Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas in Williamsburg

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday was the first non-rainy weekend day that we've had this holiday season.  To celebrate, we went to Colonial Williamsburg to see the fabulous Christmas decorations.  Have you ever heard of them?  We took a guided walking tour and so we learned a lot about them.  Back in the 30s when the Revolutionary City first opened, tourists began to ask how Christmas would have been celebrated.  This happened during a "Colonial Revival" period and so while this isn't the way actual 17th and 18th Century people decorated, it was the way that was determined that they could have.  Wreaths and sprays and other decorations are constructed out of natural materials or any other available resources in Colonial times.  Thus magnolia leaves join pomegranates, apples, pineapples, etc. in fabulous decorations for the exterior of the buildings.  (Our tour guide said that if the Colonists had these materials, they would have displayed them INSIDE their houses and probably the fruit would have been eaten, not displayed.)

Above you can see an example of one of the famous crescents.  

The next several photos were at the same house.  They decided to go with a Cavalry theme and used many horse-related items.

This arrangement decorated the transom above the door

See the swords and stirrups?

I love this arrangement sitting up high on a gable.

I personally like the traditional fruit wreaths the best, but many places are embracing their original use and using themes of "kitchen," "tavern," "stable," etc.  This one features cut up playing cards and dice.  

There were even some gentlemen meeting on the street to discuss politics.  Can you beleive that they were actually talking about going against the King?  

In Virginia, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Christmas season did not begin until December 25th.  It ran until Jan. 6--for twelve days.  These 12 days were filled with celebrations, feast nights, parties, drinking, and other revelry.  

The idea behind the decorations is that they have to look just as good and fresh on December 31 as they did on Dec. 1.  Many homes and buildings that get the sun shining on them most of the day go with dried arrangements.  You find the fresh fruit on the shady side of the streets.

The garden had many wreaths for sale, as well as all the fruites, and dried materials for making your own.  I was tempted!

Just a simple wreath with holly and greenery is pretty!

I hope you enjoyed this taste of Colonial decorating!

Have a great day,


  1. I live in Richmond and I love coming to Williamsburg. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a wonderful place to visit with all of the holiday decorations, thanks for sharing.

  3. They also have to contend with the squirrels with some of the fresh fruit decorations, and there are workers replacing items in the wreaths as needed during the season. It is so beautiful, and I feel so blessed to be living in Williamsburg. Thanks for the great post about the Christmas decorations.

  4. Thank you for sharing!! What fun to see how folks years ago celebrated with what they had! S simple and yet so elegant!!

  5. We originally planned to get married in Williamsburg at Christmas but a company acquisition (long story) changed those plans and we got married there in July, rather than December. I had always wanted to be there during the Christmas holidays because it is so beautiful. Glad you had a chance to enjoy it and thanks for sharing that information ;-) We're enjoying several feet of snow in Northern Michigan ...been snowing daily for about a week and it is beautiful. Lots of sewing room/quilting time for me!

  6. I've not been to Williamsburg at Christmas and will definitely have to "must visit" list. Thanks for sharing all these lovely photos...

  7. Thanks do much for sharing JoAnne!! Those decorations are beautiful!!! Colonial Williamsburg is on my list of must see places to visit! I know I would just love it.

  8. I've heard about these decorations and would love to see them for myself. Thanks for the photos.

  9. Wow! Had no idea decor is awesome! It doesn't even feel like Christmas in my own little world these days so hopefully next year I will do it up big!

  10. Wow, beautiful and interesting! Thank you for taking the time to take and share the photos!!

  11. Thanks for sharing all of these pictures ! I really enjoyed them :-D

  12. Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.

  13. Oh, how lovely! Thanks for showing the pictures :-)

  14. Williamsburg at Christmas is on my bucket list, maybe next year. Hubby in the hospital this year. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

  15. What beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing glimpses of gour trip!