In December, Main Streets across Virginia become the center of holiday festivities and the nexus of community gathering for celebration and shopping. The historic charm, decorative lights, and independent shops wistfully spark memories mixed with fresh, 21st century rejuvenation. It’s cool to ring in the old and new.
That charm is reminiscent of a scene in A Christmas Story, one of America’s favorite holiday films. While the parade and holiday crowds hum in the background, Ralph presses a wide-eyed gaze against the decorated Higbee’s department store window featuring the coveted Red Ryder BB gun. Scenes much like this kick off the first week after Thanksgiving in Virginia’s downtowns. Yuletide festivities activate the business districts with parades, tree lightings, and retail promotions.
Check out the ten most enchanting, magical Christmas towns, of which seven are Virginia Main Street Communities or DHCD Commercial District Affiliates. Virginia Tourism highlights many other holiday Main Street destinations, including Lexington, Staunton, and Woodstock, along with a list of holiday parades and tree lighting ceremonies.
Downtown Wytheville leads the Parade of Lights, a lighted parade with dignitaries, floats, marching bands, businesses and community groups, and, of course, Santa Claus. Taking advantage of a captured audience, local merchants offer hot chocolate and Christmas activities for families and Downtown Wytheville Inc. holds a decorated window contest with prizes.
Following a traditional parade, the Gloucester Main Street Association organizes the Gloucester Village Holiday Open House to entice visitors to jump start the holiday shopping season with drawings and refreshments, topped off with free horse drawn carriage rides, roasted marshmallows, and blacksmith demonstrations. The event wouldn’t be complete without photos with Santa, who makes a quick trip from Wytheville to thrill the kids.
Don’t stay home for the holidays, visit Virginia’s Main Streets!