Category Archives: Events and Things to Do

A Cozy New Year’s Eve In

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It happens. You had planned to go out for New Year’s Eve…but the weather turned out to be too dreadful. Or you or someone in the family isn’t feeling well. Whatever the reason, you’re home this year for New Year’s Eve and it’s going to be a quiet evening. But you still want to celebrate! How to make the best of it?

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Register for free New Year’s Resolutions Workshop

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It’s almost time! Today and tomorrow are the final days to register for my free BEST LIFE New Year’s Resolution Workshop. The workshop is open to adults and takes place on Sunday, December 29 from 1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. at the Reston Public Library in Reston, Virginia. Free parking onsite.

The workshop includes

  • An introductory ice breaker about New Year’s resolutions to help us get to know each other.
  • A group discussion about New Year’s resolutions and how to make them stick.
  • Time and space to work on a take-home workbook designed to help you get in touch with your dreams and set goals that are personally meaningful for you.
  • A Vision Board station featuring crafts supplies, poster board, images of affirmations and quotes, special papers, stickers, markers and more.
  • A New Year’s selfie station with fun New Year’s Eve and resolutions props.
  • A group circle of positive affirmations for the New Year.
  • A closing meditation about positivity in the New Year.

Feel free to bring your own photos or inspirational cut-outs for your New Year’s collage or vision board! Please register by 5 p.m. on Friday so I can make enough materials for everyone at the workshop. See you then!

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

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Cool Yule Tip: free New Year’s Resolution Workshop registration open now.

Need some ideas for New Year’s Eve? Celebrate the last day of the year and the decade at one of these events happening in Northern Virginia.

Daytime Fun

  1. The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria is celebrating Olde Year’s Day with free hands-on, creative art activities for every member of the family 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Meet working artists in their studios and get inspired for 2020. Tickets for First Night Alexandria will be available for sale.
  2. 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.
  3. Outdoor ice skating is open at Reston Town Center.
  4. The Smithsonian Museums, National Gallery of Art and U.S. Botanic Garden (Seasons Greenings) are open today 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Light Displays

  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.

Free Concerts

  1. Samovar (Russian folk music) performance 6 pm – 8 pm. U.S. Botanic Gardens, Washington, DC.
  2. New Year’s Eve Party 6 p.m. FREE Ring in the new year (and a new decade) at the Kennedy Center New Year’s Eve Party/Millenium Stage Concert 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. Washington, DC (remember there is a free shuttle from Foggy Bottom Metro station; pay parking is also available on site).

Spiritual Gatherings

Burning Bowl 2019 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Participants will have time to reflect and meditate on what they wish to release, and then symbolically burn those limitations in the burning bowl. Next, they will envision the new year and write a letter to themselves that will be mailed back to each participant the following November. Unity of Fairfax, 2854 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA.

Family-Friendly Celebrations

  1. 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.
  2. 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 ring in 2020 with your 80’s favorite hits. Prizes for best 80’s outfits and “Name that Tune” contest. Champagne toast at midnight; NYE party favors and glowsticks for everyone. Vienna. $30 -$40.
  3. 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 community, volunteer-run 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.

Adult Celebrations and Parties

  1. New Year’s Eve Party. 6:30 p.m. Cocktails, dinner, band and party. Knights of Columbus, Arlington. $60 per person.
  2. The Legwarmers NYE Party (80s tribute band) Doors open at 7 pm. The State Theater, Falls Church. $50.
  3. New Year’s Eve Party with Collective Accord. 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Clyde’s Restaurant, 1700 Beauregard Street (Mark Center), Alexandria. Band plays hits from 80s, 90s and today. Meal specials and Midnight champagne toast. NO COVER!
  4. Prohibition-Themed New Year’s Eve at The Bungalow Lakehouse. 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. 46116 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling, VA. Meal specials, DJ, favors, New York City countdown, and complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
  5. New Year’s Eve Party at Passionfish, Reston (Reston Town Center) 10:30 p.m. -1:45 a.m. NO COVER  Party in the bar/lounge with DJ, special bar menu, photo booth and a balloon drop at midnight.

Merry Christmas! Fun things to do

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At last, Christmas Day is here! Merry Christmas!

Are you getting cabin fever? Would you like to get out of the house and do something fun today? Here are some ideas.

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. 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. 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. 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.
  • Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Gingerbread Village exhibit. Made from real gingerbread. It smells and looks delicious. Hyatt Hotel Reston lobby. Reston Town Center.
  • The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: The  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  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.

