December Events

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Recurring Holiday Events

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. November 8 – January 5th, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. More than 500,000 LED lights and displays transform the gardens into a winter wonderland, including a flowing stream of softly glowing lights, two-story animated fountain, and Gingerbread Village. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  • Ice and Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. nightly. November 15 – January 5, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission to village is $5. Skating is additional $8 plus $4 for rental.55×80’ Real Ice Rink, 20’ Walk thru Tree, 100’ RGB Lighted Tunnel, lit trees and winter displays, Fire Pits, Heated Igloos, Wreath Photo Op, Bling & Things Retail Shop, Slice & Ice- Pizza, donuts & more.
  • Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. November 22 – January 5. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around winter carnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car; 15 or more passengers, $50. This attraction is open Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. November 28 – January 5, including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Concerts and Conservatory (only) open extended hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December 6 pm – 8 pm.
  • Zoo Lights National Zoo, Washington, DC. 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. Parking is limited and is $25!; take Lyft, Metro, instead etc. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, winter treats, holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland! New in 2019: enjoy dozens of large, glowing animal lanterns and stroll through thousands of reflecting lights as part of the interactive art exhibit called “Entre Les Rangs.” Attractions for a fee include Panda virtual reality show on select nights, ZooTubes, Carousel and Train.
  • Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sundays Noon – 6 p.m. December 4 – 31. Union Station. Pay parking is available at the station or take metro (Union Station, red line). Washington, DC.  The model trains do not run on Christmas Day. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  • Gingerbread Village exhibit. Made from real gingerbread. It smells and looks delicious. Hyatt Hotel Reston lobby. Reston Town Center.
  • Millenium Stage Concerts at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC. 6 p.m. nightly. The holiday concerts are free but certain ones require tickets, which will be distributed beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Hall of States. Check the calendar for requirements. You can also watch them for free, live, online on the Kennedy Center website.
  • The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: The National Christmas tree will be lit on December 5. Nightly musical performances, December 5 – January 1. Weeknight performances are 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and weekend performances take place from 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The National Tree and state trees may be viewed until 11 p.m. There is also a Nativity scene and a roaring Yule log fire. Just adjacent is the National Menorah.
  • The Capitol Tree December 4 – 31. West Lawn, U.S. Capitol. Washington, DC. There is very little parking, but the Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.
  • City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. Fridays: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Saturdays: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Sundays: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. December 6 – 22. Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  • The Christmas Story in Art 90 minute tour, December 17, 19, 20, 23, 24 at 1 p.m. National Gallery of Art, West Building Lecture Hall.

Sunday, December 1. First Day of Advent.

  1. Museum Store Sunday, National Gallery of Art. 11 am – 6 p.m. Greeting card demonstrations and hands-on art activities for children.
  2. Winter Bird Walk 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. E.C. Lawrence Park, Chantilly. $6.
  3. Fairfax Ballet presents The Nutcracker. 2:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. Woodson High School, Fairfax. $15 – $30 (Also on Saturday, November 30).

Monday, December 2. Cyber Monday. Make a Gift Day.

  1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) movie screening with continental breakfast before. 9:30 a.m. Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. Reston.
  2. Church Street Holiday Stroll. Santa will arrive on his firetruck to the Freeman Store at 6:15. Tree lighting. 6 p.m – 8:30 p.m. Vienna.
  3. Millenium Stage free handbell concert featuring Christmas carols. 6 p.m. Kennedy Center

Tuesday, December 3, Giving Tuesday

  1. Holiday Extravaganza and 23rd Annual Norwegian Tree Lighting Ceremony. 6 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Union Station, Washington DC.
  2. Project Natale (energetic contemporary jazz) performance 6 pm – 8 pm U.S. Botanic Garden.

Wednesday, December 4, Cookie Day

  1. U.S. Capitol Tree Lighting, 5 p.m. West Lawn, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC
  2. Holiday Jazz by the Fire at the St. Regis Hotel. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Purchase a cocktail or hot cocoa and cookies for the kids and relax to the sounds of holiday jazz by Christopher Linman. 923 16th and K Streets, NW, Washington, DC.

