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W&L Celebrates the 2023 Holiday Season ’Tis the season for holiday events on campus and in the local community! Check out what’s happening and make your plans to ring in the holiday season.

Ginger_Colonnade_Horizontal_-800x533 W&L Celebrates the 2023 Holiday Season

The Washington and Lee University campus and greater Rockbridge area are abuzz preparing for an eventful holiday season. We’ve put together a holiday guide to ensure that everyone in the campus community can take advantage of the wide array of seasonal events between now and the start of the new year. Check back regularly for schedule updates!

November 17, 2022 – January 05, 2023

Natural Bridge State Park’s Festival of Trees
6477 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily

Explore the local community of Rockbridge County as representatives of businesses, organizations, schools and clubs decorate trees that represent themselves to the community.

Nov. 23

Annual Gobble Wobble 5K and Fun Run
Maury River Middle School Parking Lot
9:00 a.m.

The Lexington-Rockbridge Jaycees are excited to continue Lexington’s best Thanksgiving tradition with the 12th Annual Lexington Gobble Wobble 5K road race.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Jaycees will host both a 5K (walk or run) and Children’s Fun Run, making this a community event for the whole family. The community is invited to come out and enjoy the festivities, but don’t worry, you will still get home in time to put the turkey in the oven.

Visit the Gobble Wobble’s website for more details here.

127083805_4611584568911956_919647800547887506_n-800x533 W&L Celebrates the 2023 Holiday SeasonParticipants dress up and get their holiday spirit going at the annual Gobble Wobble

Nov. 24

Live Advent Wreath Making Workshop
Tantivy Lavender Farm
1350 Decatur Rd., Fairfield 
1:00 p.m

This workshop will guide you through making a beautiful advent wreath for the holiday season using live greenery and traditional herbs. Visit the farm’s online shop for tickets and information about group reservations.

Annual Lexington Candlelight Processional and Tree Lighting
Main Entrance of Oak Grove Cemetery on Main St.
5:15 p.m.

Join the community in the annual candlelight procession through the streets of Lexington! Lineup begins at 5:15 PM at the Main Street entrance to Oak Grove Cemetery, where candles and holiday songbooks will be distributed. At 5:30, Santa and Mrs. Claus will lead the Processional down Main Street in a horse-drawn carriage provided by the Lexington Carriage Company. Caroling will continue at Hopkins Green, where Lexington Presbyterian Church will serve hot cocoa and the community tree will be lit. The Rockbridge SPCA will display luminaries at Hopkins Green in honor or memory of pets and people. Family-friendly, free, and open to all!

Nov. 25-Dec. 3

Tantivy Lavender Farm Christmas Wreath Workshops
1350 Decatur Rd., Fairfield 
Saturday, Nov. 25, Friday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 3 at 1:00 p.m.

All materials are included; participants are welcome to bring their own greenery. Lavender hot chocolate, lavender cookies and hot apple cider will be served. Space is limited; sign up here.

Nov. 28

Rockbridge Youth Chorale Fall/Winter Concert
Grace Episcopal Church, Lexington
7:30 p.m.

Save 15% on Rockbridge Chorus Concert tickets by purchasing in advance.

Nov. 30

Holiday Dinner
The Marketplace, Washington and Lee
4:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Come celebrate the holidays with a traditional holiday dinner at W&L’s Marketplace. Find the menu here.

Dec. 1

Annual Lexington Christmas Parade
Main St., downtown Lexington
6:00 p.m.

View floats, hear school marching bands, see the Virginia Military Institute cadets march, and catch a glimpse of Santa and Mrs. Claus during this downtown Lexington holiday favorite! The streets of downtown Lexington will be closed for preparation beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 30.

Hannukah Shabbat
Hillel House, Washington and Lee
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

W&L Hillel’s celebration of Hannukah is open to the community. For more information, contact fgiraldopradodelewis@wlu.edu.

SOC120821_022-800x533 W&L Celebrates the 2023 Holiday SeasonMain Street is decked out for the holidays.

Dec. 2

Main Street Jingle Bell Run/Walk
Main St., downtown Lexington
10:00 a.m.

Run (or walk) the Jingle Bell 5K route through beautiful downtown Lexington. This event is open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Jogging strollers and well-behaved leashed dogs are welcome, and festive holiday costumes for people and pets are strongly encouraged. To find out more and register for the event, click here.

Christmas Angel Felting Workshop
Tantivy Lavender Farm
1350 Decatur Rd., Fairfield 
1:00 p.m

Spend two hours of making felted wool angels for your holiday decorations. This is a beginner class suitable for ages 10 and up. All materials and tools will be provided; participants are welcome to bring ribbons or accessories.

Rockbridge Chorus and Rockbridge Youth Chorale Holiday Concert
Lexington Presbyterian Church, Lexington
7:30 p.m.

Audience caroling will begin at 7:15 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance here.

Dec. 3 

ESOL Posada
Grace Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall
6:00 p.m.

