Updated for 2023

Every year, starting in late November, George Washington's Mount Vernon infuses a healthy dose of holiday spirit and hospitality into its normal programming, resulting in a magical few weeks of memory-making opportunities for those who know when and where to find it. Below is your guide to all the festivities available to visitors over the coming weeks.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight
November 24-25 and December 1-2; 8-9 & 17

Mount Vernon By Candlelight

This 45-minute candlelit tour of the historic area brings you face-to-face with costumed 18th-century Virginians who have a variety of stories to tell. Arrive early at the Ford Orientation Center and partake in light refreshments, enjoy the festive decorations, and even get a little shopping done at The Shops at Mount Vernon. Once the tour begins, you'll have the chance to interact with George Washington's family, friends, and hired and enslaved staff - who each offer unique perspectives on what the holiday season means to them. After the tour, you'll be invited into the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center lobby for some cookies, cider, and live music. Learn More

Holiday Fifing
November 28 - December 23 and January 2-5

Mount Vernon Fifers

During the American Revolution, General George Washington complained that the "Music of the army [was] in general very bad." On February 22, during the bitter Valley Forge winter of 1778, the musicians of Proctor's Artillery surprised Washington with music composed by fifers and drummers. He recognized the resilience of the musicians who would perform, without orders, in the subfreezing temperatures. Now, come and experience the serenade from local fifers this festive season. Witness a musical demonstration by the resident Fifer and a discussion featuring 18th-century holiday tunes! Learn more.


Christmas Illuminations
December 15 & 16

Mount Vernon Fireworks

This beloved family-friendly event is one of the most highly anticipated shows of the year at Mount Vernon. Festive lights, mansion tours, a holiday market complete with sutlers peddling their 18th-century crafts, a living history winter encampment, and amazing fireworks make this a truly remarkable experience for all who take it in. Learn More

Other Holiday Activities 

Aladdin the Camel
On-site through the holidays

Alladin the Camel Mount Vernon

Affectionately known as the "Christmas Camel," Aladdin visits Mount Vernon every holiday season. Why is there a camel at Mount Vernon, you ask? Well, in 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to the estate to entertain his guests. He's one of the most popular guests at the estate during the holiday season and is super friendly. The perfect selfie companion for those looking to post something a little different to their social media feeds. 


Make sure if you share pictures on your social media feed of choice, tag us with @VisitFairfax or #FXVA and we'd love to see what you're up to and maybe share your pictures with our audience as well. For more holiday planning ideas, check out where to find your Christmas Tree, find special locally-made gifts in our Made in Fairfax gift guide, grab tickets to an upcoming holiday concert or performance, and sleuth out where to find the man in red himself, Santa Claus