Saturday & Sunday from 10am-5pm, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Garden has a Russian Winter Festival. Meet Grandfather Frost, Russia’s Santa Claus, and his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden in a fun family play, based on traditional Russian stories, produced by Flying V Theatre. Create and wear your own kokoshnik (lady’s headdress) or Russian gentleman’s winter hat to dress in the style of boyars (old Russian nobles). Join in the playful antics of strolling characters, presented by Happenstance Theater. Enjoy lively music performed by Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble and festive dances performed by Kalinka Dance Ensemble.
Miracle Theatre will be showing holiday movies all weekend long perfect for the entire family!
CityCenterDC will transform into an icy maze, surrounded by 7-foot-tall walls made of 110,000 pounds of clear ice. Visit Friday 4pm-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm and 4pm-9pm.
5:30pm-7:30pm: Holiday Caroling at the Willard InterContinental
Step into the lobby of the Willard InterContinental between December 1 and 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., to enjoy complimentary caroling performances. A time-honored tradition for over 18 years, The Willard’s holiday caroling program features a wide range of highly accomplished vocal and choral ensembles, and is regarded as one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Washington, D.C. Sip a seasonally inspired cocktail from the lobby’s pop-up bar while listening to a medley of classic holiday carols from popular groups including the Annandale Singers of Annandale High School.
8:30am: National Wreaths Across America Day
Each December on , our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,600 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
9:30am AND 11:00am: Virginia Ballet Company and School: Nutcracker at National Theatre
It’s a National Theatre holiday tradition: selections from Tchaikovsky’s iconic ballet performed by the Virginia Ballet Company and School. Dancing sugar plums and snowflakes abound, the gingerbread soldiers triumph over the evil Rat King, and Clara goes on her magical journey to the Land of Sweets.
10:00am-4:00pm: Smithsonian Winter Family Festival
Kick off this holiday season with a special Family Day at the Smithsonian Castle. The Smithsonian, in collaboration with Brightest Young Things, will offer special holiday-themed activities for visitors of all ages including: Holiday Story Time at 10:30am and 1pm. Create your own air plant seasonal ornaments. Customize a letter to Santa, or a holiday haiku with the help of poets from Ars Poetica. Take a photo at our special photo station with a holiday backdrop and props. Enjoy musical performances throughout the event with Chord of Appeals A Cappella and the Capitol Hill Chorale. Castle Tours: 11:30am and 1:30pm.
10:30am-11:15am: Saturday Song Circle at Imagination Stage
You and your child are invited to a fun, interactive musical experience! An Early Childhood Teaching Artist explores a popular children’s book with your family through song and musical instruments, and you will receive a list of all the songs to practice at home.
Students and families can meet representatives from all public and public charter schools in the District that serve PK3 – grade 12. With the launch of the public school lottery application on December 16, 2019 for the 2020-21 school year, EdFEST is a timely event to help students and families make informed choices. EdFEST will also feature many free services and fun activities for the whole family:Flu shots and immunizations for youth and adults; Free boxed lunches for children and youth up to age 18 (while supplies last); Recreational activities; Key educational information, including a section dedicated to “Special Education in the District”; Access to the city’s high quality PK community-based organizations; and WordGirl will be there with WETA TV!
4:00pm-7:00pm: Winter’s Eve at Glen Echo
Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration! It’s FREE, open to the public, and visitors of all ages will enjoy: Holiday Crafts, Hot Chocolate Bar, Open Artist Studios, Holiday Sing-Alongs, Storytime and more.
7:00pm: Getty Music Presents Keith & Kristyn Getty and Friends: SING! An Irish Christmas at The Kennedy Center
Come sing along with Keith and Kristyn and special guests for an evening that unites tradition and innovation in a vibrant celebration of the season!
8:00pm: A Candlelight Christmas at Strathmore
It’s not Christmas without The Washington Chorus! Featuring the National Capital Brass, over 130 singers, organ, sing-alongs, and the magnificent candlelight processional, A Candlelight Christmas includes popular songs such as The Dream Isaiah Saw, Hallelujah Chorus, and more holiday favorites to fall in love with! This concert is not presented by Strathmore.