Attendees are welcome to bring food to share. Come participate in holiday crafts and activities for children. Donations accepted at the event will benefit Programa SOL. For more information, visit esol.academic.wlu.edu.

Promise Committee Tree Lighting
Washington St., Washington and Lee
5:00 p.m.

In remembrance of the fatal car crash that occurred on Dec. 3, 2013, W&L’s Promise Committee and the Executive Committee invite the campus community to participate in a tree lighting ceremony held annually in memory of Kelsey Durkin ’14, the W&L student who was killed in the crash. Due to the construction and relocation of the sculpture honoring Kelsey on Washington Street, participants will gather for hot cocoa and cookies in front of Graham-Lees at 5:00 p.m.

Dec. 4-5

Washington and Lee University presents: Holiday Pops Concert
Wilson Concert Hall, 100 Glasgow Street
7:00 p.m.

This concert features ensemble groups from the W&L Department of Music performing pieces that celebrate the holiday season. The program will include individual group performances, massed ensemble pieces and a variety of student conductors. Get your tickets online here.

DSC_713264holidaypops-copy-800x533 W&L Celebrates the 2023 Holiday SeasonHoliday Pops Concert Photo by Chris Anderson ’20

Dec. 5

Christmas at the Jacksons
Jackson House Museum, downtown Lexington
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Visitors will step back in time and experience an 1858 Christmas while interacting with costumed interpreters. It’s a setting the Jackson family would have experienced while living in the home. Those who attend will also have an opportunity to sing Christmas carols, churn butter in the kitchen, and help our 1858 visitors pick the proper outfit for dinner. The last tour will be at 6:40 p.m.

Admission for the event is canned food for humans and/or pets to benefits the Rockbridge Area Relief Association Food Pantry.

Winter Wonderland
Washington and Lee University
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Grab the kids and bring them out to this year’s Winter Wonderland, a beloved tradition at W&L. Visit the Marketplace for a family-friendly dinner in Elrod Commons beginning at 4:30 p.m., then head over to Lee House at 6:00 p.m. to hear Washington and Lee’s a cappella ensemble JubiLee lead carols on the porch. If you saved room for dessert, delicious treats will be served at Winter Wonderland in Evans Hall from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Note: This event is only open to members of the W&L campus community.

Dec. 7 

Lighting of the Menorah
Hillel House, Washington and Lee
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

W&L’s Hillel invites the community to gather and light candles for Hannukah. For more information, contact fgiraldopradodelewis@wlu.edu.

Buena Vista Christmas Parade 
Downtown Buena Vista
7:00 p.m. 

The parade will be preceded by the community tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the town square.

Lessons and Carols
University Chapel, Washington and Lee 
8:00 p.m. 

Lessons and Carols is an annual tradition at W&L dating back over 80 years that has been on hiatus for the past three years. This candlelight service will return for the 2023 holiday season to weave together the narration of the Christmas story through music, readings and carols. No tickets are required but space is limited.

Dec. 8

Dickens Carolers 
Main St., downtown Lexington
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Downtown Lexington businesses will stay open late for your holiday shopping needs while Dickensian carolers roam the streets spreading holiday cheer.

Dec. 8 – 17

Luminary Nights at Natural Bridge State Park
6477 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Enjoy an after dark stroll along the illuminated Cedar Creek Trail and under the Natural Bridge. Luminary Nights will be held on December 8, 9, and 10 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and December 15, 16 and 17 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Carriage rides will be offered on Sunday nights only at $20 per rider, admission included. Find more information here.

Dec. 9

North Rockbridge Trail Day
Visit the event Facebook page to download a map.
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Discover local farms, businesses, and B&Bs on the North Rockbridge Trail from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can warm up with a beverage or standing by a fire pit as you meet the owners and discover their passion for creating inviting spaces to shop and learn in businesses located throughout the villages of Fairfield, Steeles Tavern, Vesuvius, Brownsburg, and Raphine.

Boxerwood Gifts of Nature Workshop
Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Make holiday ornaments from natural materials, edible art for birds or healthy winter treats for wildlife with fruits, nuts, seeds and suet. Participants are asked to contribute one type of wildlife food, like seeds, nuts, dried fruits, berries, or fresh cranberries. The workshop is free for Boxerwood member families and $10 for non-member families. RSVP at boxerwood.org or by calling 540-463-2697.

Dec. 10 

Visit with Santa at the Paxton House
100 Glen Maury Park Road, Buena Vista
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. 

Visitors to this free community event at the Paxton House, located in Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista, will have an opportunity to have hot chocolate and cookies during their visit with Santa Claus.

KRR_4934-800x533 W&L Celebrates the 2023 Holiday SeasonMembers of the W&L family ponder sweet selections at the annual Winter Wonderland sugarfest, one of the most popular events of the year.

Dec. 11

Lee House Holiday Open House
Lee House, Washington and Lee
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
RSVP to holidays@wlu.edu

Washington and Lee faculty and staff are invited to stop by Lee House for socializing and holiday treats. Chat with colleagues and be sure to check out President Dudley’s holiday decorations.