Thursday, December 5

  1. National Christmas Tree lighting, 5 p.m. The Ellipse, Washington, DC.
  2. Best Christmas Pageant Ever comedy play 7:30 p.m. City of Fairfax Theatre Company. $10/$15.
  3. She and Him (Zooey Deschanel) Christmas concert. 8 p.m. The Anthem, Washington, DC. $46 – $76.
  4. Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes holiday concert. Barns of Wolf Trap, Vienna. $50

Friday, December 6, St. Nicholas Day

  1. Paint Christmas Ornaments (family program). 11 a.m. – 12 noon. Tysons-Pimmit Public Library.
  2. DIY Holiday Ornament Making (adults). 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.  Reston Public Library. Reston.
  3. URBN Holiday Market and Pop-up; tree lighting. Mosaic District. 3:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  4. Georgetown Glow opens at 5 p.m. and runs nightly for the month of December.
  5. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  6. North Pole Winter Wagon Ride with holiday lights and campfire. Register in advance for rides every 20 minutes starting at 6 p.m. Lake Fairfax, campground area. Reston $10
  7. One Starry Night in Bethlehem live nativity and interactive activities. 6 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. Ashburn Presbyterian Church. Ashburn. “Imagine walking through Bethlehem and smelling fresh baked bread, working in a wood shop, eating from the marketplace . . . then suddenly, shepherds appear to tell you the great news . . . a Savior has been born! You then meet Mary and Joseph and see the Baby Jesus with your own eyes!”
  8. Best Christmas Pageant Ever comedy play 7:30 p.m. City of Fairfax Theatre Company. $10/$15.
  9. Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes holiday concert. Barns of Wolf Trap, Vienna. $50

Saturday, December 7

  1. 74th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. 10 a.m. Center Street, Historic Downtown Manassas.
  2. Jingle on the Lake at Lake Anne Plaza. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Santa arrives at noon by boat! Muisc and more. Reston
  3. Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. $15.
  4. Make Holiday Cards 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Smithsonian National Postal Museum.
  5. 30th Annual Model Train Show 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fairfax Railroad Museum.
  6. 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade 11 a.m. King Street, Old Town Alexandria.
  7. Northern Virginia Ukulele Society Holiday Concert. 12 noon. Reston Town Center.
  8. Santa Fly In 12 p.m, – 4 p.m. Watch Santa fly into historic College Park Airport with some help from local aviators! Make holiday arts and crafts and enjoy holiday activities before having your picture taken with Santa. Santa arrives at approximately 12:30 pm. College Park Aviation Museum, MD $5.
  9. City of Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols. Noon – 6 p.m. Live holiday music, crafts, s’mores and hot cider at Old Town Square. Caroling and the lighting of the Christmas Tree at 5:30 p.m. Fairfax.
  10. Northern Virginia Ukulele Ensemble Concert 1 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  11. Capitol Hill Chorale presents Caroling in the Rotunda. 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. National Gallery of Art. Washington, DC.
  12. Taste of the Holidays with Chef Cal. 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.. Pohick Regional Library. Burke.
  13. Best Christmas Pageant Ever comedy play 7:30 p.m. City of Fairfax Theatre Company. $10/$15.
  14. Rick Landers holiday performance. 3 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  15. White Christmas screening. 3:30 p.m. National Museum of American History. Washington, DC
  16. Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long 4 p.m. Wolf Trap National Park – The Filene Center 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA. This annual musical celebration hosts a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. Bring a candle and join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.” There will also be a “Jing-A-Long” during the singing of “Jingle Bells,” so remember to bring a candle, a bell, and a new, unwrapped toy!
  17. One Starry Night in Bethlehem live nativity and interactive activities. 6 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. Ashburn Presbyterian Church. Ashburn. “Imagine walking through Bethlehem and smelling fresh baked bread, working in a wood shop, eating from the marketplace . . . then suddenly, shepherds appear to tell you the great news . . . a Savior has been born! You then meet Mary and Joseph and see the Baby Jesus with your own eyes!”
  18. Best Christmas Pageant Ever comedy play 7 p.m. City of Fairfax Theatre Company. $10/$15.
  19. Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, 7 p.m. Old Town Alexandria, VA (waterfront).
  20. CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators children’s play, 4 and older. Encore Stage. Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA. $12/$15.