Also…

  1. Christmas Day Brunch, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Ritz Carlton, Tysons Corner Galleria. $120, plus tax and gratuity.
  2. 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.
  3. Christmas Day Organ Recital at Washington National Cathedral. 1:30 p.m. $10
  4. 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
  5. Luray Caverns and Mount Vernon are open today.
  6. Denny’s, some McDonald’s and some IHOP restaurants are open today. The Chart House, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Morton’s and some Legal Seafoods are open today.

More ideas…

  • Take a walk around Reston Town Center and check out the gingerbread village in the Hyatt Hotel lobby.
  • Take a walk around Old Town Alexandria and window-shop. The decorations are beautiful.
  • Bundle up everyone in the car and take a tour of neighborhoods with the best Christmas light displays. My old neighborhood of Falls Church is a safe bet; the neighborhoods in the town of Vienna also have great lights and decorations.
  • The Unity Club in Falls Church is having a Christmas potluck lunch at noon that is welcome to all, especially those in recovery. You can sign up in advance to bring a dish. There are 12 step meetings scheduled on Christmas, as well.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas full of love, joy, beauty and wonder. Thank you for joining me here on Cool Yule. Please return for daily posts through the New Year’s and the Christmas season until January 6.

Happy Ugly Christmas Sweater Day! Here’s your weekend of events

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As we coast toward Christmas Day, the holiday events just keep on happening! Here are some ideas of fun things to do this weekend that will keep you in the Christmas spirit and out of the malls!

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

  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday greeting cards.
  • Holiday Market, Old Town Fairfax. Also the 21st and 22nd.

Saturday, December 21

  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing Priority Mail packages.
  • Northern Virginia Ukulele Society Holiday Concert. 12 noon. Reston Town Center.
  • Rick Landers holiday performance. 3 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  • Fairfax Symphony and Fairfax Ballet present The Nutcracker. 4 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts. $39 – $89.

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

And don’t forget these ongoing events…

  • National Cathedral Creche Exhibit, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. through January 12.
  • Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC
  • 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, and a new garden scene light sculpture.
  • Norwegian Giant Model Train exhibit. Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sundays Noon – 6 p.m. until December 31. Union Station. Washington, DC
  • Gingerbread Village exhibit. 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 tend to be crowded. You can also watch them for free, live, online on the Kennedy Center website.
  • Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: nightly musical performances, through 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.
  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. Through January 5th. 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.
  • Bull Run
  • Georgetown GLOW outdoor light display. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. through January 1. Georgetown, Washington, DC.
  • Holiday Market. Old Town Fairfax. December 6-8, 13-15, 20-22.
  • Christmas at Mount Vernon runs through December 31.

Listen to Carol of the Bells…

 

Caroling wagon rides, Christmas teas and more this weekend

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You won’t run out of ideas to do this weekend! There are free concerts, holiday celebrations, workshops and special teas. You’re bound to find something you love to do. Who has time for shopping? Have some fun, instead! 🙂

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.

  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.

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.

Christmas light displays, some on view into January

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Pick an evening when the weather is good and head out to a winter light display. Many are open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s.

November 6 – January 5.  Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. 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.

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Holiday events abound this weekend

This is surely one of the busiest weekends for holiday events! The biggest problem you may face is choosing what to do! If the weather is fine, you’ll definitely want to see one of the parades. The Scottish Walk is all about the bagpipes and the Manassas Parade has a “Christmas Stories” theme this year. If you haven’t seen it before, I’d recommend you take in the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights at the Alexandria waterfront Saturday night. I think I’ll check out the model trains on Sunday.

Have fun!

Friday, December 6, St. Nicholas Day

  • Make an Ornament (craft activity for Adults). 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Reston Public Library.
  • Georgetown Glow opens at 5 p.m. and runs nightly for the month of December.
  • One Starry Night in Bethlehem live nativity. 6 p.m. Ashburn Presbyterian Church. Ashburn.
  • Holiday Market. Old Town Fairfax. 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes holiday concert. Barns of Wolf Trap, Vienna. $50

