Category Archives: Chanukah

The 2020 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide

The gift recs might change, but never this pic

 

The phrase “[insert any annual occurrence] is going to look a lot different this year” is becoming all too redundant.  But it’s fitting for so many situations, including this guide.  If you’ve been reading KFDC awhile, then you know my annual holiday gift recommendations usually are heavy on local experiences to reflect the spirit of adventure and exploring that (I hope) my blog captures.

However, like much of life these days, it’s going to look a lot different this year.  With the lack of live entertainment and in-person programs combined with a cautious view of what’s safe to do, major sections of the guide had to be scrapped.  But — and here’s another ubiquitous term of 2020 — we pivot.  Where there used to be listings for upcoming shows to snag tickets to gift, you’ll find ideas to elevate your at-home entertainment.  Instead of recs for indoor experiences that are now considered iffy, there are products to enhance your outdoor adventures.  And suggestions for awesome on-site classes are replaced with tips for online enrichment.

Some of these ideas will still look familiar because, as I’ve said in the past, I think they’re really good suggestions.😉 Plus, many of them give me the chance to highlight local businesses offering unique products and services as well as organizations that are doing great things.  I hope you’ll find all of these, old and new, helpful as you head into the holiday season. Happy gifting!

 

HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Since live theatre, concerts, or even movies at local venues aren’t really options right now, help bring the entertainment home instead. The right devices, accessories, and treats can create alternative environments to enjoy those experiences you miss and have socially distant hang outs with company.  Even better, they make great gifts! Here are some to check out, with something for everyone on your list:

* With a portable projector, kids (and adults) can have friends over for outdoor movie nights.
* A real projector screen completes the outdoor theatre set up.
* Put on your own concert with a karaoke machine or microphone.
* The perfect accessory for gamers.
* For staying warm during winter backyard hangs, the Solo Stove or a patio heater are worth the splurge.
*  Cozy blankets are great to gift. (Another style. Splurge option.)
* Kids can wrap up in fun ones, like this and this.
* Footwear for hang-at-home occasions. (Budget option.)
* Make it all sweeter with City Bonfires, created by two local dads.
* Or spice it up with a popcorn kit.

 

OPT OUTSIDE

Bikes & accessories are the 2020 gift (in KFDC’s opinion)

These days, our best bets for getting out of the house and social distancing safely are activities outdoors. So, make those al fresco adventures better for everyone on your gift list with gear that supports their favorite hobbies, encourages them to try new ones, and keeps them happy outside in all conditions.

* Everyone needs a bike these days. (More options.)
* Most important accessory for it: Bike helmet — for kids & adults.
* We have and love this bike bag.
* Make rides sparkle — and visible — with these lights.
* Sleds are a must-have for the snowy season
* As is the right apparel for kiddos.
* Good winter boots, too. (More options: These and these.)
* Grown-ups also need good winter wear: For moms & dads.
* Fuzzy pullover is on trend. (Splurge option.)
* Bombas are warm and fun for all aged tootsies
* Yeti drinkware…or go all out with a cooler.
* Winter hats: Littles, kids, mom, dad.
* For rainy days, a bubble umbrella is practical, and these are so pretty.
* Roller skates  are making a come back — for kids and adults.
* Take game playing outdoors with Spike Ball.
* It’s a good time to get into disc golf.
* Of course, all outdoor activities should include masks (as should any 2020 gift guide): For kids, for working out, for a pretty look, for fashion, for Christmas,  for Chanukah, for fun.

 

THE INSIDE STORY

Cheers to gifting fun drinkware!

Between closures due to Covid and cold months ahead, there will be more time spent indoors this winter. Gifts to make it cozy and fun for people you love are perfect to give. Here are some ideas, a mix of practical, indulgent, amusing, and unique items.

* Tea time, anyone?
* Or hot chocolate stocking stuffers?
* Enjoy it in these map mugs — fun and educational!
* Very handy instructional hot toddy mugs.
* And how cute are these personalized family mugs?
* Take advantage of soup and stew season.
The Always Pan is the cooking item of the season
* Shop for even more cookware locally at the wonderful Hill’s Kitchen.
* DIY food & drinks kits have something for everyone.
* Holiday PJ’s for the whole fam.
* A cozy essential: Slippers for kids, mom, & dad.
* A comfy robe to top it all: For kids, mom, dad.
* Can’t go wrong with a cute sweater from Anthro.
* Totally getting our kids cat pillows.
* Per Sasha, these LED lights complete any room.
* Some of our classic board game faves: Rummikub, Catan, Scrabble, Clue.
* New family game night recs: Kids Against Maturity, Just One, Fun Employed, Anomia.

 

GAME ON

A trove of games and puzzles at Labyrinth

Here’s where to go locally for those recommended games above.  DC’s best shop for board games and puzzles continues to offer so many fantastic options for holiday gifts, so plan on a visit to Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill — or to the website for socially distanced browsing. This is one of my go-tos for birthday party presents and always a stop for some shopping this time of year. Since I first wrote about the store when it opened 10 years ago, it’s gotten even better, so much that they expanded to a second space next door. They have something for everyone — all ages, every interest. Even better, there’s always a fun, friendly vibe in the store, plus the service is just as great as the inventory. All of the staff are very knowledgeable about what they sell — give them a few details about who you’re shopping for, and they’ll show you just the right game or puzzle to buy. (You can do this through their online Holiday Gift Assist, too!)