Sunday, December 8, Second Day of Advent

  1. Herndon Holiday Arts and Crafts Show. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Herndon Community Center.
  2. Make Holiday Cards 10 am – 4 pm Smithsonian National Postal Museum
  3. 30th Annual Model Train Show 12 Noon – 4 p.m. Fairfax Railroad Museum.
  4. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 12 pm – 4 pm. Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  5. Lindsey Hirshfeld, guitar performance. 12 noon and 1 pm. Reston Town Center.
  6. Holiday Sparkle opening art reception. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Reston Art Gallery and Studios, Lake Anne Plaza.
  7. CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators children’s play, 4 and older. Encore Stage. Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA. $12/$15. 3 p.m.
  8. It’s a Wonderful Life film screening. 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. National Museum of American History. $10
  9. Frost Fest. 4 p.m – 7 p.m. Pentagon Row. Live music, ice skating and on-ice fireworks display. 1101 S. Joyce Street, Arlington, VA.

Monday, December 9. Christmas Card Day.

  1. Merry Tuba Christmas. 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millenium Stage (Free concert but you must have a ticket. Tickets will be distributed at 4:30 p.m. in the Hall of Nations. There is a maximum of 2 tickets per person).
  2. Jewelry Making. 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Reston Regional Library. Reston. Free but register in advance.
  3. Arlington Chorale “Happy Holidays” Concert. 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Westover Baptist Church, 1125 Patrick Henry Drive, Arlington.

Tuesday, December 10

  1. The Moscow Ballet – Great Russian Nutcracker. 7 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts. $29 – $130.
  2. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas concert. 8 p.m. The Theater at MGM National Harbor.

Wednesday, December 11

  1. Holiday Jazz by the Fire at the St. Regis Hotel. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Purchase a cocktail or hot cocoa and cookies for the kids and relax to the sounds of holiday jazz by Christopher Linman. 923 16th and K Streets, NW, Washington, DC.
  2. The Moscow Ballet – Great Russian Nutcracker. 7 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts. $29 – $130.
  3. Holiday Trivia at COPA Restaurant and Bar. 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ballston Quarter, Arlington.

Thursday, December 12. Poinsettia Day. Gingerbread House Day

  1. Book Discussion Group: Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Thomas Jefferson Library. Falls Church.
  2. Christmas Candlelight Tea. 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Historic Green Spring, Alexandria. $48.
  3. Tony Craddock Jr and Cold Front (smooth, saxophone jazz) 6 pm – 8 pm U.S. Botanic Garden
  4. Holiday Open House by the fireside. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Burke Center Library. Burke.
  5. Millenium Stage free performance: Washington National Opera Holidays with Young Artists who will perform a selection of holiday opera works. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
  6. Adult Craft Night: Light-up Holiday Cards. 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Martha Washington Library. Alexandria.

Friday, December 13. Hot Cocoa Day.

  1. Movie: Meet Me in St. Louis (great Christmas scene!) and coffee. 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Richard Byrd Library. Springfield.
  2. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  3. Millenium Stage free performance: Handel, Hamilton and Holiday Songs. 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
  4. CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators children’s play, 4 and older. Encore Stage. Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA. 7:30 p.m. $12/$15.
  5. Rock the Rink ice skating to rock music 8 pm – 10 pm Reston Town Center. Fee + rental.

Saturday, December 14. Gingerbread Decorating Day.

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday packages by standard post.

