5 Things for Families

Thursday’s the big day, guys! Once you and the family are done stuffing your faces, roll yourselves out on the town to experience the start of the holiday season in good ol’ RVA.

5Lights

1. Maymont Mansion Holiday Tours

Take a little trip back in time to the Gilded Age and see how the Major and Mrs. Dooley, the original owners of the Maymont estate, did Christmas. The 12-foot Christmas tree, the evergreen decorations, the opulent dining room set for a feast–it’s all just very grand and fancy. Keep in mind that due to the age and value of some of the items you’ll see on the tour, it might not be the best option if you’ve got grabby little ones in tow–but it’s great should you have any Downton Abbey or Jane Austen-loving teens.

  • Runs Tuesdays through Sundays until January 5th • 12:00 – 5:00 PM (guided tours every half hour; last tour beings at 4:30 PM)
  • Maymont Hampton Street Entrance, 1700 Hampton Street
  • $5 suggested donation

2. Dominion Gardenfest of Lights

I know people get all jazzed about the Grand Illumination, but this–THIS–is where it’s at, folks. The already-beautiful Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden gets decked out with half a million twinkling lights, along with hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, and more. This year’s theme is “A Natural Love Affair”, offering visitors a lighted walking journey through day and night and all four seasons.

  • November 29th through January 13th (closed December 24th and 25th) • 5:00 – 10:00 PM nightly
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue
  • $11 for adults; $10 for seniors; $7 for children ages 3-12; $6 for members

3. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Based on the classic poem by Clement Moore, this Christmas musical from Virginia Repertory Theatre is a great way to ring in the holiday season with the kiddos. And clocking in at just 55 minutes, it’s even great for the preschool set.

  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances November 29th through December 29th • showtimes vary; see website for details
  • The Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn (1601 Willow Lawn Drive)
  • $20

4. Movies & Mimosas: Miracle on 34th Street

Maureen O’Hara in all her tall, red-headed glory? A tiny and precocious Natalie Wood? That courtroom scene with all of the letters addressed to Santa? It kills me every time. It will kill you, too. In a good way, I mean.

  • Saturday, November 30th and Sunday, December 1st • 11:00 AM
  • Movieland, 1301 N. Boulevard
  • $5.50

5. Thomas & Friends

OK, it’s not actually holiday-themed, but this event is surely to make your kids lose their damn minds as well as any Santa-related hullabaloo. Meet Thomas, check out the model train displays, and take part in hands-on science and art activities. Thomas will also be available for photo opps, so get ready to Instagram the mess out of that guy.

  • Sunday, December 1st • 1:00 – 5:00 PM
  • The Community Idea Stations Studio, 23 Sesame Street (North Chesterfield)
  • Free!

Photo by: davidvega

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is managing editor of RVAFamily. When she’s not oversharing her parenting struggles and successes, you can find her raising a preschool-aged boy and watching 90s television shows.

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