10:00am: Mister G Concert at Temple Sinai
Hailed as “a bilingual rock star” by the Washington Post, Mister G tours internationally playing everywhere from Lollapalooza and Lincoln Center to climate change rallies on Capitol Hill. His spirited bilingual performances aim to help children see each other across borders and foster cross-cultural
connections. Bagels, fruit and coffee will be served. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online here or at the door. All proceeds benefit Temple Sinai Nursery School.
10:00am-12:00pm: Gift Making Workshop at Red Panda Art Studio
Join to create holiday gifts for loved ones. Each child creates a set of holiday cards to start, and then choses from different project options. Each child leaves the workshop with at least two gift-ready items custom designed and carefully wrapped! Workshop is designed for ages 2 to 8. Drop-off welcome for ages 3.5+.
10:30am-12:00pm: Make Room for Latkes
Chanukah is coming and with it, eight nights of family fun! Bring your family for hands-on Chanukah activities including crafts, cooking, singing, stories, latkes, mitzvah (good deed) projects and take-home goodies. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 2 and older. Tickets will be $18.00 per family at the door.
11:00am-11:45am: Sunday Funday at Imagination Stage
You and your child are invited to bring your favorite stories to life through dramatic play activities, music, movement, and visual art. Each session you leave with a special take-home item we used or created that day, as well as a Parent Pack to extend the experience at home. These popular workshops are themed around beloved children’s books.
12:00pm: A Children’s Christmas Story
Join a family-friendly, highly interactive telling of the Christmas story. Kids will have an opportunity to choose a role in the Nativity story, create a craft to take home, and even snap a photo with St. Margaret’s own (papier-mache) donkey, Clementine. St. Margaret’s is located at 1830 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009. Come as you are, all are welcome!
1:00pm AND 3:00pm: The Washington Chorus presents A Candlelight Christmas at The Kennedy Center
It’s not Christmas without The Washington Chorus! Featuring brass, organ, sing-alongs, and the magnificent candlelight processional. Playing through Dec. 22.
2:00pm AND 7:00pm: Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at Strathmore
This Christmas give your family the gift of Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! Step into a simpler time filled with sweet dreams and Christmas magic. With world-class artists, dazzling costumes, stunning sets, towering puppets, and soaring birds, don’t miss your chance to ring in the holidays with this acclaimed Christmas extravaganza. Described as the holiday season’s “Hot Ticket!” by The New York Times, celebrate this cherished tradition and relive the dream with Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. This concert is not presented by Strathmore. Also on stage on 12/16.
3:30pm: Christmas at the Cathedral at The Washington National Cathedral
Join Washington National Cathedral for a mix of mystery and celebration of the Christmas season. Experience Benjamin Britten’s sublime “Ceremony of Carols” and alongside medieval and modern Christmas favorites. Join in as they raise the roof with rousing Christmas congregational favorites with the help of the Cathedral’s grand organ and the incomparable Washington Symphonic Brass. If you’re not in the holiday spirit yet, you will be after this concert!
A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre: Through Dec. 31
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic. Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace returns to play Ebenezer Scrooge. This annual production has been a Washington tradition for more than 35 years. Length: 2 hours with one intermission. Recommended for ages 5 and older.
Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker at Warner Theatre: Through Dec. 29
Set to Tchaikovsky’s magical score, this celebrated classic comes to life with intricate, stunning set designs, original period costumes and over 100 dancers including students and trainees from The Washington School of Ballet. It has become the signature Nutcracker of the nation’s capital. With over 40 scheduled performances, The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker will transport audiences of all ages into a winter wonderland that has become a lasting holiday tradition not to be missed. This year they will also celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Washington School of Ballet.