Saturday, December 7

  • 74th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. 10 a.m. Center Street, Historic Downtown Manassas.
  • Jingle on the Lake at Lake Anne Plaza. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Concert, Santa, toy collection. Reston
  • Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. $15.
  • 30th Annual Model Train Show 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fairfax Railroad Museum.
  • 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade 11 a.m. King Street, Old Town Alexandria.
  • Northern Virginia Ukulele Society Holiday Concert. 12 noon. Reston Town Center.
  • Northern Virginia Ukulele Ensemble Concert 1 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  • Make Break DIY Gingerbread House (adults). 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Michael’s Pan Am Shopping Center, Fairfax. Call store for availability. Cost of supplies.
  • Taste of the Holidays with Chef Cal. 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.. Pohick Regional Library. Burke.
  • Rick Landers holiday performance. 3 p.m. Reston Town Center.
  • White Christmas screening. 3:30 p.m. National Museum of American History. Washington, DC
  • 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!
  • Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, 7 p.m. Old Town Alexandria, VA (waterfront).

Sunday, December 8, Second Day of Advent

  • Herndon Holiday Arts and Crafts Show. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Herndon Community Center.
  • 30th Annual Model Train Show 12 Noon – 4 p.m. Fairfax Railroad Museum.
  • Lindsey Hirshfeld, guitar performance. 12 noon and 1 pm. Reston Town Center.
  • Holiday Sparkle opening art reception. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Reston Art Gallery and Studios, Lake Anne Plaza.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life film screening. 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. National Museum of American History.

Recurring Holiday Events

  • 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.
  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. Through January 5th. 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.
  • National Cathedral Creche Exhibit, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. through January 12. Nearly 80 Nativity scenes from around the world are displayed in the Cathedral. A must-see. Paid parking is available in an underground parking lot on the Cathedral grounds.
  • Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens Washington, DC. Model train and amazing flower displays. This attraction is open on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • 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.
  • Norwegian Giant Model Train exhibit. Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sundays Noon – 6 p.m. until December 31. Union Station. Pay parking is available at the station or take metro (Union Station, red line). Washington, DC. 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 tend to be crowded. You can also watch them for free, live, online on the Kennedy Center website. Be sure to catch the Tuba Christmas and handbell concerts.
  • Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: nightly musical performances, December 6 – 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 is on display and lit from December 6 through January 1, 2020 in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. There is very little parking, but the Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.
  • Georgetown GLOW outdoor light display. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. December 6 – January 1. Georgetown, Washington, DC.
  • Holiday Market. Old Town Fairfax. December 6-8, 13-15, 20-22.
  • Christmas at Mount Vernon runs through December 31. Famous for its camel! Candle-light tours are also available. The gift shop merchandise is worth a look. Enjoy the grounds, house and events, but eat elsewhere.

Cool Yule Picks for 31 Days of Holiday Fun in December

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So, the December calendar looks pretty…ah…full. What you see below is just a sample! Hopefully, you’ll find something to look forward to doing. Here are the Cool Yule picks for each day in December!

Sunday, December 1. Winter Bird Walk 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Chantilly. $6.

Monday, December 2. Church Street Holiday Stroll. Santa will arrive on his firetruck at the Freeman Store (131 Church Street, NE, Vienna) at 6:15. Tree lighting. 6 p.m – 8:30 p.m. Cool Yule Tip: The Freeman Store has unique gifts, candy and stocking stuffers for sale.

Tuesday, December 3. Holiday Extravaganza and 23rd Annual Norwegian Tree Lighting Ceremony. 6 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Union Station, Washington DC. Cool Yule Tip: Look for the Yeti on the model train display! It’s really hard to find.

Wednesday, December 4. U.S. Capitol Tree Lighting, 5 p.m. West Lawn, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC. Cool Yule Tip: Lighting the tree will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Thursday, December 5. She and Him (Zooey Deschanel) Christmas concert. 8 p.m. The Anthem, Washington, DC. $46 – $76. Cool Yule Tip: You’ll love their Christmas CD! Zooey is the love interest in the movie, “Elf.” Continue reading

Reston Holiday Parade, turkey walks and more this weekend

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! The upcoming weekend is full of fun things to do. Shopping is just one of them, but if Black Friday isn’t your thing, how about the ballet? Or a nature hike? Don’t miss the absolutely delightful Reston Holiday Parade tomorrow morning!

Friday, November 29, Black Friday

  • Reston Holiday Parade. 11 a.m. – Noon. Reston Town Center.
  • Zoolights Opening Night. National Zoo. 5 p.m. Washington, DC.
  • Holiday Open House, Merrifield Garden Center (also November 30 and December 1). All locations: Merrifield, Fair Oaks and Gainesville.

Saturday, November 30, Small Business Saturday
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