8News’ Ultimate Holiday Event List: Things to do in Central Virginia this season

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Christmas ornament

Christmas ornament

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The coronavirus has impacted much of this year, and the winter holiday season is no exception. While things may look a little different there are still plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit.

On Dec. 10, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued new COVID-19 restrictions that will be in place until January 31.

Our event list contains events that are in compliance with Northam’s new restrictions. Most of our events require tickets to limit the amount of people. Make sure you wear your mask and celebrate the holidays safely.

Nov. 13 to Jan. 3 — Illuminate Light Show

Enjoy the beauty of Christmas lights from the comfort of you car with this drive through display. The almost one million LED lights are synchronized to music you can tune into with your car radio.

5:30 to 10 p.m. nightly at Meadow Event Park on 13111 Dawn Blvd. in Doswell, Va. Tickets are $25 per car. Find more information and purchase tickets online here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Nov. 23 to Jan. 10 — Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights

Take a stroll through Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden illuminated with thousands of lights. New this year is an outdoor model train display wrapping around the Garden Keeper’s Cottage in the Children’s Garden. Tickets are $5-$18. Find more information and purchase tickets here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights
Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Image by Tom Hennessy)

Nov. 27 to Dec. 24 — Photos with Santa Claus at Stoney Point Fashion Park

Santa will be stopping down from the North Pole for photos. Stoney Point Fashion Park encourages guests to follow CDC guidelines and make a reservation online. For more details, including information about photo packages and hours, click here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Nov. 27 to Dec. 24 — Photos with Santa Claus at Southpark Mall

Santa will be visiting Southpark Mall near Macy’s for photos and to listen to your Christmas wishes. This will be a contactless event with families sitting six feet away to ensure social distancing.

Photos will be available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It will be closed on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7. You can make an online reservation here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Nov. 27 to Dec. 31 — Bright Nights at Canopy Adventure Park

Canopy Adventure Park in Midlothian has decorated their ropes course and ziplines with fun and festive lights for the holiday season.

Every Friday and Saturday reservations can be made to explore their easy or moderate courses. An evening up in the trees can be booked here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Nov. 30 to Jan. 6 — Gingerbread Design Competition

The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design will have entries for its Gingerbread Design Competition on display on the first floor. The museum is located at 2501 Monument Ave. You can find more information online here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 5 to Jan. 6 — Illumination on the lawn

Hermitage Richmond is inviting the community to participate in a new holiday tradition. The grounds at the senior living facility will be transformed into a winter wonderland display of holiday lights. The event is free.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 5 to 11 — Holiday Hustle virtual 5K

This virtual 5k is raising money for the Power Over Parkinson’s Foundation, which supports the use of exercise and wellness to reduce the symptoms or slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease. Registration is $10-$25. You can find more information and register online here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 5 to 27 — Taste of the Season

Enjoy a taste of the holidays at Kings Dominion’s outdoor holiday food event. It will feature 25 sweet and savory tastings, festive-themed areas, live shows and 16 popular rides throughout the park.

Reservations for the foodie event open on November 16 for season passholders. Single-day tickets will be available on November 18. You can find more information and reserve your ticket online here.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 5 to 25 — Sugar Shack Santa Mail Drop

Kids can drop letters off to Santa Clause at the Sugar Shack drive through building in North Chesterfield. Anyone who drops off a letter will get a free donut and guaranteed response from one of Santa’s elves. The response from Santa will include coupons for free stuff in January.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 7 to Dec. 20 — CIS Express Holiday Light Tour

Communities In Schools of Chesterfield have set up a unique holiday lights tour featuring decorated homes in Hampton Park. The CIS Express will save you time during a typically crowded tacky lights tour. The express includes 10 holiday-themed stops from the comfort of your own car. Register for this free holiday tour at bit.ly/2020CISEXPRESS 

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.



Dec. 11 to Dec. 27 — Tacky Lights Car Wash at Tommy’s Express

After a successful spooky car wash for Halloween, Tacky Lights is coming to Tommy’s Express in Richmond. Starting Friday, Dec. 11 you can enter the car wash decked out in lights and holiday décor. Organizers said they are transforming the car wash into a winter wonderland with over 50,000 lights, animations, music, and even a mailbox to send your Christmas wish list to Santa! The cost is $20 per car.