  1. National Wreaths Across America. All veterans cemeteries.
  2. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper (adults, teens, kids). 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Thomas Jefferson Library. Falls Church.
  3. Holiday Open House. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Reston Public Library. Reston.
  4. CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators children’s play, 4 and older. Encore Stage. Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA. 11 a.m. $12/$15.
  5. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 12 pm – 6 pm. Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  6. Lindsey Hirshfeld, guitar performance. 12 noon. Reston Town Center.
  7. Herndon Wintrmarkt. German-style Christmas market. 12 noon – 8 p.m. Town Hall Square. Town of Herndon.
  8. Caroling Wagon Ride and Campfire. 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. E.C. Lawrence Park, Chantilly. $8.
  9. Make Break DIY Christmas T-Shirt. 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Michael’s Pan Am Shopping Center, Fairfax. Call store for availability. Cost of supplies.
  10. Xaverian High School presents Caroling in the Rotunda, 1:30 and 2:30, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
  11. Holiday Desserts with Chef Cal. 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Chantilly Regional Library, Chantilly (reserve in advance online).
  12. Christmas Tea at the Harrisons. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Historic Huntley, Alexandria. $28
  13. CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators children’s play, 4 and older. Encore Stage. Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA. $12/$15. 3 p.m.
  14. Rick Landers, guitar perfomance. 3 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  15. Christmas Candlelight Tea. 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Historic Green Spring, Alexandria. $48.
  16. Yuletide by Candelight Old Town Alexandria Event – 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Your ticket provides you entry to four historic sites, with seasonal refreshments, music, decorations and activities at each site: Gadsby’s Tavern, Carlyle House, Apothecary Museum, Lee-Fendall House, $8/children and $30/adults.
  17. Millenium Stage free performance: Sweet Heaven Kings (gospel) Holiday concert. 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.

Sunday, December 15, Third Day of Advent

  1. Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker (encore recording of a previous live performance) 12:50 p.m. AMC Theater. Tysons Corner; also other movie theaters throughout the area. $18.
  2. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 12 pm – 4 pm. Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  3. Northern Virginia Ukulele Society Holiday Concert. 12 noon. Reston Town Center.
  4. Northern Virginia Ukulele Ensemble Concert 1 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  5. Calmus Vocal Ensemble presents Carols from around the World 3:30 p.m.West Building, West Garden Court, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
  6. DIY Bubbles and Bath Salts with essential oils. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Hambrock Holistic Healing Center. Herndon.
  7. CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators children’s play, 4 and older. Encore Stage. Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA. $12/$15. 3 p.m.
  8. Rick Landers holiday performance. 3 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  9. Christmas Candlelight Tea. 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Historic Green Spring, Alexandria. $48.
  10. A Very Mason Christmas. 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Historic Huntley, Alexandria. $10.

Monday, December 16

  1. Painting Poinsettias craft activity. 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Thomas Jefferson Library. Falls Church. Free, but register in advance.
  2. 3D Paper Snowflakes craft activity. (adults, kids 8 and older) 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. City of Fairfax Regional Library. Fairfax. Register in advance.
  3. A Holiday Affair: Flashback to the 40s Fundraiser for The Animal Welfare League of Arlington. 7 p.m – 9:30 p.m. Signature Theatre, Arlington. $75. Includes one complimentary drink, cash bar, vegetarian and vegan appetizers and desserts, a visit to the photo booth, 40s inspired entertainment, dancing, magician Chris Michael. 1940s fashion welcome.

Tuesday, December 17

  1. The Christmas Story in Art 90 minute tour, 1 p.m. National Gallery of Art, West Building Lecture Hall.
  2. 40 Thieves (Irish rock) concert 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. U.S. Botanic Garden. 40 Thieves have established themselves as one of the best-loved Irish bands in the Metro DC area. From the cozy confines of the DC area’s best Irish pubs to the wide-open stages of the festival circuit, this rocking ensemble has wowed the crowds by wedding old fashioned and newfangled Irish music with straight ahead rock and roll.
  3. Messiah Sing-a-Long with the Reston Chorale. 7 p.m. Chapel of St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Reston, VA $15.

