RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While Dec. 21 marks the first day of winter, many people start celebrating the holiday season early with lights, ornament-covered trees and other fun festivities for everyone to enjoy.

8News has compiled a list of holiday events in the Richmond area for anyone to enjoy, whether it’s earlier or later in the season.

Richmond Ballet: The Nutcracker

  • Friday, Dec. 8 to Sunday, Dec. 24, times vary
  • Located at Dominion Energy Center for Performing Arts, 600 E. Grace St.
  • Tickets start at $25 and can be bought at the box office or here

Why have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head when you can go see it? The Richmond Ballet is running its 17th performance of The Nutcracker with live instrumental music performed by the Richmond Symphony.

Holiday Drag Brunch at New York Deli

  • Saturday, Dec. 9 at 12 p.m.
  • Located at New York Deli, 2920 W. Cary Street
  • Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

Enjoy brunch and holiday drag shows at the rooftop of New York Deli! Food orders will be taken from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., but the bar will stay open. So grab a drink — or two — and prepare for talented drag queens including Richmond native Sweet Pickles to ‘sleigh’ the rooftop at this joyful event.

Studio Two Three Winter Market

  • Saturday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Dec. 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Located at Studio Two Three, 109 W. 15th St.
  • Free to attend, fees for shopping

​Need a last-minute gift? Studio Two Three is hosting a winter market with art and trinkets handmade by local artists. Show support with a warm welcome to Studio Two Three in their new location in Manchester.

The Evergreen Holiday Pop-Up Bar

  • Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, to Jan. 6, 2024, at 4 p.m.
  • Located at 305 W. Broad St.
  • Reservations open Tuesday, Nov. 14

Is it Birdie’s, or a plane? No, it’s The Evergreen! Birdie’s — an oyster, coffee and wine bar on Broad Street — is transforming itself into the local-favorite holiday pop-up bar The Evergreen. A new festive cocktail menu will be available for guests to enjoy as garland, trees with oyster decor and ornaments of many sizes adorn the restaurant.

Swapmeet RVA’s Holiday Flea Market

  • Sunday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Located at 1500 E Main Street in Shockoe Bottom
  • $5 entry fee, which can be purchased here.

The market will be located at the historic train station downtown with music that will set the perfect holiday tone while attendees shop. The market will feature more than 70 vendors to sell trinkets and treasures such as handmade jewelry, vintage clothing and candles.

Santa’s Symphony Soirée

  • Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. through Thursday, Dec. 14
  • Located at in the rear building of Model Tobacco Lofts, 1100 Richmond Highway
  • Tickets start at $75 per night, and can be purchased here.

A three-day fundraising event for the Youth Orchestra Program hosted by the Richmond Symphony. The ensemble will play music in a grand holiday performance with festive food and cocktails served in themed glassware. The symphony encourages attendees to dress in your best holiday attire — including those tacky sweaters!

Altria Theater’s ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Musical

  • Tuesday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 17
  • Located at Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel Street
  • Tickets can be purchased here.

The Grinch is back to steal Christmas again, but in musical style! The Grinch musical will feature many songs including the classic ‘You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” and will be narrated by the Grinch’s faithful companion Max the Dog. Get tickets to see the Grinch for a performance that is sure to grow your heart three sizes big!

Carytown Artisan Market

  • Saturday. Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Free event

It’s the season of giving — gifts! Grab a hand-made present from more than 150 vendors at the Carytown Artisan Market in a two-day event. There will be craft beverages and treats to enjoy from a variety of food trucks, with music from local americana and bluegrass band Flat Branch. A ‘bluegrass jam’ will take place at Sunday’s market.

Women Who Drink Beer Holiday Cookie Exchange

  • Sunday, Dec. 17 at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Located at Benchtop Brewing, 434 Hull Street
  • Free event with registry for those bringing cookies here.

A cookie exchanging event exclusive to women and non-binary people who are over 21 years old. Those bringing cookies are encouraged to register what they will be bringing. This will be the Women Who Drink Beer’s second meet-up event, but with a holiday twist. Anyone who works in beer, likes beer and of course enjoys cookies is invited to connect and chat at this ‘sweet’ event.

Virginia House Holiday Open House

  • Sunday, Dec. 17 at 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Located at Virginia House, 4301 Sulgrave Road
  • Free event

A historic house owned and operated by Virginia Historical Society is decked in holiday decor for guests to walk around, explore and enjoy. According to Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Alexander Weddell and his wife Virginia combined their passions and resources to build the house in Richmond. If you have an interest in Virginia’s history or holiday decor, check out the Virginia House.

First Annual Santa Visit to Tredegar

  • Sunday, Dec. 17 at 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Located at Historic Tredegar, 500 Tredegar Street
  • Free event

Santa will visit Tredegar for the first time in a new annual tradition welcome to everyone. Kids can meet Santa in the lobby area and make crafts. The event will also offer hot cocoa and cider from The Sugar Cube mobile bar, and ‘merry mimosas’ from the Tredegar Society. Showings of A Charlie Brown Christmas will play all day at the Robins Theater.

Christmas with Elvis and the Long Live the King Orchestra

  • Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Located at The Tin Pan, 8982 Quioccasin Road
  • Tickets start at $42.50, and can be purchased here.