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 12th, 13th, 19th, and 20th — Virtual Tea with Santa

The Hilton in Downtown Richmond isn’t letting the pandemic cancel their famous tea with Santa! This year it will continue as a virtual experience for families.

Tea with Santa started over 84 years ago and is an event the hotel takes pride in hosting. The virtual tea will include storytelling and singalongs with Santa and his elf, and a special visit from the Snow Queen. Get your tickets now!

* This event is in compliance with Gov. Northam’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 18 to Dec. 23 — Holiday Teas and Santa Teas at The Jefferson Hotel

Holiday and Santa teas will be different this year at The Jefferson Hotel. Tea will be served daily throughout the month of December between 12 to 4 p.m. The cost is $40 per adult and $32 per child (ages 4-8), plus tax and gratuity. Reservations of tea in December all sold out.

Dec. 19 to Dec. 31 — Christmastide at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolutionary War Museum

Guests can experience 17th and 18th century holiday traditions at the Jamestown Settlement and at the American Revolutionary War Museum in Yorktown. There will be interpretive programs, demonstrations and music will all be included during this festive event. A ticket for both museums costs $27.50 for adults and $13.50 for ages 6-12. Prices are slightly lower for tickets to each individual location. Admission is free for residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg with proof of residency. More information is available here.

Dec. 21, 22, 23, 24 — Miracle of Christmas — Live at the Zoo

People will still be able to view the Richmond Metro Zoo’s annual live nativity pageant this year, just from the comfort of home. The free event will be shown on the Zoo’s Facebook page at 7:00 p.m. for four nights in a row. There are a number of baby goats and lambs at the zoo that will be included in the video. You can view the pageant here, www.facebook.com/metrorichmondzoo.

Dec. 22 to Dec. 24 — Ramsey Church 62nd Annual Living Nativity

Ramsey Church will still have their annual live nativity display this year but with a few changes in place. All spectators will be welcomed to view the scene during a drive through from 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. during the days leading up to Christmas. The nativity will include Mary and Joseph, an angel, the three wise men and two shepherds. The cast members will wear masks and practice social distancing.

Past Events

Nov. 12 to 15 InLight Richmond

1708 Gallery’s 13th annual InLight Richmond’s is a public exhibition of multimedia light-based artworks across the city. In response to COVID-19, this year’s theme is Safety and Accountability. For more information about specific locations click here. Free.

Nov. 27 to 29 — 43rd Annual Model Railroad Show

Explore seven different train displays, make a conductor hat and enjoy many other fun activities at this year’s show. Tickets are $13.50 to $15.50; you can purchase tickets and find more information online here.

Dec. 4 – RVA Illuminates

Light up the downtown skyline with 8News during a time-honored Richmond tradition. This year 8News will be providing live complete coverage of performances, uplifting stories and the official lighting starting at 5p.m. This is a virtual event. For more info, click here.

Dec. 10 — Walmart Holiday Drone Light Show

Walmart Holiday Drone Light Show is a new all magical experience bringing joy to the holiday season! The light show is coming to Kings Dominion on Thursday, Dec. 10. During this event, nearly 1,000  Intel drones will be launched into the night sky to create a unique light show.

Families can visit www.WalmartDroneShow.com starting on Mon., Nov. 23 to reserve free tickets to watch the show from the safety of their own car or a designated viewing area right next to their car.

Dec. 12 — Christmas at Henricus Historical Park

Henricus Historical Park’s Three Centuries of Virginia Christmas is taking place on Saturday, December 12 from 10 am-5 pm. “Explore what Christmas looked like, smelled like, and sounded like to Virginians throughout these centuries.” COVID-19 regulations must be followed. Cost: $9/adult, $7/children ages 3-12; Henricus Members: free

Canceled Events

Annual Tree Lighting and Music Midday events at The Jefferson Hotel

Movies on Brown’s Island’s screening of “Elf.”

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