The Nutcracker on Strings at The Puppet Co. at Glen Echo: Through Dec. 29
The Snow Queen at Synetic Theater: Through Dec. 29
Just in time for the holidays, Synetic presents a whimsical, family-friendly adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fairy tale, Snow Queen. Join Gerda, a little girl with gumption, a magic mirror, and a quest to save her best friend, as she sets out on a life-changing journey that takes her over mountains and across distant lands to the Snow Kingdom. Synetic Theater’s striking visuals and embodied storytelling turn this chilling tale into a heartwarming adventure.
CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators at Encore Stage & Studio: FINAL WEEKEND
Santa Claus is missing! During the last rehearsal for the annual Christmas Show, the action comes to a screeching halt when the cast discovers that the Santa Claus statue has been stolen! Mrs. Dickens calls in the Clue Club — a group of ambitious and eccentric students who take mystery and detection into the realm of science. Full of more surprises than a fruitcake, the Clue Club finds they have successfully fulfilled their duty as “Christmas Scene Investigators” when they discover the true meaning of Christmas. Recommended for ages 4 and older.
Frosty the Snowman at The Performing Arts Factory: Dec. 7 – 28
An OVT favorite returns! Developed by the creative team at Other Voices Theatre, Frosty the Snowman is a heartwarming original musical that tells the story of the magic hat that brings Frosty to life and also has the magical ability to transform others who wear it. You can join Frosty and Jack Frost in helping their young friends. Perfect for the young ones and family alike.
The Christmas Revels: A French-Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice: FINAL WEEKEND
Magic is just around the corner in a rustic village in Europe! As the Winter days grow short, three wandering performers from far-off lands weave music, dance and stories from their cultures into an enchanting and dramatic tale of the Winter Solstice. But when the sun finally sets on the longest night — and darkness seems to stretch on without end — these “Celestial Fools” lead us on a journey into the heavens to reclaim the light and restore its warmth to the world. The cast of over 100, ages 9-90, invites you to join tradition bearers Karim Nagi, Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Mark Novak for this timeless fable. Sing along and dance through the aisles to eclectic instrumentals by Seth Kibel, Vladimir Fridman and Bob Abbott, with the glorious tones of the Washington Revels Brass. And as we prepare to call back the Sun, let’s light a candle, deck the hall, and revel in this exuberant blend of seasonal celebrations from around the world and across the centuries. Welcome Yule!
Zoo Lights: Through Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31)
Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights, powered by Pepco, a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland!
Light Yards: On display through Jan. 4.
The DC region’s premier outdoor public light art installation, returns for its fourth year at The Yards, with two must-see, worldwide traveling light installations, The Pool, by New York-based Jen Lewin Studio and Angels of Freedom, by Israel-based OGE Group. The Poolwill invite visitors to hop, skip, and jump across 106 interactive circular pads of light, roughly 3 feet in diameter and 2.5 inches tall. As multiple visitors play in The Pool, their movements will come together to create a giant canvas of shifting and fading colors in mesmerizing patterns.A beautiful and social sculptural installation, Angels of Freedom aims to reveal the inner beauties of everyone by visually turning visitors into real-life angels. Visitors will be invited to pose with five giant, neon-colored wings and white halos as a reminder that everybody counts and deserves love.
Holidays on the Harbor: Through Jan. 1
Holiday movies and fireworks takes place each Saturday through December. Be sure and warm up inside the Gaylord Resort, see the hanging tree and Christmas Village and then bundle up to check out ICE!. Get your tickets in advance.
Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens: Through Jan. 5
Bring the family to enjoy the magical Winter Walk of lights in Vienna, Virginia. The garden is transformed into a half-mile, animated walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights, and the Holiday Nature Walk – and look for new displays each year. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows, and sipping on hot beverages by the fire. (Available for purchase at Light Refreshments).
Bulls Run Festival of Lights: Through Jan. 5
Experience the Bull Run Festival of Lights, 2.5 miles illuminated by holiday light displays. Drive the festival route from the comfort of your car; turn out your headlights and just follow the magical glow. After viewing the lights, bring your family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments, and of course, photos with Santa Claus. The festival happens annually at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Virginia. Avoid crowds and go Mon-Thurs at a discounted rate.
