The Weekend Round-Up: December 19-21

The view from the Capitol Christmas tree

The view from the Capitol Christmas tree



A few things to note as you peruse this list to plan for the weekend: 1) These final days before Christmas are your last chance to experience some holiday activities in the area, so keep that in mind and be sure to check dates if there’s something you’re really hoping to do this season. 2) This Round-Up is heavy on holiday fun, but you can find loads of non-holiday recs on the Everyday Play page in The Great Indoors post, or this compilation of outdoor ideas. 3) If you’re looking for last minute gift ideas, consider making a donation to a great cause in someone’s name. The GIVE page has a nice list of charities, all suggested by KFDC readers. Happy Weekend!

Holiday…Celebrate
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies be activity

This could very well be the only occasion I quote Madonna on this blog as I recommend activities with the kids, but “take some time to celebrate!” With Christmas just days away, Chanukah in full swing, and Kwaanza on the horizon, holiday events are ubiquitous around town. There’s Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic; Garden, Holiday on the Ellipse, markets to shop, the Holly Trolley Fest, Christmas on the Potomac; train displays, and much more. Get the full scoop on them all in the 2014 KFDC Holiday Guide. (And forget what I said before, I’m sure I could find reason to use Madonna lyrics again.)

Let There Be Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit the Zoo or one of several parks in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, bring along a thermos of hot chocolate, and settle in for a cozy, illuminated drive.

Later, Skaters
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If the weather is conducive to outdoor ice skating, lace up the skates and get gliding. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on both alfresco and indoor ice skating options in the area.

Rocknoceros Holiday Singalong
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Saturday, 11am & 2pm
Admission: $10

Get in the holiday mood and ready to sing as one of the area’s favorite kids bands returns to Jammin’ Java for their eights year of fun holiday songs and Rockno classics. Belt out the tunes along with them, and enjoy a full lunch and drink menu, too.

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on area stages right now is holiday-inspired. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Get into the rhythm of Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol at Adventure Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2014 Holiday Guide.

‘O’pen House Shopping
Where: Mansion on O Street
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: Starts at $10

This Dupont Circle mansion is one of the coolest, quirkiest places you could tour, shop, party at, dine in, even stay overnight in DC, a mansion, museum, restaurant, and hotel all in one. And it’s literally filled floor to ceiling with all kinds of donated items for sale, from fine china to funky collectibles. There’s a special Open House Shopping event, where you can look for fun, unique items to give as gifts… and have a great time with the kids just exploring it all.

It Take a Christmas Village
Where: Baltimore Inner Harbor
When: Friday & Saturday, 11am – 8pm & Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free on Friday; $5/adult, $3/child on Sat/Sun

West Shore Park in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has been transformed into a Christmas Village this holiday season, and it’s full of fun for all ages. There’s face painting and balloon art for kids, and a children’s reading hour at 1:30pm on Friday (inside a heated festival tent). And everyday there are more than 60 booths to browse for gifts and food, entertainment, and lots of holiday fun to celebrate the season.

Holiday Sing-Along
Where: The Plaza at CityCenter
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

Showcase your chops at holiday sing-a-long for all ages to enjoy. A children’s performer will lead the sing-a-long of children’s holiday classics. Little guests can also get creative with festive coloring pages, stamps, and stickers before and after the performance.

Holiday Arts & Crafts
Where: Anacostia Community Museum
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Artists Camilla Younger, Rain Young, and Alma Robinson lead families in a holiday arts-and crafts making extravaganza. Make tree ornaments and other holiday-inspired objects to give as personal gifts. All art materials will be provided. Vintage Social Dancers and Dance Historians, Briant and Karin Bohleke will perform a Civil War dance performance and engage the audience in a participatory demonstration as part of the program. Register early for this fun family event.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* 101 Dalmations is on the Imagination Stage
* And little ones will enjoy interactive theatre with Inside Out at the Bethesda theatre
* The Kennedy Center presents The Gift of Nothing through December 28
* See Beauty and the Beast at Synetic Theatre
* Fiddler on the Roof is on the Arena Stage (and it’s fantastic!)
* Date night? I highly recommend the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s latest production of The Tempest (also good for older children who’d enjoy Shakespeare)
* The World Children’s Choir is performing a holiday concert on Saturday (look for free and discount tickets here)

Dueling Pianos and Santa
Where: Bobby McKeys at National Harbor
When: Saturday, 1:30pm
Admission: $20, free for under 2

The whole family can enjoy an afternoon of fun at one of Bobby McKey’s dueling piano shows. It’s two hours of all-request live music paired with a lunch buffet, and this time there’s a holiday twist: Santa will be there to take photos with guests!

Shakespeare, Family-Style
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by event

If you want to introduce your kids to the work of The Bard, this is a perfect time to do so. There are still a few more days of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Family Week, where they host a variety of programs and performances of their current production, The Tempest, geared especially to young theatre-goers. This post has a schedule of ways you and your kids can participate.

Contain Your Excitement
Where: DAR Museum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in for a free “Explore the Past” program from the members of Daughters of the American Revolution: You’ve used plastic bags and cardboard boxes, but what was used before those were invented? People in early America kept their special belongings in all kinds of homemade containers. Try your hand at making a basket or clay pot, and decorate a cloth bag or paper wrappings. Keep them for your own special things, give away as gifts, or use to put gifts in. Register for the free drop-in program here.

Christmas at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $17/adults, $8/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under


Mount Vernon decks the halls with themed Christmas trees on the estate and festive greenery in the Mansion. Tour the rarely-open third floor of the Mansion and get a glimpse of how the Washingtons might have decorated and entertained during the holiday season. Other special activities to enjoy: Watch chocolatiers produce chocolate using 18th-century techniques. Learn dances and hear stories about Christmas at Mount Vernon from costumed friends and family of the Washingtons. Meet Aladdin the Camel and see the National Thanksgiving Turkey after its official “presidential pardoning” at the White House.

Kids’ Fête de Noël
Where: Alliance Francaise
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $10
Celebrate the winter holidays with AFDC! With both French and English spoken, the event will feature a special holiday storytime and an activity hour for kids and families, including a fun craft. Snacks will also be served to guests.

Christmas on the Home Front
Where: Long Branch Plantation
When: Saturday and Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: $5, free for ages 10 and under

Discover what Christmastime was like during the days of World War II. The historic house museum in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is hosting this special event for visitors to explore the home as it’s decorated for a WWII Christmas with artifacts and exhibits on diplay, too. Holiday drinks and treats will also be served in the dining room.

Chanukah Family Spectacular
Where: Bethesda Row
When: Sunday, 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the seventh night of Chanukah at Bethesda Row’s “Chanukah: Lights & Music.” This year’s annual event will feature a giant techno-Menorah adorned with thousands of colored LED lights that flash and pulsate to music. Festivities will include a musical performance by Hassidic rapping sensation “Mor-To-Life” as well as hot latkes, jelly donuts, and chocolate Chanukah gelt.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

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