 

WORK IT

Wireless headphones and more ways  to upgrade their workspace

Almost everyone has made some kind of work transition to their house over the last year — from the office, school, or even the gym. And since it looks like it’ll be going on at least a little while longer, these gifts that improve those at-home set-ups will be much appreciated — for job work, class work, and working out.

* This stand up desk converter gets great reviews.
* A new desk chair for kids will make online school more comfy.
* Wireless headphones for work — and leisure. (Splurge option.)
* A map wall decal could come in handy for geography class.
* There are all kinds of blue light glasses available.
* The new Echo Dots are pretty cool (my kids love their older models).
* Any yogi can always use a new mat.
* Weight sets and exercise bands for at-home workouts.
Local shop Summit to Soul also has awesome workout wear.
* Lululemon has some great deals right now.

 

GOOD READS

The gift of a great read

* Black is a Rainbow Color: A timely children’s book
* Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice: Kids can learn about their VP
* All of the Andrea Beaty books
* Give a set of your childhood faves
* Stamped: By DC’s own Jason Reynolds, for tweens and up
* Humans: The perfect gift for any HONY fan
* A Promised Land: Sure to be a holiday bestseller
* Accidentally Wes Anderson: For fans of his films or the IG inspired by them
* What Kind of Woman: Poetry that will take her breath away
* Caste: One of the best reads this year
* That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life: And so will this book!
* Subscriptions keep the gifts coming: National Geographic, Washingtonian Magazine, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit

 

B(U)Y THE BOOK

Local stores like Kramers offer online & IRL shopping

Look for the above recs and more great reads for everyone at a local independent bookstore. You can shop just about all of them online, too.

* Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle is a DC institution and always a great place to browse and have a bite at Afterwards Cafe.
* Combine your shopping trip to Labyrinth with a stop next door at East City Book Shop.
* On H Street NE, Solid State Books  also has a nice selection.
* Find reads just for kids at Hurray for Books in Old Town Alexandria.
* Politics & Prose, one of the city’s most well known bookstores has locations at Union Market, The Wharf, and its original Connecticut Avenue shop.
* Go secondhand at Capitol Hill Books, a legendary used bookshop.

 

BOX IT UP

Little Loving Hands’ gift boxes give back

This category includes two kinds of gifts, but one theme: They come in a box. Subscription boxes that are delivered on a regular basis keep the surprises coming. And then there are gift boxes curated just for the holidays, including some really good ones from local businesses.

* Local retailer Steadfast Supply has a fantastic variety of gift boxes.
* Little Loving Hands, started local moms, lets kids can get creative & give back.
* Raddish Kids delivers monthly cooking inspo.
* Time 4 Mom is a subscription service especially for busy mamas.
* Kiwi Co. now has maker boxes for kids of all ages — and adults.
* Birchbox delivers beauty each month.
* There’s even one for pooches: Barkbox.

 

KEEP IT CLASSY

Get in the act with Adventure Theatre’s virtual classes

Has your child expressed interest in a particular activity? Give them a boost by getting them into a class! Many programs that used to be IRL have gone digital, so kids can enjoy them safely from the comfort of home. Here are some recommendations:

* Get kiddos cooking with Tiny Chefs.
* Budding actors can learn the performing arts ropes with Adventure Theatre.
* Young Playwrights Theater offers playwrighting programs
* All ages can twirl and groove with CityDance.
* Give the gift of music with lessons from the International School of Music.
* The Lane Social Club offers some class series littles.
* For adults: An online cooking class with the Hill Center or a wine tasting with District Winery.

 

PICTURE PERFECT PRESENTS

Capture them (and their hearts) with this gift

How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session. And like the last few years, I’m recommending just the right photographer for it. As mentioned in previous gift guides, I have adored Darcy Troutman’s photos forever, starting with her former blog, No Monsters in My Bed. But over the last few years, she launched her own photography business capturing families and weddings, helping people make and preserve memories. Her style is unique and the photos gorgeous, but her real-life, let-the-moment-seize-you approach to her work is what really makes it special. Also, she’s hilarious and sweet and really comfortable to be around, the ideal personality for the job. Plus, her photos will not only capture this time in your lives, they’ll make for great gifts for extended family throughout the year, too.

 

DESIGN TIME

Give design guidance from a guru

If there’s someone in your life who wants a facelift for their home, but needs some guidance going about it, gift them the help of an expert.  Margaret Carroll is an architect and design consultant extraordinaire and, full disclosure,  a really great friend of mine. But that just means I know first hand that she has a keen eye for style and the sharpest aesthetic of anyone I know, from the perfectly picked tile in her bathrooms to the amazing booties on her feet. She actually did a tear-down/rebuild of her own house, and you can take a virtual tour of it here.

 

ENTER THROUGH THE MUSEUM GIFT SHOP

The Spy Museum gift shop is full of intriguing inventory

We have some pretty amazing museums in our city, and many of their gift shops — that are also online — echo the impressive collections with items that are an extension of their programs. It’s not just prints of paintings you see; you can buy books, puzzles, accessories, gadgets, games, housewares, and lots of children’s items that are artistic, clever, and innovative. Just about all of the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo have wonderful gift shops. And I highly recommend browsing the shops of some of the other museums in town: The International Spy Museum, National Building Museum, and Phillips Collection all have unique and interesting inventory.

