5 Things

O come all ye in search of merriment to a weekend filled with Christmas the way it should be done–elegantly, nostalgically, and in a slightly nerdy fashion.

O come all ye in search of merriment to a weekend filled with Christmas the way it should be done–elegantly, nostalgically, and in a slightly nerdy fashion.

1. Maymont Mansion Holiday Tour

So there I was, minding my own business, when a friend of mine instant messaged me with, “YOU’VE GOT TO DO THE MAYMONT MANSION HOLIDAY TOUR.” I pointedly ignored her, hoping that she would leave it at that, but the barrage continued. “IT IS MAGICAL INSIDE AND SOOO BEAUTIFUL.” Despite my general disdain for anything cheerful, holiday-related, and historic1 and despite an unpleasant incident in said mansion on a Mother’s Day tour in 2010 when a local confessed she’d never heard of the Greek god Pan and didn’t seem the least bit ashamed, though I honored her with the most withering of all my withering glances–despite all of these things, I coolly requested more information from my enthusiastic friend. After all, the Dooleys knew how to entertain, and Christmas was one of their faves. And who can resist an urge to peek below-stairs at the real drama going on with the help?

  • Daily through Jan. 6, excludes Mondays • 12:00 – 4:30 PM
  • Maymont Park, 2201 Shields Lake Dr.
  • $5 suggested donation

2. Richmond Craft Mafia’s Handmade Holiday Craft Show

Do not be alarmed. The Richmond Craft Mafia is probably not an actual mafia. Judging from their site, it’s actually a charming collection of smiley indie crafters and designers who make things like yule log necklaces and baby onesies. You can’t get these at Short Pump. You can’t get these at Stony Point. And you can be sure that the special gift recipient in your life doesn’t already have these in his or her collection. Basically, handmade gifts are the best, even if you didn’t make them, so avoid terrible parking situations and generic presents and stop by the Handmade Holiday. Or your kneecaps might get broken, no big deal.

  • Sat. Dec. 8 • 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Art Works, 320 Hull St.
  • Free to attend!

3. James River Parade of Lights

Fun fact: a parade can involve boats. Now, listen. Don’t slam your laptop shut and walk off in a huff! These boats have lights on them! And the parade happens in the dark! Situate yourself along any of the James’s banks from Rockett’s to Henricus and you’ll get a twinkling, floating, cheering, god-rest-ye-merry-gentleman-ing eyefull that you’ll never forget. Get to Libby Hill by 4:30pm and enjoy all sorts of entertaining teasers.

  • Sat. Dec. 8 • 6:00 PM
  • Libby Hill Park, Intermediate Terminal Dock, and Henricus Park
  • Free!

4. Yuletides at Agecroft

It’s Christmas Through the Ages this week here in 5 Things Land! You’ve seen how the Victorians do it2, now get the holiday spirit as experienced in 1640, 1850, and 1942! Agecroft Hall, that carefully transplanted house of wonder, delights on even the most ordinary of days. But this Sunday is anything but ordinary. You’ll catapult along the garland of time, courtesy of professional storytellers, acrobats, confectioners, and famous English authors. View them all, bring your camera, and do your best to make the reenactors slip up by admitting they put iPads on their wishlists.

  • Sun. Dec. 9 • 12:30 – 5:00 PM
  • Agecroft Hall, 4305 Sulgrave Rd.
  • Free!

5. 26th Annual Court End Christmas

Oh ho! You thought I was finished with Christmas Through the Ages! Don’t go settling your brains for a long winter’s nap just yet, you’ve got some more festive learning to do. Bring your kids and your love of carriage rides to Court End for a veritable festival of holiday history. There are games, refreshments, and shuttles to cart you back and forth between museums like the Valentine History Center, the White House of the Confederacy, the State Capitol, and more.

  • Sun. Dec. 9 • 12:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Valentine Richmond History Center, see site for parking information
  • Free!

— ∮∮∮ —


  1. Unsupported fact. 
  2. With propriety! 

photo by Barbara L. Hanson

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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