Enchant Christmas: Through Dec. 29
Unwrap new traditions and make memories big and small as you wind your way through a luminescent land of beautiful arches, larger-than-life sculptures and decadent delights. Welcome to Enchant. Where magical memories are made. The Nats outfield will be transformed into a twinkling maze of stunning light displays, while the infield will house an ice-skating trail adorned with spectacularly lit archways. The concourse will transform into a Christmas Market stocked with more than 60 local food and artisan merchant vendors, and the PNC Diamond Club along with other premium areas will become VIP and private holiday party experiences.
Merriweather Symphony of Lights: Through Jan. 1
The Symphony of Lights has been a time-honored Howard County holiday tradition set in historic Merriweather Post Pavilion. Made up of more than 300,000 bulbs, this family-oriented spectacular is a dazzling display of larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations. With the addition of new lights and a refreshed course, your time through the twinkling, winding path will surely be a night to remember!
Seasons Greenings at The U.S. Botanic Gardens: Through Jan. 5
Explore botanic gardens from Hawaii to Maine in this year’s holiday show. The best times to visit are weekdays early in December or on select Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December when the Conservatory is open until 8 pm with live seasonal music. Aside from these extended holiday hours, the Conservatory is open every day of the year, from 10am-5pm, free of charge.
Christmas at Mount Vernon: Through Dec. 31
Christmas past meets Christmas present at George Washington’s estate. Just as the Washingtons celebrated the holiday with family and friends, visitors can start a new tradition of visiting Mount Vernon this holiday season.
Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park: Through Jan. 1
Bring a little twinkle to your holidays. Don’t miss this spectacular holiday drive-through event featuring more than 2.5 million twinkling lights! This year’s Festival features fun new displays.You won’t want to miss the giant, 54-foot LED musical tree!
Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park: Through Dec. 31 (closed on Dec. 25)
The wondrous themed display of lights at Seneca Creek State Park is a 3.5 mile drive through the enchanted setting taking you past more than 450 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that light up the night.
Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street Holiday Lights: Through Dec. 31
Check out this new month-long community event. The businesses along Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street and the 800 Block of Upshur Street will be decked out with holiday lights. As part of the fun, the local businesses will be competing for the chance to win one of seven different awards for their Holiday Lights displays, and will be organizing amazing holiday events, activities, and promotions throughout the month. Whether you’re a local resident or just visiting for a few days—stop by Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street Holiday Lights to explore, shop, and play this holiday season.
National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse: Through Jan. 1
The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is on December 5 and kicks off the holiday celebrations. You can view the lighting on TV on Dec. 9. Musical groups from Washington D.C. and across the country provide holiday entertainment to the countless visitors for a one of a kind holiday experience set against the backdrop of the National Christmas Tree. The tree is lit each day at 4:30pm and will stay up through Jan.1.
Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park: Dec.14, 20, 21, 22 & 23
Photos with Santa Claus from 6:30-8:30pm, Christmas arts & crafts room, live animal encounters, holiday photos with live animals, kid’s indoor play zone and more, bonfire & marshmallow roasting, thousands of outdoor holiday lights, nativity scene, animal petting & feeding, Christmas tree & wreath sales from local farms.
Georgetown Glow: Dec. 6 – Jan. 5
Experience the sparkle of the season at Georgetown GLOW, the region’s only curated exhibition of outdoor public light art installations. Set against the historic backdrop of DC’s oldest neighborhood, it’s a whole new way to shine.
Holly Trolley Fest at National Capital Trolley Museum: Dec. 14-15, & 21-22
Celebrate the season with toy trains and Santa aboard the streetcars from 12:30pm-4:30pm, and on December 28 & 29 without Santa. Also see the Winter Wonder Garden and Winter in Washington displays.
Win a pair of tickets to opening night on Tuesday, December 17th at 7:30pm. Enter by liking the post on Facebook and an extra entry if you share the post on Facebook. Winner will be announced on Sunday, December 15th.