 

GREAT TASTE

Delight with Provisions from Officina

You kind of can’t go wrong with the gift of food. I mean, everyone eats, and no matter how old, we all have our favorite bites and places for them. That’s why a gift card to a restaurant or treatery (hey, did I just make up a word?) or an edible product from a local establishment will satisfy many a giftee’s appetite or craving. Here are a few ideas to chew on:

* The Pretzel Bakery is our neighborhood fave for savory & sweet treats.
* Officina offers Provisions for a week of delicious eating.
* If someone on your gift list loves sushi, they need to try O-Ku.
* Give a gift card for Rose’s Luxury for Rose’s At Home Dinner Delivery.
* You can’t go wrong with goodies from Baked & Wired.
* Cider enthusiasts will love a gift card from ANXO.
* All Purpose Pizzeria is delish and offering holiday gift cards.
* Goldbelly is an online marketplace of well-known purveyors from all over.
* Trader Joes‘ giant chocolate bars, tins of peppermint bark, and other gifty items are easy last minute (or planned) treats.
* The above are just a few recs. You can give a gift card from any place you want to support — browse Open Table and Resy for more reminders of what’s out there.

 

GIVE… BACK

Give to a cause to gift a loved one

How about boxing up hope and happiness? Gifts That Give Hope, an online market this year, lets you support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones as you make donations to local charities in their names.  You can also do this through the GIVE page here on the blog, which has suggestions on where to contribute, all of them shared by KFDC readers. You can give your time and plan a volunteering outing with your kids to show them the gift of giving back. While most of those opportunities are limited right now, you could do a trash pick-up or find ways for kids to volunteer from home.

 

GIVE FREELY

The gift of a local adventure — and it doesn’t cost a thing

Of course, not all gifts have to come with a hefty price tag. There are so many magical yet still inexpensive experiences to be had in the DC area, some without even spending a dime. You can creatively package them up — perhaps a big, fun card with a photo — and promise a visit. Some suggestions:

* A DIY scavenger hunt at the National Arboretum.
* A holiday lights tour — many continue into January.
* A visit to Planet Word, DC’s newest, coolest museum.
* Fossil hunting adventures at the Purse Area or Calvert Cliffs State Park.
* A bike ride bookended by fun explorations and play.
* A geogcaching adventure on an area hike.
* A day of play at Clemyjontri.
* An outing to Riverbend Park, where you can hike to Great Falls to enjoy some of the area’s best nature.
* A nature/photo walk at Huntley Meadows or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
* Find inspo for even more!

 

Call for more:  Are you (or is someone you know) a local businesses owner or maker offering products that would make great gifts?  Let us know by leaving a link in the comments, if so!

 

*Many of the newer recs are affiliate links (though I put a ton of thought into them), which means I could earn a small commission when you click on them and make a purchase. As a small business, especially during this challenging time, your support is very much appreciated!

 

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Filed under 2020, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Shop, Virginia

The 2020 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC

The 2020 DC holiday season is a little bit off this year 😉

 

Like most things in 2020, the holiday season in DC will look a lot different this year.  Many beloved annual events and shows that so many of us look forward to have been cancelled,  favorite family traditions interrupted. But there still are enough happening to make the season bright (literally, at some places).  Holiday light displays, that you drive or walk through outdoors, are as dazzling as they are great for social distancing.  In-person celebrations have extra safety precautions in place. Holiday shows are going virtual, many of them for free.  Christmas trees and menorahs are lit through the season, so you can visit at your leisure.  Seasonal markets are prepped for safety or bringing the shopping online. ‘Tis not the season we’re used to, but it still can be a wonderful time of the year.  This annual KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC will help you plan for it all.

Light Displays

Trees & Lightings

Chanukah

Special Events & Activities

Holiday Shows

Holiday Markets

 

Drive or walk through the festive Symphony of Lights

LIGHT DISPLAYS

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Where: Bull Run Regional Park | Centreville, VA
When: November 6 – January 10
Admission: $20-30/vehicle (look for discount)

Experience 2.5 miles of colorful holiday light displays. As you drive the festival route, turn off your headlights and just follow the magical glow. It started early this year and online ticketing were added to provide minimal contact. Take advantage of a discount for purchasing online — use promo code WEB20 for $5 off the Monday-Thursday rate.

Winter Walk of Lights

Where: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens | Vienna, VA
When: November 11 – January 3
Admission: $15/adult, $9/ages 2-12 (look for discount)

Bring your family and friends to be dazzled by the magical Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Every year from mid-November until just after New Year’s Day, the garden is transformed into a half-mile, walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the animated 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.

Winter Wine-derland
Where: Bluemont Vineyard | Bluemont, VA
When: November 19 – January 3
Admission: $12-30

Enjoy a family friendly outing at the whimsical Winter Wine-derland, located at Bluemont Vineyard’s The Stable event venue, nestled among the vines half way up the mountain. At the exclusive holiday pop-up, families can decorate gingerbread while sipping hot cocoa, roast marshmallows fireside and craft inimitable cork ornaments. Adults can enjoy indulging in a cup of mulled wine or exploring a Wine and Cookie pairing of Christmas cookies, crafted by local Knead It Bakery, paired with their favorite Bluemont Vineyard wines. Check out the website for even more ways for adults to celebrate there!