Student Midnight Breakfast
The Marketplace, Washington and Lee
9:45 p.m. – midnight

Students are invited to fuel up for exam week with a breakfast menu served by volunteer faculty and staff.

Note: The events above are only open to members of the W&L campus community.

Dec. 14-16

Live Nativity
Raphine Volunteer Fire Department
2129 Raphine Road, Raphine
Dec. 14, 15 and 16 at 7:00 p.m.

Marlbrook Baptist Church presents a live nativity with a dramatic reading of the Christmas story. Outdoor seating is available, or attendees can watch from their vehicles. No tickets are required. Hot apple ciders and cookies will be available free of charge. Readings will be held Dec. 14, 15 and 16 at 7:00 p.m. Check Facebook for information and updates.

 Dec. 15

Washington and Lee University Brunch
Evans Hall
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
RSVP to holidays@wlu.edu

W&L faculty and staff are invited to bring good cheer and a big appetite to this year’s university brunch.

Note: This event is only open to W&L faculty and staff.

Holiday Church Open House
Downtown Lexington
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Tour Lexington’s historic churches, many of which will offer refreshments and live music during the event.

Dec. 15-17

The Rockbridge Ballet Presents: The Night Before Christmas
Keller Theatre, Lenfest Center for the Arts, Washington and Lee
Performances at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, 2:00 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11

Tickets for this special holiday performance are available online at  https://www.rockbridgeballet.org/.

Dec. 19-22

Christmas Lights Ride with Lexington Carriage Company
Downtown Lexington
Carriages depart from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Enjoy the twinkling lights and beautiful decorations adorning Lexington during the holiday season via an evening ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Each ride will be approximately 25-30 minutes in length and will take passengers through downtown Lexington’s historic residential district. Tickets are available here.

Tell us more!

Check back in frequently for updates to this post, and send any festive events not listed to kgoodwin@wlu.edu. Happy holidays!

Hit the Road

One of the best things about W&L is its geographic location. One only needs to travel a short distance in any direction to find more holiday fun in the Shenandoah Valley. Check out some of the nearby holiday happenings this season!

Kriskindlmarkt at Clifton Forge School of the Arts
Nov. 17-18
518 Church Street, Clifton Forge

Discover the enchantment of an Appalachian mountain town’s take on a European advent market. The heart of this event is nestled within “The Mill,” a beautifully repurposed 100+ year-old lumber mill right behind the Clifton Forge School of the Arts. On Saturday at 6:00 pm, join the whole community at Clifton Forge’s Town Hall for the town’s annual tree lighting event. There will be a $5 cash admission fee for adults with free entry for children. RSVP and find more event details here.

Winter Wander
Nov. 17 – Jan. 6, 2024
Boar’s Head Resort, Charlottesville

Boar’s Head’s Winter Wander Trail of Lights returns for its third year! Tickets start at $20 for adults and $10 for youth ages 4-12 (children under 3 are free). Additional lights and enhancements have been added to this year’s event, and barbecue will be available for purchase. Money raised from ticket sales will be donated to regional charities. Visit the resort’s website for tickets and additional event details.

Explore Park’s Winter Walk of Light
Nov. 18 – Dec. 30
Explore Park, Roanoke

Brighten the dark winter nights and explore a dazzling world of more than 600,000 lights at Illuminights Winter Walk of Lights. Visitors will experience 100,000 new lights, new displays, trail enhancements and family activities. Purchase tickets here.

Poplar Forest Holiday Candlelight Tours
Nov. 30 – Dec. 15

Celebrate the advent of the Christmas season with Jeffersonian style at Poplar Forest. Explore the president’s cherished hideaway by candlelight on this hour-long holiday tour. The tour is followed by hot cider and cookies in the Museum Shop. Admission is $25 per person and reservations are required.

Dickens of a Christmas
Dec. 1, 8 and 15
Downtown Roanoke

Vendors, good food and lots of holiday cheer! Join Roanoke in its 40th celebration of Dickens of a Christmas downtown. Events on various nights will include the Christmas tree lighting, a parade downtown and the beloved pet costume contest. Learn more about the event here.

Holiday Lantern Tour
Dec. 15 – Dec. 23
Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton

Take an evening tour around the museum by lantern light for the holiday season. Purchase tickets in advance here.

Holiday Evening Tours at Monticello
Dec. 8-9, 15-18, 20-23, 26-30
Monticello, Charlottesville

This event offers the rare opportunity to experience Monticello after dark, decorated with the style of holiday greenery found during Jefferson’s era. Visit Monticello’s website for information about hours and ticket reservations.

Visit the National Christmas Tree 
Dec. 2 – Jan. 1, 2024
President’s Park, Washington, D.C.

The tree lighting ceremony will take place the evening of Nov. 30, but the National Christmas Tree site is free to visit and will be open to the public from Dec. 2, 2023 through Jan. 1, 2024. Hours are 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Click here for information and updates.