The holiday season between Thanksgiving and the New Year is a major attraction at Colonial Williamsburg. In celebration, many of the buildings are decorated with one or more wreaths. Each wreath is a masterpiece, far more elaborate than I recall seeing before. The wreaths are generally crafted from living materials which are dried and tied to a ring of evergreen or other materials. A variety of materials are used such as nuts, cinnamon sticks, pine cones, artichokes, apples and other fruits, flowers, and even mushrooms! Many of these wreaths also symbolize the building on which they are hung — search for the wreath from the cobbler’s shop, the tavern, or the weaver’s shop.
A curious way of decorating a brick building is seen in this next photo. A construction practice common until the early 1800s was to support the brick layers’ scaffolding by resting cross braces within the brick wall itself. When the scaffolding is removed, the spaces where the braces rested can be seen as pockets or holes in the wall. The placement of these brace pockets is rarely uniform. In this creative holiday decoration, alternating red and green apples have been placed in the brace pockets to produce a festive appearance.
Decorations often include more than just a wreath — entire doorways are adorned in many places.
In contrast, some decorations are quiet, understated presentations that acknowledge the holiday without lots of noise.