Ice & Lights
Where: Cameron Run Park | Alexandria, VA
When: November 20 – January 3
Admission: See details below(look for discount)

Glide across the ice at Ice & Lights, The Winter Village at Cameron Run in Alexandria, Virginia. The waterpark is transformed into a winter wonderland with an ice rink, beautifully lit photo ops, music and more. Visit Slice n’ Ice for hot chocolate, coffee and cold beverages, pizza, hot dogs, and delicious donut holes. Admission to the village is $7.95, with 1-hour skating and skate rental is $19.43, ice skating & rental only is $12.19. Ice skating tickets are available online only.

Lights on the Bay
Where: Sandy Point State Park | Annapolis, MD
When: November 20 – January 2
Admission: $20/car (look for discount)

Driving through Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park has become a tradition for many area families for the past decade. The scenic drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay features more than 60 spectacular animated and stationary displays illuminating the roadway. The holiday light show is sponsored by the SPCA of Anne Arundel County.

Symphony of Lights
Where: Symphony Woods at Merriweather | Columbia, MD
When: November 25 – January 1
Admission: $20/vehicle

Called a “woodland wonderland,” this beautiful display of more than 100 all new larger-than-life, animated and stationary light creations is a local holiday tradition for many. Cruise along the 1.4-mile route through the Symphony Woods in downtown Columbia and enjoy the twinkling lights as you go. On November 29, the Family Festival welcomes visitors to walk through the lights + enjoy activities for the whole family ($12/guest).

ZooLights Express
Where: Around DC
When: See dates below
Admission: Free

ZooLights Express, powered by Pepco, is bringing the colorful glow of DC’s beloved National Zoo holiday tradition into the community. The 24-foot ZooLights Express truck will hit the road, festively decorated with light displays and featuring “Panda Claws,” and visit one District ward each Friday and Saturday night from 6-8pm:
Friday, 11/27 | Ward 1
Saturday, 11/28 | Ward 2
Friday, 12/4 | Ward 3
Saturday, 12/5 | Ward 4
Friday, 12/11| Ward 5
Saturday, 12/12 | Ward 6
Friday, 12/18 | Ward 7
Saturday, 12/19 | Ward 8

Festival of Lights
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: November 27 – January 1,
Admission: $8-10/vehicle

This spectacular holiday drive-through event of more than one million twinkling lights has been dazzling holiday-goers for over 25 years. This is great way to get into the holiday spirit from the comfort of your car — bring a thermos of hot chocolate, put on some holiday music, turn on the seat warmers, and take in the adorably festive illuminated scenes. Purchase tickets in advance online and pay only $8.

Winter Lights Festival

Where: Seneca Creek State Park | Gathersburg, MD
When: November 27 – December 31
Admission: $12-15/car Mon-Thurs, $17-20/car Fri-Sun

The 25th Annual Winter Lights Festival is a glowing 3.5 mile drive through the enchanted setting of Seneca Creek State Park. The route takes you past more than 450 illuminated displays and beautifully lit trees that light up the night.  Note that it’s closed on Christmas.

Garden in Lights
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: November 27 – January 1 (closed 12/1, 7, 8, 24, 25)
Admission: $10-12/person, free/3 & under

This annual holiday light show is getting a makeover in light of COVID-19 guidelines with everything outside to keep everyone safe, so bundle up a magical holiday experience. The grounds of Annmarie are transformed into an outdoor twinkling wonderland that will transport your family to an enchanted world where they will discover glowing “light sculptures” and wondrous light installations. Discover wild animals, wintery wonderlands, musical holiday scenes, deep sea treasures, magical creatures, glowing trees, and more.  New this year: An outdoor Holiday Market with shopping, music, fun holiday photo opps, and food and drink.

Winter Glow
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Alexandria, VA
When: November 27-29, December 11-13/26-28, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $25-30/youth, $40-45/adult

Enjoy an enchanting evening of winter lights at Mount Vernon. See the estate illuminated with soft lights and holiday patterns as you listen to Christmas carolers and visit an 18th-century winter encampment.

DC Holiday Lights
Where: Around DC
When: December 1-31
Admission: Free

During December, Main Streets throughout the District are joining together to bring DC residents a spectacular holiday experience: DC Holiday Lights! Residents are invited to take a stroll down each of the participating corridors to experience a dazzling array of lights and decor, enjoy holiday promotions, and shop local. Visit the website to see where corridors are located and what to expect at each of them. You can also take a guided tour of the lights with Free Tours By Foot!

Light Yards
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: December 7 – January 12
Admission: Free

Light Yards is returning for its fifth year at The Yards! The annual holiday installation will feature the premiere of the installation “Stars” by Australian-based immersive light design sculptors Amigo & Amigo . The larger-than-life stars constructed from metallic mesh feature dancing lights and play festive music, making for a perfect socially-distanced stroll for guests of all ages who want to safely experience some holiday cheer. Plan to enjoy dinner or cocktails al fresco amongst the Stars or pair your visit with a take-out pick-up from one of the many eateries at The Yards.

Holiday Lights on the Farm
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: December 11-12 & 18-19
Admission: $20

Brighten your season with a driving tour of Holiday Lights on the Farm at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon. Tour the park in the safety and warmth of your vehicle on a one-mile route to see the farm animals, wooded wonders, and luminous lights decorating the pastures and historic buildings. On-line registration required.

