Holiday wreaths in Colonial Williamsburg

30 photos

Colonial Williamsburg was a success when it opened to the public in 1934. But when visitors continued to arrive into the fall and the Christmas holidays, town fathers were at a loss for attractions, so they placed live candles in the windows of all the restored buildings and paid staff members to baby sit them through the evenings so the buildings would not burn.

But as time passed, officials decided that a Christmas decorating contest would give residents of the town the incentive to put on a show for visitors. Today, the contest is more competitive – and creative – each year, with bragging rights and a cash prize on the line.

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