A Colonial Christmas

You already know all about the festive fun to be had in Williamsburg, but what about the rest of the Historic Triangle?

All month long, you can experience a colonial-style Christmas in Yorktown and Jamestown, two epicenters of American history sharing 17th and 18th-century holiday traditions with the modern age! Come and see the festivities for yourself in the month of December.

A Colonial Christmas at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is one of the area’s greatest treasures. Visitors come from near and far to witness firsthand the retelling of the founding of our nation, starting with the colonies and reaching to the establishment of our Constitution. The “museum” features interactive outdoor living-history areas, including a Continental army encampment, a Revolution-era farm, and interactive exhibits and films that transport visitors to our fascinating past.

These features play a huge role in visual storytelling for guests of the American Revolution Museum during the Christmas season! This month, hear accounts of our Revolutionary forebears about what life was like when war and Christmastime coincided, and learn about the perils of camp life in the wintertime. You can also see firsthand how people prepared for the holidays on the Revolution-era farm, and even participate by assisting the quartermaster in preparing military supplies!

You’ll also see historical interpreters compare and contrast modern holiday traditions with their 18th-century counterparts and demonstrate a host of holiday activities, like setting a farmhouse table for a holiday feast in the 1700s. Witness open-hearth cooking in the farm kitchen and try your hand at candle-dipping!

A Colonial Christmas at Jamestown Settlement
One of the coolest things about witnessing these historical reenactments is the appreciation that comes with realizing how much life has changed—and how hard people fought for survival mere centuries years ago. At Jamestown Settlement, get access to special interpretive programs that compare and contrast traditional English Christmas customs with how colonists likely observed the holiday in those extremely difficult early years.

So many opportunities exist in Jamestown to discover the incredible stories of our past! Jamestown Settlement features a re-created Powhatan Indian village where historical interpreters demonstrate typical winter activities of the day, including the vital skills of food preservation and techniques for making hunting tools.

At James Fort, see wattle-and-daub buildings bedaubed with holiday greenery and watch live cooking demonstrations. From December 23-31, don’t miss out on performances of 17th- and 18th-century holiday music with instruments like the mandolin, guitar, flute and viola.  Musical performances will be held at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Jamestown Settlement and at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Holiday tickets, tours and packages for these unique experiences are available online.