43rd Annual Festival of Lights
Where: Mormon Temple | Kensington, MD
When: December 11-28, 6-9pm
Admission: Free

Its official name is the Washington, DC, Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but most Washingtonians know it as the Mormon Temple that you can see driving on the outer loop of the Beltway near Bethesda. During the holiday season the grounds glow with more than 400,000 lights that visitors are welcome to enjoy, though this year in a modified way that puts safety and health first. The 2020 Festival of Lights will open as a drive-through experience. The tour begins at the entrance of the Temple grounds and end at the Temple Visitors’ Center with Christmas music transmitted over short-range FM radio.

 


Stop and see the Capitol tree

TREES & LIGHTINGS

Nightly Holiday Tree Light Show
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: November 14 – January 3
Admission: Free

Ignite your holiday spirit with the nightly lighting of the 56-foot tree and two million twinkling lights in the National Harbor Waterfront District. The tree light show takes place every evening, every half hour from sundown to 9pm. On weekends — Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — there will be snowfall over the tree during the light show. This year, in order to maintain social distancing, guests will be asked to form a line and follow the directions.

Lighting of the Wharf Tree
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the holiday season at The Wharf as they officially light their Christmas tree and transform the waterfront into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights. Bring the family for photos by to the 45-foot pine tree on District Pier, then enjoy dinner together at one of the many restaurants. End your evening by roasting s’mores around the firepit at Camp Wharf!

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol | Capitol Hill, DC
When: December 2, 5pm
Admission: Free

A great alternative to the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Technically, this lighting is not open to the public and will be broadcast live on C-Span.org, but you could view festivities from right across the street by the Reflecting Pool (be sure to social distance). I recommend going on another evening, though, when you can view the tree from a closer vantage point.  After the lighting, the tree will be lit every evening for all to enjoy until January 1.

National Christmas Tree & Holiday Trees
Where: President’s Park | The Ellipse, DC
When: December 3-31
Admission: Free

The lighting of the National Christmas Tree on December 3 will not include a live audience this year, but the illumination and performances can be viewed virtually.  After that, the tree will be lit nightly, and visitors are welcome to see it on the Ellipse along with trees representing each state and territory and the District though December.


The National Menorah Lighting on the Ellipse

CHANUKAH

Chanukah in a Box
Where: Online/Zoom
When: December 6 (order by 12/4)
Admission: $15/box

Join Chabad for virtual Chanukah fun for the whole family! You will receive a box of supplies before the online carnival, and then log in to create Chanukah masterpieces together on Zoom! (Or if you prefer, you can do it all on your own — instructions included in the box.) Receive an action-packed box with Chanukah activities, including a menorah kit, Chamukah cookie cutters, a dreidel craft, a foil card, and popcorn for snacking. Order by 12/4 and use the code KFDC to ensure you get your box in time!

Chanukah Carnival in a Box
Where: Online/Zoom
When: December 6
Admission: $15/box

A super fun Chanukah carnival, in YOUR living room! Receive an action-packed box of Chanukah activities and treats, including supplies needed to make your own tie-dye Menorah, Chanukah cookie cutters and a recipe card to make delicious Chanukah cookies, popcorn and chocolate Chanukah gelt for a Chanukah party, a unique wooden Dreidel craft – fun for all ages, and a DIY foil press Chanukah card! You will receive your box of supplies before the virtual carnival, and then join to create Chanukah masterpieces on Zoom. Zoom link will be provided after registration. Chanukah in a Box will be ready for pickup on Thursday, December 3, at a central location in Alexandria or Arlington. While they prefer that you pick up the box, if you are unable to they will happily deliver it anywhere in Alexandria or Arlington!

Chanukah Grandfriend Program
Where: Online
When: December 8, 4pm
Admission:

Gather around the menorah for a multi-generational event for kids and their “grandfriends.” Jpin PJ Library and others to make Chanukah-inspired churros and dipping sauces, hear a story, and celebrate joyfully together. The recipe and ingredients list to bake along will be shared when you register.

National Menorah Lighting
Where: President’s Park | The National Ellipse, DC
When: December 10, 4pm
Admission: Free, but you must request tickets

This is the Jewish counterpart to the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Every Chanukah, the National Menorah is lit in a ceremony on the Ellipse. Usually, along with the lighting, there is live entertainment, menorah kits and dreidels to take home, and latkes and donuts. This year, details about those festivities are TBD.  Tickets are free, but you need to order them in advance through the website starting November 16.

Lighting of the Menorah
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: December 10-18, 5-6pm
Admission: Free

The Wharf is continuing their annual tradition of lighting the menorah in District Square for each night of Hanukkah — join them to celebrate the Festival of Lights! Plan to dine out while you’re there and enjoy an evening stroll along the beautiful waterfront.

Where: Zoom with Hurray for Books 
When: December 6, 1pm
Admission: Free

Join author Laura Gehl for an interactive Hanukkah storytime via Zoom featuring her new book HAPPY LLAMAKKAH! Laura will read the story, followed by Hanukkah and llama trivia and other interactive fun for ages 0-8.  Register here to receive the Zoom link.

8 Nights of Lights
Where: Zoom
When: December 10-17, 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Join your friends at Bender JCCGW, Edlavitch DCJCC, and Pozez JCC to light up Chanukah! Bring your Chanukiah (Menorah) to light with them. NOTE: The Friday, December 11, lighting will occur at 4:30pm, before Shabbat, followed by a Shabbat candle lighting.

