Christmas in Virginia is a special time. The trees go up, the cards go out and the excitement builds. From holiday parties to magical light displays, Virginia gets in the Christmas spirit…usually right after Halloween. (You can never be too prepared.) But even as the countdown to Christmas morning is underway, we thought it would be nice to take a step back and really think about some of the things we love most about Virginia at Christmas time. Turns out, there’s a lot to love.
1. “The warmest summer I ever spent was a winter in Virginia.” – Mark Twain
I’m just kidding. Mark Twain didn’t say that. He did say something similar, though. Only it was the opposite seasons and about San Francisco. But given the current weather we’re having here in the Old Dominion, I still feel that it’s a highly applicable quote, even if I made it up.
2. Or this could happen. You just never know.
That’s the beauty of Virginia. We might spend Christmas in flip-flops…or in fleece. But Christmas is all about surprises, isn’t it? And when it comes to surprise weather, Virginia always delivers.
3. We know how to decorate.
Virginia has some of the best light displays, private and professional, of ANY state.
4. We have the chance to see the holidays through the lens of history.
With so many historical homes open for holiday tours and festivities, we have a unique opportunity to experience Christmas the way our forefathers did. By candlelight and without central heating.
5. We have THE. BEST. FOOD. EVER.
Whether you celebrate with a Christmas ham from Smithfield, eat oyster stew on Christmas Eve or have green pepper jelly and cream cheese at your holiday parties, Virginia Christmases will never leave you hungry.
6. We have delicious wines to help us celebrate.
By “help us celebrate,” I mean “survive Christmas dinner with 37 of our closest relatives.” But no matter why you have it, you can’t deny that a tasty bottle of Virginia wine is the perfect accompaniment for any holiday gathering.
7. Wine or not, Christmas is always about family in Virginia.
Families come first here in Virginia. And even if you do need wine to survive the chaos, it’s still our families that make the season so special.
8. We know how to give back.
At the end of 2014, Wallethub, an online financial resource, released a list of the most generous states in the nation. I am proud to say that Virginia came in at #13. With charitable organizations all over the state – and more than enough opportunities to give – I am always gratified when I see an “angel tree” piled high with presents or a line of people waiting to give to the Salvation Army volunteers outside of the grocery store.
9. We have awesome ski resorts that make snow even when Mother Nature doesn’t.
Even when the weather isn’t cooperating, we can still hit the slopes for the holidays. That’s pretty cool, you have to admit.
10. The beaches in Virginia are always beautiful, even at Christmas.
If you want a beachy Christmas, you can have it. It may not be as warm as some places to the south, but it will never lack in beauty.
11. So many of our Christmas trees were grown by local tree farmers right here in Virginia.
Finding the perfect tree in Virginia is never difficult with so many beautiful, locally-sourced trees. If you’re especially adventurous, you can even cut your own at one of the countless tree farms around the state.
12. And we pretty much invented the Christmas Tree. Well, sort of.
One of the first Christmas trees in America was thanks to William and Mary’s Professor Charles Minnegerode, a German immigrant who introduced the tradition of decorating an evergreen inside the home in 1842. We’ve just taken it to new levels of amazing since then.
13. But most of all, we remember what’s really important.
There’s just no end to the beauty and magic of the holidays. But in Virginia, we don’t forget the important things. Things like the fact that, for whatever reason, some people have an empty seat at the table. It's things like this that remind us to stop and hold one another just a little closer this holiday season. After all, that's what Christmas is really all about.
What are the things that make Christmas in Virginia the best for you? We would love to hear your contributions in the comments below!