Wreathed in Smiles

Colonial Williamsburg, December 2017


We had to laugh and smile when we saw these deer themed Christmas decorations along Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg yesterday.  The cheeky population of deer over-running the neighborhoods is a frustration shared by so many of us living around this area.



Herds of them rampage through the ravine behind our garden.   Drivers stay on their guard, knowing a deer could run out into the street at most any time, especially at dusk.  We find hoof prints and deer scat in the garden, a calling card for the  lonely doe or fawn who snuck in for a snack.



The floral designers at CW showed a mischievous sense of humor in their designs this year.  Beyond the staid circles of pine needles ornamented with apples or pomegranate, there were a few energetic and amusing creations that caught our attention.

We know that whoever created these deer themed pieces must live nearby and have their own deer tales to tell.



Ironically, more deer live in James City and York Counties now than in the Colonial era.  These beautiful animals were prized by the Native Americans who once claimed this rich region of coastal Virginia.  Every part of the deer was useful to them, and so the deer were freely hunted.  Colonists valued the deer as well for their meat and fur.

With no natural predators, the deer population in Virginia is held in check these days only by recreational hunters.   Although development continues to carve slices out of their habitat, the cunning deer have adapted to live quite well in our neighborhoods.


A troupe of costumed minstrels played and sang as they rode through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg in an ox drawn cart yesterday afternoon.


We rarely see deer wandering the streets of old Williamsburg, but we did see quite a few horses, and even a team of oxen yesterday.   There are always lots of dogs to admire, even one with this troupe of interpreters entertaining us yesterday.

Often, we’ll find small herds of sheep or even bulls grazing in the CW pastures.



The workshops of Colonial Williamsburg aim to keep the old everyday arts of artisanal manufacture alive.



Many of the wreathes serve double duty as advertisements, cleverly luring curious customers into the shops.

Someone asked me the other day, “Do they re-use the wreathes at CW year to year, or are there new designs each year?”



That is an interesting question.  While much stays the same in terms of style and materials, there is a fresh interpretation and presentation every year.  The wreathes are freshly made from scratch each November, and hung in time for the Grand Illumination, which boomed and thundered the holiday season into our community last Sunday evening.



We have thus far photographed only a fraction of this year’s offerings.  We started near Merchant’s Square and explored only as far as the Governor’s Palace.  We intend to return throughout December, and I will share the best of them with you, as we also enjoy the wreathes of Colonial Williamsburg  this month.


Woodland Gnome 2017

This deer themed ‘chandelier’ is hanging on a Colonial Williamsburg porch, near the deer themed wreathes. Male deer lose and re-grow their antlers each year. Discarded antlers are sometimes found on walks in the woods.

For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Cheeky



Will you join this year’s Holiday Wreath Challenge?


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

11 responses to “Wreathed in Smiles

  1. Pingback: WPC: Cheeky Monkey | Lillie-Put

  2. We have an insanely high deer population over here in Roanoke as well. We avoid the Blue Ridge Parkway at night, but they are still all over in neighborhoods and such. Those wreaths are quite creative! 🙂

    • I’m not surprised that you have similar issues with deer. They just reproduce so fast in the protected forests and national parks. We see huge herds of them along the Colonial Parkway, and there is absolutely no barrier to stop them wandering onto the roads and into our neighborhood. The wreaths really entertained us with their fresh spin on the traditional wreath! ❤

  3. Pingback: Cheeky: Cappuccino – What's (in) the picture?

  4. They really are beautiful and unique and enjoyed reading – also -look forward to what you capture from your next visit –
    oh and this was interesting:
    Ironically, more deer live in James City and York Counties now than in the Colonial era.
    – some would say we have too many here n VA
    and did you know that in the late 1990s I used to have little “deer horns” on my jag – they still sell them and I might get some more.

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