The Drive-thru Chanukah Experience
Where: 6011 Executive Blvd | Rockville, MD
When: December 12-13
Admission: $25/vehicle + $2/person

The Chanukah Story comes to life with an epic audio-visual presentation in a Covid-safe manner, thank to Chabad Centers of Montgomery County. From the safety of their cars, families will literally drive-thru the Chanukah story as multiple illustrations, props, and actors bring the 2500-year-old Chanukah story to life. Guided by a professionally created soundtrack, they will experience the Chanukah events as it would be happening in real-time. Participants will meet, at a distance, the Chanukah characters and pick up souvenirs and treats as they move through the Chanukah story.The Chanukah Drive-thru Experience will bring the joy and excitement of Chanukah at a time when it is most needed.

Chanukah Havdalah in Pajamas
Where: Zoom
When: December 12, 6pm
Admission:

Join PJ Library, Berman Hebrew Academy and Kehilat Pardes to start a new week with Havdalah and then light your family chanukiyah (Chanukah menorah) together as a community on the third night of Chanukah. Rabbi Uri Topolosky will sing songs, share a story, and help everyone have a joyful start to a new week.

Be the Light: Helping Others on Chanukah
Where: Virtual & Temple Shalom | Chevy Chase, MD
When: December 13, 11am – 12pm & and 4–5:30pm
Admission: Free

On Chanukkah, spread the light of the holiday with others by giving back. Encourage your child to dedicate one night of Chanukah as a Tzedakah Night, purchasing items for others instead of receiving a gift. Bring a donation for DC Diaper Bank (see wish list) in the morning. Later that day, join on Zoom for a bake-along with Paula Shoyer! Make blue-and-white cookies, ending with the menorah lighting together at 5:30 PM. You can pick up an activity kit for your family when you drop off your donation or arrange an alternate option by contacting us. (Note: Drop off donations in the morning & the bake-along is virtual.). Register by December 10.

Clarendon Menorah Lighting & Community Celebration
Where: Chabad Lubavitch | Arlington, VA
When: December 13, 5pm
Admission: Free

Experience the Festival of Lights! Join the lighting of a giant 9-foot menorah and enjoy hot potato latkes, hot cocoa, donuts, chocolate gelt, live Chanukah music, and dreidels for all. Capacity is limited, so register in advance here. Masks are required at this outdoor event.

Chanukah Festival
Where: The LYCEUM | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: December 15, 6:30pm
Admission: Free

Share in the spirit and joy of Chanukah at the grand Menorah Lighting in Old Town Alexandria. See the lighting of a 6-foot menorah, and enjoy latkes, hot cocoa, donuts, gelt, dreidels, an lively Chanukah music. Every child will receive a free light stick, too. Capacity is limited, so register in advance. This outdoor event will be socially distanced and masks are required.

Author Talk: The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica Perl
Where: Zoom
When: December 16, 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the JCCs for a Hanukkah afternoon as local author Erica Perl shares her latest story. It’s Hanukkah, and Max and Rachel are excited to light the menorah in their family’s new apartment. But, unfortunately, their Hanukkah box is missing! Signed copies will be available through Politics and Prose for folks attending the Zoom program.


Crystalline at ARTECHOUSE evokes a winter vibe

SPECIAL EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

Give Thanks Hunt
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Through November 30
Admission: $35

Give thanks and learn a bit about Thanksgiving traditions on this heartfelt treasure hunt. Have fun searching for Thanksgiving themed items found only at The Mansion. This includes a self-guided tour of the many themed rooms and secret doors. Bring your own shopping bags — everything is for sale! Read more about this wonderfully unique DC attraction in this KFDC post.

Crystalline
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 3
Admission: $12-17/child, $19-24/adult

ARTECHOUSE, known for its visually stunning digital art, has transformed the gallery into a blue-hued haven intended to evoke calm and peace during a turbulent time. Like all of the exhibitions there, just about all of it is interactive, as the images change with viewers’ motions, encouraging play.  Immersing into the depths of the color, even just for a little while, is a  dazzling and delightful escape from the bizarre Covid world outside.

The Virtual Enchanted Forest
Where: Online
When: November 21
Admission: Varies by activity

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s annual Enchanted Forest returns virtually this year. Activities include storytime with Santa, an online auction, call with Santa, cooking classes, arts and crafts, yoga, and more fun for the family.

Season’s Greetings
Where: Hillwood Estate | Northwest DC
When: November 24 – January 10
Admission: Suggested donation $18/adult, $5/child, free/under 6

Hillwood remains a safe way to enjoy the holiday splendor with precautionary measures in place. Enjoy time outside as the gardens reveal another aspect of their ever-changing beauty during the holiday season. The gardens, as revealed in the publication A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood, are the inspiration for glamorous Christmas trees and festive décor across the estate. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.

The Grinch’s Grotto
Where: Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA
When: November 27 – December 31
Admission: $50

If taking traditional cheerful holiday photos with the family is exactly what you don’t feel like doing, check out The Grinch’s Grotto, an imaginative take on holiday photo shoots that will give guests a fun way to show off a bit of their grumpiness during what is still the most wonderful time of the year.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens
When: November 27 – December 31, 9am – 4pm
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 6-11, free/5 & under

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. The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. It’s open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years.

