We got our free picture with Santa!
First of all, I have to make a confession: I am a Christmas addict. My family starts listening to Christmas music Nov. 1. We spend every weekend decorating, making cookies, or wrapping presents, and we ALWAYS go see the National Christmas tree on the Mall. Last semester was my first in Williamsburg, so I got to experience everything the city has to offer for the first time! Luckily enough for me, Colonial Williamsburg shares my enthusiasm for the holidays. At the end of November, CW decorates the colonial district with holiday themed garlands, wreaths, and candles. The non-colonial part of town (Merchant’s Square) also throws itself into the spirit; lights cover the trees and quaint businesses.
The W&M Bookstore and Merchant’s Square also host an event called “W&M Night in Merchants Square,” which consists of a canned food drive and free goodies for those who participate! Three cans gets you a holiday themed W&M t-shirt, a bag full of coupons, and, most excitingly, a picture with Santa! Many of the restaurants also give out free food and hot chocolate. After donating our cans and taking a picture with Santa, my friends and I walked around Merchant’s Square, where we happily sipped our free hot chocolate and watched a street performance of “A Christmas Carol.”
This event leads up the crowning jewel of CW’s Christmas celebrations: Grand Illumination. Hundreds of people travel to Williamsburg every year to see the spectacular fireworks and the beautiful decorations throughout town. Many students and professors also attend, making the event one of the many ways in which the community of W&M interacts with the greater Williamsburg community. I watched the fireworks with a few friends from school and family friends who visited for the occasion, but I spotted many people I knew while strolling down DoG (Duke of Gloucester) street on the way to the show. I could not imagine a better start to the holiday season than watching fireworks light up the sky with friends and fellow students. This was one of my favorite memories of 2012 and I cannot wait for you to experience it too!