It will not be a ‘blue christmas’ when Matt Lewis takes the stage as Elvis Presley in a rendition of the Christmas with Elvis show. The performance will also feature Charlottesville’s band Big Ray and the Kool Kats to play as The Long Live the King Orchestra. There will be food and drinks to purchase as attendees enjoy live music and iconic costume changes in honor of Elvis Presley.

Bizarre Holiday Market

  • Saturday, Nov. 25 through Saturday, Dec. 23
  • Open every Tuesday through Sunday at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Located at Visual Arts Center of Richmond, 1812 W Main Street
  • Free event

The Bizarre Market is popping up at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond with a holiday pop-up shop featuring handmade goods and art made by visual arts. The market will be a great place to snag those one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays.

King’s Dominion Winterfest

  • Friday, Nov. 17 to Dec. 31, from 5 to 10 p.m.
  • Located at 16000 Theme Park Way in Doswell
  • Tickets start from $32.99 and can be bought here

King’s Dominion is serving a winter wonderland this year with shining lights and over 450 Christmas trees decorating the park. Guests can partake in festive activities such as ice skating, horse carriage rides, cookie decorating and crafts. Listen to live music as holiday characters roam throughout the park. Seasonal treats will also be available, including gingerbread and candy cane-flavored funnel cakes.

Passed Events

RVA Illuminates 2023

  • Friday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.
  • Located at Kanawha Plaza, East Canal Street
  • Free event

The 8News team lit up Richmond’s beautiful skyline once again this year, spreading our brightest holiday cheer on air on Friday, Dec. 1. Families attended the event to enjoy the festivities filled with food, musical performances and a special appearance from the Grinch. To see this year’s coverage of the event, go here.

Craft and Design’s Contemporary Craft Show

  • Friday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 19, times vary
  • Located on Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main St.
  • Tickets start at $10 and can be bought here

A contemporary craft show produced by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond with lots of art to view and purchase from over 150 artists from across the country. Awards will be presented for designated art mediums, design and craft materials.

Holiday Pet Photos at Quirk

  • Sunday, Nov. 19, times vary
  • Located at Quirk Hotel, 201 W. Broad St.
  • Registration ends Nov. 15
  • Tickets are $50 per photo session time slot, tickets sold here.

Don’t forget to send a photo of your furry friend in that family holiday card! Beloved Pet and Equine Photography are having holiday photo sessions for your pet as a benefit for FETCH a Cure! There will also be a scavenger hunt available for pets to sniff out prizes in-store.

A Shockoe Sessions Live! Christmas at the Hippodrome

  • Tuesday, Nov. 28, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Located at the Hippodrome Theater, 528 N. 2nd St.
  • Tickets range from $20 to $35, they can be bought here

Not everyone likes a Silent Night! Shockoe Records is hosting A Shockoe Sessions Live! Christmas party with rockin’ tunes given by local musicians. It’s an event catered to everyone who can handle loud decibel sounds. A portion of CD and Ticket sales will be donated to Feed More, and food donation boxes will be available at the event.

Merry Midtown Holiday Celebration at Libbie Mill

  • Friday, Nov. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Located at Libbie Mill East Boulevard
  • Free event, fees for shopping

Libbie Mill is hosting its final event of the year with a holiday celebration that includes free horse carriage rides, local vendors and treats from local RVA food trucks such as Latin Quarter and Grateful Grill.

Tredegar Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • Thursday, Nov. 30, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Located at the American Civil War Museum, 490 Tredegar Street
  • Free event

​With the sound of bells ringing, watch the first tree lighting hosted by The American Civil War Museum. A handbell performance will be given by The James River Ringers’ Handbell Choir.

Holiday Cheers at Richmond Makers Market

  • Saturday, Dec. 2, and Sunday, Dec. 3, from noon to 6 p.m.
  • Located at Basic Beer Co., 212 W. 6th St.
  • Free event, fees for shopping

Grab a beer and check out candles, clothing and art made by over 35 local businesses at the Richmond Makers Market. There will be food available from restaurants Billy Pie and Intergalactic Tacos. Dogs are welcome too!

Dinwiddie’s Grand Illumination

  • Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
  • Located at the Historic Dinwiddie Courthouse, 14101 Boydton Plank Road
  • Free event

Dinwiddie County is hosting its Grand Illumination event with a lot of fun activities for children to participate in such as a petting zoo, pictures with Santa and a scavenger hunt. The event will also feature a live nativity scene. Grab some hot chocolate before 6:30 p.m. when the tree will be lit up.

Hanover County’s Winter on the Green

  • Saturday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Located at Historic Hanover Courthouse Green, 7496 County Complex Road
  • Free event

Hanover County is hosting its new holiday event called Winter on the Green with a grand illumination event to kick it off. Afterwards, attendees can enjoy plenty of activities such as horse carriage rides, see Santa Claus, and browse the makers market featuring over 30 vendors.

Maymont Merry Market

  • Saturday, Dec. 9 at 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Located at Maymont, 1700 Hampton Street
  • Ticket prices vary and can be purchased here.

Enjoy lights and garland decorating the Carriage House Lawn of Maymont or grab some hot chocolate and look at hundreds of items to purchase for a good holiday gift this season. Live music will play from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. by the Richmond local Pay Rent Brass Band

Annual Boat Parade of Lights

  • Saturday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m.
  • Located at Richmond’s Intermediate Terminal, 3101 Wharf Street
  • Free event

Watch beautifully decorated boats light up the James River as they sail along the riverfront in a parade of colors.