December 2015 Holiday Guide

Looking for fun Christmas events in Richmond, Va? Start here for a huge list of family friendly events.

Christmas time is here!! There are lots of ways to have a magical holiday season in Richmond this month.  From ice skating events to visits to Santa, there’s something to for everyone!  Want a list of just the free stuff? Check out our list of free holiday events here.

Ongoing Events

Illuminate Light Show & Santa’s Village The lights shine brightly for guests nightly, including holidays, and are enjoyed from the comfort of a vehicle. Also featured is Santa’s Village, complete with family-friendly activities, Christmas tree lot, pictures with Santa, tasty treats, and more.

RVA on Ice Go ice skating in the heart of downtown Richmond. In addition to skating, there will be a Christmas tree lot with trees $25 – $35, hot chocolate, s’mores and holiday music and warm up near the pit fire and snack shack. The fun begins November 25-January 3.

Christmas Town Busch Gardens Experience Christmas traditions from around the world and keep warm with a mug of Busch Gardens’ signature hot chocolate. This year, Christmas Town is brighter than ever with more than eight million lights. Of course, no visit would be complete without a stop at the North Pole to see Santa’s workshop and meet the jolly old elf-himself. Unwrap the gift of Christmas Town starting Nov. 27 select days through Jan 3.

Animated Light Show Come out to Stony Point Fashion Park for an exciting Lights show beginning at the top and bottom of every hour beginning at 5:00 p.m. November 15 – January 3.

Dominion GardenFest of Lights Opens November 27. This holiday tradition features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. Visit often to fully experience Dominion GardenFest of Lights — the region’s ultimate holiday extravaganza!

Richmond Ballet The Nutcracker December 11- 23 This grand Richmond tradition returns with live music by Richmond Symphony, with 13 performances in the grand Carpenter Theatre. Make your holiday season complete and share the fun of the Mouse King, the Chinese Dragon, the Russian Bear, and much, much more!

This Wonderful Life at Virginia Rep November 27 – January 10. Scott Wichmann skillfully inhabits every role in this one-man stage adaptation of the iconic film It’s a Wonderful Life. The classic denizens of Bedford Falls come to life in this heartwarming, holiday tour de force.

Ice Skating at The Rink at West Broad Village RVA’s newest holiday entertainment option is open daily through Jan. 18, 2016. Enjoy ice skating, outdoor family activities, nearby restaurants, and more!

Victorian Holidays Beginning November 20 at Maymont and running through January 3. For seven weeks, Maymont is decked out for the holidays! Kids and adults alike will enjoy the beautiful decorations and delightful events that attract visitors from all over the country and the world. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the season!  Tour the mansion to see the beautiful trimmings on the Christmas tree, the opulent dining room set for a feast, evergreen decorations and lavish gifts welcome the season in grand Victorian style.

Honky Tonk Angels Holiday Spectacular Playing at the Swift Creek Mill Theatre through January 10, 2016.
This holiday sequel to the hugely popular show, The Honky Tonk Angels continues the comic escapades of three ‘good ole gals’ singing holiday tunes made famous by James Brown, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton to name just a few.

Glorious Christmas Nights There is something wrong with Santa! He is finding too much materialism and greed in the children’s christmas letters. The more he reads, the more disillusioned he becomes. When Santa refuses to make his Christmas Eve around-the-world flight, Mrs. Claus and his elf friends pull out all the stops in some zany attempts to rally Santa from his depression. Find out what happens in West End Assembly of God’s production of “Sincerely Yours”.

Free Carriage Rides in Carytown Free Carriage Rides available in Carytown on Saturdays from 12:00pm-5:00pm! Pick up is a Bills Cleaners and Wells Fargo.

Saturdays with Santa Santa will be greeting children in his window at Hirch Original Rugs on Saturdays from 12:00pm-3:00pm. Bring a new or gently used book to benefit the Children’s Home Society and get a free picture taken with Santa!

Quill Theatre Presents: Holiday Memories In the play, young Buddy has an eventful Christmas as Sook leads him and their dog Queenie on the kinds of adventures a child will always remember. Charming, hilarious, touchingly moving, this modern-day classic tale will warm the hearts of all your family, and deepen the meaning of beloved holiday rituals. December 3-26.

December 3

The Bizarre Bazaar We are excited to fill four buildings with over 400 exclusive exhibitors from all over the country at the Richmond Raceway Complex. Talented musicians play music in each of the buildings and there is a beautifully decorated Café that provides a pleasant place to grab a bite to eat or just rest your feet after some serious shopping. General Admission $9, kids 2-12 $1.50. Free parking.

December 4

Grand Illumination at the James Center Bring your family to James Center for a beautiful (free) family tradition. From 5:45 – 5:55 p.m., VCU’s Pep Band: The Peppas will get the crowd ready for the Illumination. At 5:59 p.m. Santa, Lite 98 and WRIC8 will count down the seconds to turn on the downtown office buildings lights AND James Center’s Great Tree & Reindeer! From 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., experience the magic of the holidays with two blocks of family entertainment. James Center is very excited to present Big Ray and the Kool Kats as the featured performance!

Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting A tradition that began in 1945 continues with the Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting. Evening highlights include a 7 pm performance by The Fifes and Drums of York Town at the Victory Monument, festive music at Riverwalk Landing, the procession of lights through the historic village, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Here Come the Holidays Drop off the kids at All Fired Up to create a wet clay ornament, paint a ceramic mug as a snowman AND enjoy a pizza dinner!

Handel’s Messiah Let The Richmond Symphony Chorus and The Richmond Symphony, conducted by Erin Freeman, surround you in the sounds of the season during Handel’s Messiah!