Wednesday, December 18. Bake Cookies Day.

  1. Holiday Jazz by the Fire at the St. Regis Hotel. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Purchase a cocktail or hot cocoa and cookies for the kids and relax to the sounds of holiday jazz by Christopher Linman. 923 16th and K Streets, NW, Washington, DC.
  2. Christmas Caroling Concert in the Willard Hotel Lobby. 5:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Washington, DC.
  3. Holiday Trivia at COPA Restaurant and Bar. 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ballston Quarter, Arlington.

Thursday, December 19

  1. The Christmas Story in Art 90 minute tour, 1 p.m. National Gallery of Art, West Building Lecture Hall.
  2. Thursday, Dec. 19: Lox and Vodka (klezmer and Jewish folk music) 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. U.S. Botanic Garden. Lox & Vodka performs rousing klezmer, Jewish, and spiritually enriching music that spans the ages. Join them as they sing in different languages, dance, and enjoy the warmth of the holiday together.

Friday, December 20. Go Caroling Day. Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday greeting cards.

  1. Holiday Trains and Planes 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The National Capital Trackers return with their constantly moving display of model trains. College Park Aviation Museum, MD. $5
  2. The Christmas Story in Art 90 minute tour, 1 p.m. National Gallery of Art, West Building Lecture Hall.
  3. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  4. Rock the Rink ice skating to rock music 8 pm – 10 pm Reston Town Center fee + rental

Saturday, December 21

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing Priority Mail packages.

  1. Holiday Trains and Planes 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The National Capital Trackers return with their constantly moving display of model trains. College Park Aviation Museum, MD. $5
  2. Northern Virginia Ukulele Society Holiday Concert. 12 noon. Reston Town Center.
  3. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 12 pm – 6 pm. Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  4. Rick Landers holiday performance. 3 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  5. Winter Solstice Concert. 3:30 p.m. World music group East of the River presents Solstice: Darkness Is Your Candle, National Gallery of Art, West Building, West Garden Court.
  6. Fairfax Symphony and Fairfax Ballet present The Nutcracker. 4 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts. $39 – $89.
  7. Millenium Stage free performance: Holiday Go-Go (funk+blues+hip hop) concert. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
  8. Inca Latin Kitchen Ugly Holiday Sweater Party with D.J., appetizers and shooters. 9 p.m. – Midnight, 2670 Avenir Place, Vienna.

Sunday, December 22, Fourth Day of Advent. First Day of Winter. Winter Solstice.

  1. Holiday Trains and Planes 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The National Capital Trackers return with their constantly moving display of model trains. College Park Aviation Museum, MD. $5
  2. City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. 12 pm – 4 pm. Shop at the market of craft vendors, enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more. Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. 10145 North Street, Fairfax.
  3. Inscape Chamber Orchestra With the DC Youth Orchestra presents Beethoven’s Second Symphony. 3:30 p.m National Gallery of Art, West Building, West Garden Court. Washington, DC.
  4. Fairfax Symphony and Fairfax Ballet present The Nutcracker. 4 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts. $39 – $89.

Monday, December 23. Festivus.

  1. The Christmas Story in Art 90-minute tour, 1 p.m. National Gallery of Art, West Building Lecture Hall.
  2. White Christmas movie screening. 3:30 p.m. Warner Theater, American History Museum. Washington, DC $10.
  3. Free Messiah Sing-a-Long and concert. Tickets (maximum 2 per person) will be distributed at 4:30 p.m. at the Hall of States, but this event is so popular, perhaps lines will begin earlier. 6 p.m. Kennedy Center. Washington, DC.
  4. Holiday Karaoke. 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Chantilly Regional Library. Chantilly.
  5. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  6. Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Model Train Display. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  7. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  8. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  9. Zoo Lights National Zoo, Washington, DC. Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays.
  10. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  11. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Tuesday, December 24, Christmas Eve. National Eggnog Day.

