The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Three Centuries Of Christmas

By Virginia Division of Travel & Tourism

Issue: December, 1984

Lavish Victorian, colonial and pre-colonial festivities, along with many contemporary activities mark this year's celebration of over three centuries of Christmas in Virginia. More than three dozen holiday events are being elaborately staged all across the state.

Visitors can savor the rich elegance of a Victorian family Christmas at many celebrations annually held across the state. At the Maymont Christmas Open House in Richmond, December 9, 1984, the Dooley Mansion will be once again be decked with Victorian holiday trimmings as costumed interpreters lead special tours of the house. On the grounds, carriage rides, a musical storyteller, bellringers, St. Nick and a "Little People Only" gift shop for children are just a few of the events scheduled throughout the afternoon, with a community sing at dusk.

Charlottesville features citywide "Yuletide Traditions" celebrations, December 7-31, 1984 including the trimming of a Victorian Christmas tree at President James Monroe's home, Ash Lawn, December 13, and an 18th-century open house at Jefferson's Monticello on December 12, 14 and 16. The Victorian tradition continues during "Holiday in Lexington", December 8, at the Open House of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson's home.

Harking back to colonial times are Alexandria's Scottish Christmas Walk, December 1 and Colonial Williamsburg's festive fortnight of 18th-century concerts, theater, caroling, games and evening Grand Illumination military tattoo, December 14, followed by fireworks proclaiming the holiday season.

Alexandria's Candlelight Tour, December 7-8, offers visitors a chance to see some of the country's oldest and most elegant private homes dating from the pre-Revolutionary War era.

For a rare glimpse of Christmas in the settlement days of the 1600s, Jamestown Festival Park offers the "Twelve Days of Christmas," December 20-31. Norfolk highlights the 16th century with a weekend Madrigal Dinner, December 1-2.

For further information about these and other holiday events in Virginia, or free vacation planning assistance, contact the:  Virginia Division of Tourism, 202 North Ninth Street, Suite 500, Richmond, Virginia 23219. Telephone 804-786-4484.