Through My Lens: Colonial American Christmas Decorations

I recently drove down to Colonial Williamsburg, one of my favorite destinations, to stroll through the streets, admiring the Christmas decorations and imagining myself celebrating a colonial Christmas.

Williamsburg residents were sticklers for the religious observances of the Anglican Church--more so than in other colonies and even other Virginia towns--and they observed the season of Advent, a time for fasting and repentence. Christmas celebrations were relatively plain, consisting mainly of going to church and having dinner, maybe visiting some friends and maybe putting a few greens up as decorations. They were more likely to exchange gifts on New Year's Day than on Christmas. By comparison, first-hand descriptions of holiday celebrations in other colonial towns during the eighteenth century include grand balls, fireworks displays, and horse races.

Today during the Christmas season, Colonial Williamsburg is decked out much more than it would have been in the eighteenth century, but it's still a treat for the senses. I am always amazed at what gorgeous decorations can be made using nothing but nature's bounty: an assortment of greens, dried flowers, fruit, pinecones, seedheads, gourds, feathers, oyster shells, and even lichen. Here are some of my favorite photos from my latest trip. Enjoy, and have a very merry Christmas!


  1. What an interesting bit of history. And I love the photos. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!

  2. I really enjoyed this bit of history. I wish I was in Colonial Williamsburg to see them for myself. The photos are wonderful.

    Merry Christmas!


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