Cool Yule Tip: While Zoolights is not on tonight, you can visit the National Zoo today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to wish the animals a Merry Christmas. There is an old legend that animals can talk and understand each other at Midnight on Christmas Eve. Al Smithsonian Museums, the National Gallery of Art and the U.S. Botanic Garden are open to visitors today.

  1. A Family Christmas at the Kennedy Center with the Choral Arts Society of Washington. 11 a.m. – Noon. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC. $20 – $45.
  2. Free Millenium Stage concert: The Beltway Brass plays holiday favorites at noon (note time change) 12 p.m. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
  3. The Christmas Story in Art 90-minute tour, 1 p.m. National Gallery of Art, West Building Lecture Hall.
  4. Songs of the Season. Choral Arts Society of Washington. 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Kennedy Center. Washington, DC. $15 – $72.
  5. It’s A Wonderful Life movie screening. 3:15 p.m. Warner Theater, American History Museum, Washington, DC.
  6. Changamire (jazz vocalist) performance 6 pm – 8 pm. The U.S. Botanic Garden.
  7. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  8. Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Model Train Display. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  9. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  10. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  11. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  12. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Wednesday, December 25, Merry Christmas! It is also Pumpkin Pie Day.

Cool Yule tip: National museums are closed today but Mount Vernon (not recommended by Cool Yule for Christmas Day touring due to crowds and dearth of parking spaces) and the U.S. Botanic Garden (recommended) are open at 10 a.m. Little Women, Cats, the latest Star Wars movie and the animated Spies Like Us are playing in movie theaters – buy tickets for these movies in advance, when possible.

  1. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  2. Christmas Day Brunch, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Ritz Carlton, Tysons Corner Galleria. $120, plus tax and gratuity.
  3. Holy Eucharist at Washington National Cathedral. 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Doors open at 10: 15 a.m. This service features incense, which may bother some people who are sensitive to it. The Cathedral bells will ring out after the service. Passes are not required to attend the service but an admission fee of $12 ($8 seniors and teachers) to enter the Cathedral will be charged. There is no touring on Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve). Parking on the grounds and below the Cathedral is free.
  4. Christmas Day Organ Recital at Washington National Cathedral. 1:30 p.m. $10
  5. Holiday Jazz by the Fire at the St. Regis Hotel. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Purchase a cocktail or hot cocoa and cookies for the kids and relax to the sounds of holiday jazz by Christopher Linman. 923 16th and K Streets, NW, Washington, DC.
  6. Millenium Stage: All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam concert. Tickets (maximum 2 per person) will be distributed in the Hall of States beginning at 4:30 p.m. and the music begins at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
  7. Dial 251 for Jazz concert. 6 pm – 8 pm. U.S. Botanic Garden.
  8. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  9. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  10. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  11. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Thursday, December 26. Thank You Note Day. Candy Cane Day.

  1. Millenium Stage: Encore Chorale holiday concert. 6 p.m. Free tickets (maximum 2 per person) will be distributed in the Hall of States beginning at 4:30 p.m. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
  2. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  3. Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Model Train Display. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  4. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  5. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  6. Zoo Lights National Zoo, Washington, DC. Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays.
  7. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  8. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Friday, December 27. Fruitcake Day. Make Cut-Out Snowflakes Day. Visit the Zoo Day.

  1. Holiday Light Spectacular, 45-minute program with light show and concert. 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Washington National Cathedral. $40
  2. Rock the Rink skating to rock music 8 pm – 10 pm Reston Town Center fee + rental
  3. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  4. Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Model Train Display. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  5. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  6. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  7. Zoo Lights National Zoo, Washington, DC. Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays.
  8. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  9. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Saturday, December 28.