Tenley WinterFest
Where: Throughout Tenleytown, DC
When: November 27 – December 5
Admission: Free

This eight-day celebration of the holiday season is designed to showcase local businesses, community groups, and the neighborhood — all with a unique Tenleytown flair and lots of yetis. Get special deals at restaurants, join a Yeti Scavenger Hunt, checkout festive storefronts, and take a self-guided walking tour.

Holiday Movies at The Wharf
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Weekends
Admission: $60

Join The Wharf throughout this holiday season for a pop-up outdoor movie theatre on Transit Pier where you can enjoy all the Christmas classics from your private firepit in front of a 20′ LED screen. They’re showing all the best holiday classics, including Home Alone, The Grinch, A Christmas Story, Elf, and more at 2pm and 6pm showtimes. In advance of the event, reserve your fire pit, which seats up to four people. Drinks (both hard and soft) and snacks are available throughout the movie from Cantina Bambina. Each seating includes a special stocking stuffed full of great offers and holiday treats from Wharf restaurants, merchants, and partners.

Occoquan HolidayFest
Where: Online & Historic Occoquan, VA
When: November 30 – December 13
Admission: Free

Enjoy the upcoming festive season with virtual and socially distanced celebrations in historic Occoquan! The Town of Occoquan and the Occoquan Merchants Guild are pleased to present a three-week event including in-person and online activities, including a virtual tree lighting, family fireside night, in-person market, a gingerbread contest, and trivia night. See the website for dates and details.

Make & Take Holiday Crafting
Where: Paper Source | Tysons, VA
When: December 2, 9, & 16
Admission: $10

Looking for the perfect way to kick off the holiday season? Unleash your inner artist this season with a series of ornament making fun for the whole family! Purchase a $10 crafting experience and receive a $10 gift card to Paper Source, in addition to your Paper Source ornament craft. Stop by Paper Source to pick up your crafting kit AND a $10 Paper Source gift card for $10. Join The Boro’s destination for all things creative, Paper Source, for seasonal crafting all through December.

Christmas Village
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: December 4/5/6, 11/12/13, 18/19/20, 22/23, 6-9pm
Admission: $10.95 9$12.95 at door)

Celebrate Christmas with the Critters at the Animal Park’s evening holiday event! Activities include photos with Santa Claus, themed arts & crafts, live animal encounters + holiday photos with them, a kids’ indoor play zone, bonfire & marshmallow roasting, pony rides, nativity scene, animal petting & feeding, and thousands of holiday lights. Christmas trees & wreaths will be available for purchase at the Farm Market, too.

Georgetown History & Holiday Lights Tour
Where: Throughout Georgetown DC
When: Starting early December
Admission: Pay what you want

Join Free Tours by Foot for a special evening Historic Georgetown tour that brings you the history through the holiday window displays of Georgetown businesses and restaurants. It’s a unique way to learn about the art and the neighborhood itself. Explore the industrial and some of the oldest residential parts of the neighborhood by the water and along the canal. Note: All sites and homes will be viewed from the street.

Letter to Santa Watercolor Workshop
Where: Online (Supplies pick Up at The Station in Riverdale, MD)
When: December 19
Admission: Free

Santa is pulling into The Station! Join Santa’s crafting workshop and unleash your inner elf with a Letter to Santa watercolor workshop. Pick up your complimentary crafting kit at The Station PLUS a $10 gift card from participating restaurants at The Station. Pick up your free watercolor kit at The Station on Saturday, December 19 from from 11am – 2pm, then tune in for a workshop at 4pm with local artist and maker. Can’t make the workshop live? They’ll send a recording to all registrants. Santa will be here before you know it, so you can drop off your letter to Santa at participating restaurants at The Station and share on Instagram (tag @thestationrp) to be included in a drawing for a $50 gift card to Burtons Grill at The Station!

Christmas Eve Tours
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: December 24
Admission: $39

They’ve decked the halls and walls and filled The O with season’s greetings & holiday cheer to create lasting memories for all. On the Breakfast Tour, enjoy a delicious continental breakfast (sweet breads, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit hot coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate) then tour through the themed rooms and search for secret doors. On the Dessert Tour, tour the mansion, then take home an assortment of tortes, cakes, and sweets — includes hot coffee, hot tea, hot apple cider, and hot chocolate (cash bar). See more about this wonderfully unique DC attraction in this KFDC post.

Joy Around the World: Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Where: Watson Adventures Online
When: December 28
Admission: $19

Wishing you could find a way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family? Join Watson Adventures on a virtual sleigh ride across the internet! This virtual scavenger hunt takes you to holiday markets and festivals, amazing museums and many scenic places around the world, in search of answers to fun, holiday-related questions. Whether it’s for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even Boxing Day, it’s a fun game to unite families and friends. Guaranteed to delight any Grinch! For ages 10 and up. Teams of up to six can play together or remotely. Advance booking is required.

Holiday Train Show
Where: Union Station | Capitol Hill Area, DC
When: TBD
Admission: Free

Every year, DC’s grand train station hosts a wonderful Holiday Train Display, on view in the West Hall. Featuring a Norwegian landscape, the displays are intricate and fun to stop by and see if you’re at the station during the holiday season.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: December 31
Admission: $25 ’til 11/30, $30 12/1-30, $35 12/31, free/12 & under
The largest family-focused and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve event in the region is ON for 2020. Organizers are planning a hybrid experience that will include both online and live performances around Alexandria. More details to come soon!