December 5

4th Annual Nutzy’s Rotary Funn Run “…a festive, family-friendly competition while fulfilling the club’s philanthropic mission to improve the lives of local children.” The run ends with the Dominion Christmas Parade.

Dominion Christmas Parade The parade will depart from the Science Museum on W. Broad Street and continue east to 7th Street. This beloved Richmond tradition attracts more than 100,000 spectators each year from everywhere in Virginia, with thousands more enjoying the live television broadcast.  Parade starts at 10:00am.

Let it Snow – Genworth Symphony Pops Hear the symphony play holiday favorites such as Carol of the Bells, Sleigh Ride and Frosty the Snowman during this much loved annual concert. Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage (Also presenting December 6).

December 11

Preschool Pottery: Wreath Handprint Plate Parents, come in with your preschool aged kids for a shared painting experience, as All Fired Up uses your child’s handprints to decorate a plate with a wreath. This class is geared towards kids 5 and under.

Candle Lit Walk and Caroling in Church Hill The candlelight stroll down our historic streets will be hosted by CHA on Friday evening. At 7 pm, Vespers begin at St. John’s Church at 2401 East Broad Street (all are welcome). Simultaneously the candlelight walk begins at Jefferson Park (Union Hill) at 7:15 pm with bagpipes and drummers leading the way. It proceeds to St. John’s Church where, following Vespers, the congregation joins in the walk at approximately 7:35 pm. As the crowd grows continuing down our streets lit by gaslights, neighborhood parties empty out into the streets and the crowd continues to swell. We gather on historic Libby Hill with the 180 degree View overlooking the James River and our city gloriously lit up for the holidays as the backdrop. The crowd then joins for holiday caroling and a visit from Santa.

December 12

Annual Church Hill Holiday Ball Good food, music, fellowship and holiday merriment always make this a memorable holiday event. This year we will “Party on the Hill” at the Masonic Lodge at 520 N 25th Street in Church Hill. The party will have live music and great food. Music by Stonebrook Moonshine. With a welcome drink. Cash bar throughout the evening. Holiday Attire. This is a holiday event open to everyone with a ticket.

Colonial Christmas at Berkeley Foundation Learn how the Harrison family celebrated Christmas during the 18th century with music, Christmas stories and decorations using fresh greenery and natural arrangements. Reservations are required.

Christmas on MacArthur Festivities begin with the Santa Parade down the 4000 block of MacArthur Avenue and include a visit from St. Nick who will hear kids’ Christmas wishes after the parade. We will also have three groups performing on the stage this year- The Soul Proprietors, Amy Henderson and Susie and the G-Tones as well as the All Saints school choir.
There will also be scores of vendors offering their handmade arts and crafts.

James River Parade of Lights Each year, boaters decorate their vessels and take to the river at dusk in a dazzling spectacle of lights.Spectators line the shorelines at several official viewing sites to take in the parade and other festive entertainment. The parade begins in Richmond, just below the fall line, and the boats cruise through Henrico and Chesterfield counties to the Varina-Enon Bridge.

Yorktown Toyland Parade Decorate a stroller, wagon, yourself, or even a pet and join in the 1:30 pm parade. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to greet the guests. The Fifes and Drums of York Town will lead the parade, and as an added treat, the Polar Express will be chugging along through Riverwalk Landing. All aboard! Riverwalk Landing.

Two on Tap Holiday Show Kick off your holidays with Two on Tap! Song-and-dance showstoppers Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano are back for a special holiday show! Straight from Broadway and London’s West End, this dynamic duo takes audiences back in time to an era when couples like Fred and Ginger and Mickey and Judy filled the silver screen with tight vocal harmony and intricate tap choreography. Featuring gorgeous costumes and your favorite holiday classics, this performance is perfect for all ages!

December 13

29th Annual Court End Christmas An annual holiday tradition! Ten historic sites in downtown Richmond, Virginia, open their doors for a day of free admission and holiday festivities. Carriage rides, carolers, living history, live music, children’s crafts, gift shops and more. A complimentary shuttle will circulate among all sites throughout the event.  Event is rain or shine.

December 15

Henerico Pops Chorus Join the Henrico Pops Chorus, under the direction of Bobbie Moore, for an evening of holiday fun and seasonal classics!

December 19

Holiday Lantern Tours at Meadow Farm Museum Candles are lit and the house at Meadow Farm is alive in anticipation of Christmas. The house is decorated from top to bottom for the holidays. Join the magical fun as costumed living historians lead groups through a candle-lit history of classic Christmas carols. Tours leave every 15 minutes from the Orientation Center.

Holiday Open House Taste the award winning wines, the gift shops, visit with special craft vendors and pick up some unique Holiday gifts at James River Cellars Winery. Stock up on wine, gifts and especially, holiday cheer!

December 20

Kids Holiday Workshops- Snowman Chip and Dip Drop off your kid ages 6 and up at All Fired Up to paint a snowman chip and dip while you do your holiday shopping, wrapping, or grab a coffee break!

December 26

Fruitcake Science During this fun, annual holiday event, the Science Museum of Virginia will conduct unconventional experiments on everyone’s least favorite holiday treat, the fruitcake! Watch in amazement as they burn, drop and freeze fruitcakes.

December 31

Noon Years Eve Bring in the Noon Year with the Science Museum of Virginia’s quirky twist to the annual ball drop! Build your own geodesic paper globes, check out unique liquid Nitrogen demonstrations, experiment with marshmallows and tackle Moov kits in our Challenge Lab. Kick off the New Year right with science on your side!

Wanna take a look at just the free stuff?

Free holiday themed christmas events in Richmond