Lyn Lewis
Twitter: @LynLewisGWCVB
100 West 10th Street, Suite 20
Wilmington, DE 19801
P: 302-295-2212
F: 302-652-4726

Subject: Holiday Magic in Greater Wilmington, Delaware

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE...Experience the magic of the holidays in Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley.  From November to January, the region celebrates the season!  Discover magnificent du Pont mansions decorated for the holidays, fantastic outdoor lighting displays at Herr's Snack Factory and glorious indoor gardens.   Enjoy fine dining experiences and fabulous performances and don't miss Greater Wilmington's wonderful tax-free shopping opportunities.  Be here when Santa Clause arrives in a whirlybird at the American Helicopter Museum or take a ride with Santa aboard the Wilmington & Western Railroad, powered by one of the country's oldest steam locomotives.  Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway or a fun-filled outing with family and friends, Greater Wilmington is the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit.

Located midway between New York City and Washington, DC and less than thirty minutes south of Philadelphia Airport, Wilmington is readily accessible by car, train or air.  If you need help planning a visit call (800) 489-6664 or check

E.I. du Pont settled at Hagley Museum & Library in 1802 and began harnessing the power of the Brandywine Creek to produce high quality gunpowder, thus laying the foundation for the DuPont Company.  From December 7 to January 6 during Holidays at Hagley, Eleutherian Mills, the ancestral home of five generations of the du Pont family, is decorated with dried flowers, fruits, ribbons and fresh greenery and open for guided tours.  This year's celebration revives du Pont family traditions and highlights customs like the New Year's Day Calling and Twelfth Night.

Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library,  home of Henry Francis du Pont and his world-class collection of American decorative arts, is decorated for the holidays from November 23 through January 5.  Dazzling entertaining displays feature elaborate table settings, floral arrangements, toys and treats set amidst exquisite period furnishings to demonstrate how the du Pont family celebrated the season.  Be sure to allow enough time to browse in Winterthur's fabulous gift shop across from the mansion.

Beautiful throughout the year, Nemours Mansion & Gardens is spectacular during the holiday season.  Built at the beginning of the twentieth century in the style of a grand Louis XVI chateau and filled with incredible antiques, artwork, sculpture and tapestries, the lush yuletide decorations add a magical dimension to A. I. du Pont's 70-room mansion.  Nemours offers guided holiday tours from November 9 through December 31.  Reservations are a must.  

Christmas blooms at Longwood Gardens, Pierre Samuel du Pont's horticultural extravaganza, from November 28 through January 12.  Thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees and fragrant flowers transform the Conservatory and its four acres of gardens under glass.  Outside, more than 400,000 decorative LED lights glitter in the trees and colorful fountain displays set to music delight visitors.

Nationally acclaimed for its collection of artwork by three generations of the Wyeth family, the Brandywine River Museum is just minutes from Longwood Gardens.  A Brandywine Christmas
has become a beloved tradition best known for its magnificent trees decorated with "critter" ornaments handcrafted from natural materials and the O-gauge model train display with 5 trains running simultaneously over 2,000 feet of track.  Recent additions to this event which opens on November 29 and concludes on January 5 are a Victorian dollhouse decked out for the holiday season, a rare collection of antique dolls dressed in period clothing and two exhibits, one of gold jewelry created by Donald Pywell displayed in beautiful, lit shadowed boxes and the other featuring "The Imaginary Beasts of Royal Lacey Scoville".

The area is steeped in history as a visit to Historic New Castle or the Historic Houses of Odessa quickly attests.  Located a few minutes south of the city of Wilmington, Historic New Castle, Delaware's Williamsburg, hosts the Spirit of Christmas on December 14.  It's an exceptional opportunity to go inside many of the town's historic private homes and museums, all of which are decorated for a colonial Christmas complete with music, carolers, carriage rides, tree lighting and there's a chance to meet Santa Claus strolling down a cobblestone path.  Later in the evening, the Read House, Amstel House and the Old Dutch House will offer candlelight tours.  A little further south is the small, residential community of Odessa.  Throughout the year, the five properties operated by the Historic Odessa Foundation offer a unique and well-documented picture of 18th- and 19th-century lifestyles and architecture.  From November 13 through January 5, a whimsical note is added; the Historic Houses of Odessa are decorated with a storybook theme and this year's choice is a Madeleine Christmas.  For the 49th year, the entire town celebrates Christmas in Odessa on the first Saturday in December.  On December 7, the Historic Houses of Odessa and many private homes are dressed for the season and open for tours.  The day's festivities include a Christmas Craft & Antique Show, Tea in Old St. Paul's Church, caroling, bell ringing, an organ recital, a Fife & Drum performance and a wonderful fresh greens sale.

One of Wilmington's most unique yuletide traditions is the Sankta Lucia celebration on December 8 in Old Swedes Church which was built in 1798. This moving celebration combines two traditions-the pagan ritual of worshipping the Sun God at Midwinter and the Christian Christmas.  Lucia comes with candlelight in her hair on the darkest morning of the year.   Afterwards, guests are invited next door to experience A Swedish Christmas in the Hendrickson House Museum.

Shopping in Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley is a real treat-and it's also tax free!  You can shop in the Christiana Mall with anchor stores like Nordstrom's, Macy's and Apple, search for bargains at the Concord Mall or browse through an assortment of quaint boutiques and fine galleries in Trolley Square, Greenville, Centreville and Hockessin.  The area's museum shops are the perfect place to find unique gifts...and it's all tax-free!

Wonderful dining experiences await you in the Greater Wilmington Area and there is a restaurant or winery to please every palate. The choice of entertainment is equally broad with traveling Broadway productions, symphonies, concerts, live musical performances by traveling artists and special Christmas shows.  

Many area hotels offer special packages, so come for the day and stay for the night.  Get into the holiday spirit in Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley.  See for more details.

The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington.  Its mission is to serve as the community's customer-focused destination marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attraction, facilities, amenities and services for visitors.