  1. Holiday Light Spectacular, 45-minute program with light show and concert. 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Washington National Cathedral. $40
  2. Millenium Stage Performance: Boys and Girls Club Holiday Sing. 6 p.m. Tickets (max 2) distributed at 4:30 p.m. in the Hall of States. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
  3. Last Ham Standing Comedy Show and Improv. 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. Next Stop Theater Company, Herndon. $20.
  4. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  5. Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Model Train Display. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  6. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  7. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  8. Zoo Lights National Zoo, Washington, DC. Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays.
  9. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  10. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Sunday, December 29.

  1. #BESTLife New Year’s Resolution Workshop. 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Reston Public Library, Reston. Free. Facilitated by yours truly! Register here.
  2. Millenium Stage Performance: Comedian Joe Zimmerman. 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
  3. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  4. Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Model Train Display. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  5. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  6. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  7. Zoo Lights National Zoo, Washington, DC. Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays.
  8. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  9. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Monday, December 30.

Cool Yule tip: this is a great day to catch up on some events that will close tomorrow, such as the model train display at Union Station, The National Christmas Tree and Capitol Tree and Zoo Lights.

  1. Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  2. Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Model Train Display. Tip: look for the snow monster!
  3. Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around wintercarnival and Holiday Village with attractions, s’mores and Santa Claus. $20 – $25 per car
  4. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. $8 kids; $13 adults.
  5. Zoo Lights National Zoo, Washington, DC. Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays.
  6. The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  7. The Capitol Tree is on display. The Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.

Tuesday, December 31, New Year’s Eve. Champagne Day.

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the last day to register for the First Day Hike Contest sponsored by Virginia State Parks.

  1. Meadowlark Garden Winter Walk of Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. $8 – $13. Vienna.
  2. Bull Run Festival of Lights (drive-through) is open 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. $20 – $25/car. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville.
  3. Ice and Lights: Winter Village at Cameron Run is open 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. $5 for the village, plus $8 for optional skating and $4 skate rental. Alexandria.
  4. The Smithsonian Museums, National Gallery of Art and U.S. Botanic Garden (Seasons Greenings) are open today.
  5. Samovar (Russian folk music) performance 6 pm – 8 pm. U.S. Botanic Gardens – plus Seasons Greenings exhibit.
  6. New Year’s Eve Party 6:00 PM FREE
    Ring in the new year (and a new decade) at the Kennedy Center New Year’s Eve Party in the Grand Foyer. Performances by Brianna Thomas and Zach Cutler. Guests can also enjoy champagne bars (not free, ha ha) and a photo booth.
  7. 25th First Night Alexandria Festival. 6 p.m. – Midnight. King Street, Old Town Alexandria. $30 – $35. This event is alcohol free and family friendly. 100+ live music performers/bands, food, fireworks at midnight.
  8. New Year’s Eve Party. 6:30 p.m. Cocktails, dinner, band and party. Knights of Columbus, Arlington. $60 per person.
  9. The Legwarmers NYE Party (80s tribute band) Doors open at 7 pm. The State Theater, Falls Church. $50.
  10. 22nd Watch Night Street Festival. 7 p.m – Midnight. West Broad Street. Falls Church City. Free shuttle from East Falls Church Metro station runs every 20 minutes, beginning at 7 p.m. This event is alcohol free and family friendly. A variety of live music at multiple venues on the blocked off street and at other locations nearby. Karaoke, rock-climbing wall, moon bounces. Food and souvenirs are for sale. A star is lowered at midnight from a crane.
  11. Jammin’ Java All Ages Show: 80s Dance Party. 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Do you love the 80’s? If so, put on your best 80’s fashion, grab your dancing shoes, and let’s ring in 2020 with a fresh, totally rad 80’s dance party: The Cure, Prince, Madonna, MJ, Wham, Run DMC, The Go Go’s, Rob Base, Bananarama, Human League, INXS, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Poison, The Outfield – all of your 80’s favorites and many, many more!!! Prizes will be given out for totally gnarly 80’s outfits and “Name that Tune” winners. Champagne toast at midnight, drink specials….plus….NYE party favors and glowsticks for everyone. Vienna. $30 -$40.

Cool Yule Tip: The fun continues in January!