.org/visit/…christmasCompanion.html. It wasn't in a place I would consider intuitive...it was buried under multiple menu choices. But it's there!

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10. Re: Williamsburg: Christmas Special Events

Unfortunately the previous link didn't work, but this one should:

history.org/visit/…christmasCompanion.html