Williamsburg Christmas Holiday Wreaths – A Photo Essay

Every Christmas season, along the restored area of Duke of Gloucester Street, all of the businesses and most of the private residences display custom made wreaths. All wreathes must be made from materials that would have been available to colonists in colonial times (early 1700s). That means that most wreathes are made from largely natural materials such as dried flowers, fruits, grasses, and other natural items (e.g., bone and feathers). They may include man-made items that are in keeping with Colonial times. These requirements, however, are not limitations.

Often, wreathes represent the business or product of a shop. This is similar to the signs many business used—the signs had images of the product or service because many people could not read lettered signs.

This is the current wreath for the milliner's shop.

This is the current wreath for the milliner’s shop.

These wreaths from a previous year adorn the front of the milliner's shop.

These wreaths from a previous year adorn the front of the milliner’s shop.

This simple wreath clearly identifies the tobacco shop.

This simple wreath clearly identifies the tobacco shop.

Using native plants and flowers can result in some very ornate, detailed designs.

This wreath may have hung on the jewelers business.

This wreath may have hung on the jewelers business.

The creative use of native materials is a constant theme throughout these wreaths.

Most wreaths used an assortment of dried grasses, flowers, and foliage.

Most wreaths used an assortment of dried grasses, flowers, and foliage.

The combination of the winter season and the fact that wreaths are displayed from Thanksgiving until the end of December, means that well preserved dried flowers and plants must be used.

This residential wreath incorporates the seed heads from pond lilies as well as pine cones.

This residential wreath incorporates the seed heads from pond lilies as well as pine cones.

Wreaths often involve a primary color theme, especially red.

Wreaths often involve a primary color theme, especially red.

This wreath uses both fruit and foliage to achieve its green theme.

This wreath uses both fruit and foliage to achieve its green theme.

Here, the featured pineapple is surrounded by apples highlighted with orange dried flowers and accented with cinnamon stick accents.

 Dried fruits are a common wreath material.


Dried fruits are a common wreath material.

The hunter theme here is carried by deer antlers and pheasant feathers accented by wild red berries.

The hunter theme here is carried by deer antlers and pheasant feathers accented by wild red berries.

This intricate assembly of pine cones, dried fruit includes pomegranates and purple flowers that complement the color of the door.

This intricate assembly of pine cones, dried fruit includes pomegranates and purple flowers that complement the color of the door.

The colorful arrangement of apples, flowers and red berries is nicely framed by an assotrment of green leaves and golden wheat.

The colorful arrangement of apples, flowers and red berries is nicely framed by an assortment of green leaves and golden wheat.

A very attractive arrangement of concentric rings of pine cones, dried flowers and dried fruit.

A very attractive arrangement of concentric rings of pine cones, dried flowers and dried fruit.

There is a small market in the restored area on Duke of Gloucester Street not far from the Powder Magazine that sells an assortment of dried flowers and fruits used in the traditional Williamsburg wreaths. Hanging on a shed in the back of the lot is an old, wilted wreath, perhaps from last Christmas, that used shells—both sea shells and a turtle shell.

Dried fruit as well as dried flowers and other natural items can be purchased on the street in Williamsburg.

Dried fruit as well as dried flowers and other natural items can be purchased on the street in Williamsburg.

Left over from a previous season, this wreath included shells, including a turtle shell.

Left over from a previous season, this wreath included shells, including a turtle shell.

The photos above were taken over several years, including some from this year.

©2014 Jeff Richmond

About Entry
Williamsburg Christmas Holiday Wreaths – A Photo Essay is a collection of photos taken over several years of the beautiful wreaths that decorate Colonial Williamsburg during the holiday season. Each wreath demonstrates the use of plants and other materials that were available in colonial times.

Content Entry
Williamsburg Christmas Holiday Wreaths – A Photo Essay offers a collection of photos holiday wreaths from Colonial Williamsburg.

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7 Responses to Williamsburg Christmas Holiday Wreaths – A Photo Essay

  1. Pingback: Renaissance Musings Table of Contents | Renaissance Musings

  2. gpcox says:

    How beautiful and unique they all are! This should inspire many to follow in suit with the idea. Also a great plan for entertaining children kept inside due to the weather.

    • merlinjr01 says:

      Have to be more crafty than I am, I could probably hang some mistletoe off of a deer’s antler–that would be about it. But yes. they are beautiful, and each is unique. Thanks for you thoughts.

  3. prior says:

    sooo awesome 🙂

    • merlinjr01 says:

      I admit I thought the wreaths were cool, but did not expect “awesome.” Thank you for the comment.

      • prior says:

        well it is kind of personal for me because I was missing some wreaths this year in the blog world – because you see, last December Andrea over it “igardendaily” featured a wreath a day for the entire month of December. I was hoping she would do it again this December, but she did not – and well, then when your post came up – it was not just one or two – but a bunch – and it was a small little gift – and I sent the link to Andrea too. have a nice day !

  4. merlinjr01 says:

    Thank you for that explanation. And thank you for sharing the link.
    You know, we blog, and I get likes and followers, and even comments, but notes like your make it meaningful. I really like the wreaths too and am happy to know this is a shared appreciation.

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