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Twelve ways to jump-start your xmas cheer


by Kate Vinnedge


It seems like just yesterday we were carving both pumpkins and turkeys - but that’s all in the past now, and it’s time to start tinseling your tree, pick out your gift wrappings, and string some lights! If the lack of winter weather is keeping your Christmas spirit in check however, we’ve got twelve ways you can make your heart grow three sizes for this holiday season!

1. RVA Illuminates at Kanawha Plaza

Rather than the traditional Grand Illumination that takes over downtown every December, this year, instead of the James Center, RVA Illuminates will be held at Kanawha Plaza. The event will start at 5:30 this evening, and the illumination itself will happen at 6:00 PM. Mayor Stoney will be turning on the lights, and festival goers can expect live music from No BS! Brass Band, as well as performances from Miles Jones Elementary School’s handbell choir and the City Dance Theatre.

2. Shockoe Illuminates

As a twin celebration to RVA Illuminates, Shockoe Illuminates will be held the evening from 5 to 9 PM at the 17th Street Market. Attendees can expect holiday vendors, a Christmas tree plot with real trees for sale, and music! Visitors can enjoy Shockoe Bottom happy hour at Havana ’59 and C’est le Vin, and even bring their drinks into the market!

3. Up On the Wooftop: Illumination Viewing Party and Beer Release

If you’d like to witness the Illumination of downtown, but would rather try out new beer than deal with the crowds, head on over to Dogtown Brewing Co this evening, for a rooftop view of RVA Illuminates! The price of admission includes one drink ticket, and goers can expect holiday treats!

4. The Christmas Parade

The good old tradition of turning Broad Street into a winter wonderland is back! This Saturday, the 7th of December, you can catch the annual Christmas Parade, starting at the Science Museum of Virginia, and heading all the way down to the Richmond Coliseum. Expect helium balloons, Legendary Santa, marching bands, dance troupes, and floats!

5. Handmade Holiday

This Saturday and Sunday, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will be hosting the 15th annual Handmade Holiday craft show put on by Richmond Craft Mafia! Attendees can expect over 60 of the city’s best crafters, artists, and makers, all in a heated tent, and inside the brewery’s main building!

6. Victorian Christmas at Maymont

Tomorrow, Saturday the 8th, you can experience Christmas in the style of that of Victorian England at Maymont! Take a carriage ride, marvel at the 12-foot-tall Christmas tree, visit St. Nick, listen to Victorian era Christmas tales, hear musical performances from local groups, and satisfy you sweet tooth with treats from Espresso A-Go-Go, and Carpe Donuts and Kitchenette!

7. The Bizarre Bazaar

All this weekend you can head over to the Richmond Raceway Complex to get your hands on goods, crafts, and much more from over 400 different vendors from all over the country! A tradition that has been going on for 44 (yeah, you read that right, 44!) years, goers can expect seasonal gifts, season gifts for gardens, gourmet foods and cookbooks, designer clothing, and much more!

8. The RVA Polar Express Experience

Make sure to purchase your gold ticket, and your child will be able to experience the Polar Express first hand! Head over to the Staples Mill train station at 6:00 pm tomorrow, Saturday, the 7th, for the train leaving the station at 7:13 sharp! Adults can attend the ride with their children, or let their children experience the magic of Christmas on their own. Please make sure you are ready to pick your child up at the end of the event.

9. Yuletides at Agecroft: Christmas Open House

Attendees to this free event on Sunday, December 8th can experience Christmas in three different eras: England 1640, London 1860, and Richmond 1942! Charles Dickens will be conducting a reading of his most famous A Christmas Carol, the Williamsburg Waites will bring the holiday spirit with a puppet show, and Sigorna Bella will be performing acrobatics! There will be a lot more going on, from events to craft experiences, and the event will be both inside and outside, so make sure to dress for the weather!

10. Sensitive Legendary Santa

In addition to the usual Legendary Santa at the Richmond Children’s Museum, Sensitive Santa can be visited this coming Monday, December 9th from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. This event is for families of children with sensory or special needs.

11. The Nutcracker

Head over to the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts on December 14th for the Richmond Ballet’s rendition of the beloved Christmas Classic! Tickets are on sale now!

12. A Christmas Story at the Byrd Theatre

Does A Christmas Story need an introduction? Enjoy this modern classic at the ever-popular Byrd Theatre in Carytown, on December 14th. Tickets are on sale now!


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