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A Colonial Williamsburg Christmas
Under the Tree

A Photo Essay

Colonial Williamsburg is never more appealing to the senses, to remembrance, or to the heart than at Christmastide. In the pictures gracing these pages, Colonial Williamsburg photographers over the years have captured some of the beauty, much of the spirit, and all of the joy, colonial and contemporary, of that special season in the restoration of the eighteenth-century city that once was Virginia’s capital. There are the all-natural holiday wreaths, swags, and ropes in the Williamsburg tradition, the eighteenth-century music, the caroling on the steps of the Courthouse of 1770, and the magic of Grand Illumination candles, cressets, and skyrockets. Historic Area celebrations begin December 6, 2009.

From door wreaths to Christmas tree decorations, from Santas in Colonial Williamsburg stores to carolers and concerts in church, each year the holidays favor the Historic Area with the colors, sights, and sounds of the season. With its mixture of eighteenth-century tradition and modern practice, Christmas at Colonial Williamsburg carries the past into the present.

Grand Illumination, the early December display of fireworks, music, and candlelit buildings that anchors the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, has been an annual ritual in the Historic Area for seventy-five years.

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