 


Catch Step Afrika’s magnificent Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show online for free!

VIRTUAL HOLIDAY SHOWS

Holiday Sing-A-Long
Where: Wolf Trap Online
When: December 5 & 19, 4pm
Tickets: Free

Wolf Trap continues their wonderful community tradition of the Holiday Sing-A-Long — with a virtual twist. Traditionally, this event combined a festive instrumental performance by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band (USMB) and a sing-a-long of traditional holiday carols led by more than 500 local singers. This year’s event will be presented in a digital format, and you can join from the comfort of your home. The pre-recorded performances by the USMB at The Barns at Wolf Trap, will each begin with a short prelude of festive instrumentals followed by a series of favorite holiday sing-a-longs.

The Snow Queen
Where: Imagination Stage Online
When: December 12 – February 28
Admission: $25-29/household

In this adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous winter fairy tale, a powerful friendship is put to the test as four narrators bring to life the story of Gerda and Kai, life-long best friends whose relationship is broken by the unfeeling Snow Queen. Can Gerda save Kai before his heart is frozen solid? Imagination abounds in this magical story of courage, wit, and unshakable resilience! Recommended for ages 5+.

The Nutcracker
Where: The Washington Ballet Online
When: TBD
Tickets: TBD

Experience moments of joy and magic from The Washington Ballet’s charmingly-DC The Nutcracker – virtually! While we can’t be in the theatre to celebrate the joy of The Nutcracker and the holiday season, The Washington Ballet is working on putting together a delightful virtual Nutcracker experience with behind-the-scenes content, interviews, special performances, and more.

A Season of Reveling
Where: Washington Revels Online
When: Through December 20
Admission: Varies

This December’s Christmas Revels will not take place on a stage… but Washington Revels will celebrate nonetheless! They’ve been hard at work imagining the possibilities of a virtual Christmas Revels. Much more information is coming soon! Right now we are excited to share that we will not only present a virtual Winter Solstice Revels, but also we are also planning an ongoing “suite” of Fall programming — “A Season of Reveling.“

Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Step Afrika! Online
When: December 16, 7:30pm
Admission: Free
As the world’s first holiday show highlighting the African American tradition of stepping, the Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is a feast for the eyes and ears. Fabulous and furry friends from the Arctic Kingdom – Popper the Penguin along with polar bear twins, Pinky and Polo-ensure a fun and exciting experience for the entire family! Recognizing the challenges faced by so many families due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Step Afrika! is offering this year’s holiday show free of charge. Tune in as the celebrated performers of Step Afrika! spread holiday cheer to audiences all over the world. Register in advance.

ASO Live! Holiday Classics
Where: Strathmore Online
When: December 18
Admission: $49

The holidays are a time spent with friends and family, both near and far, celebrating togetherness. Enjoy a concert that will warm your heart on a cold winter’s night with holiday favorites and classical others. This concert is sure to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night. selections by Arcangelo Corelli, Johann Strauss, Scott Joplin, and Leroy Anderson, among others. This concert is sure to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night.

The Nutcracker Storybook
Where: Maryland Youth Ballet Online
When: Starting December 19
Admission: $10 to rent, $20 to purchase

Given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Youth Ballet is excited to announce a reimagined production of its traditional holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, with a NEW video production. The Nutcracker Storybook follows the storyline of the timeless holiday classic with “Uncle Drosselmeyer” narrating and guiding viewers through a storybook come to life. The performance will be pre-recorded with a broadcast premiere on December 19.

Coyaba Dance Theater: In Spirit of Kwanzaa
Where: Dance Place Online
When: December 29, 6:30pm
Tickets: Free

Join Coyaba Dance Theater West African Dance Company in celebrating 15 years! This high-energy virtual presentation is based on the 7 Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa: Umoja, Kuchjichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba, Imani. Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday from December 26 – January 1. In gathering, we commemorate and recommit to our families, community economics, and Faith. This show will lift your spirits and warm your hearts.

 


Strolling the Downtown Holiday Market

HOLIDAY MARKETS

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW | Penn Quarter, DC
When: November 20 – December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

This one, to me, is the holiday market in DC. It’s not even so much about the merchandise for sale (though there’s always a great variety of gift items — I never leave empty handed). There’s something about the usually bustling block in the middle of Penn Quarter transforming into an open air market for a few weeks that is so charming and kind of magical, making our big city feel like a small town. Treats and coffee drinks are available for purchase, too.   KFDC Tip: Plan to visit the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market after you’ve done your shopping.  Reserve timed-entry tickets here. (The museums are currently closed due to rising Covid-19 rates.)

Victura Park Winter Holiday Market
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: November 27 – December 20
Admission: Free

This winter, Victura Park, the pop-up wine car on the grounds of The REACH at the Kennedy Center, transforms into a festive Holiday Market! The outdoor market will feature an amazing line up of local artists, craftspersons, and other specialized vendors, including the Kennedy Center Gift Shop pop-up shop. Support small businesses by purchasing gifts, prepackaged treats, and one-of-a-kind artworks for the perfect holiday celebration! Sip on seasonal classics such as spiked cider and hot cocoa or choose from the signature menu of beer and wine, light snacks, and delicious food hot from the grill. Holiday hours will be Friday 4 – 8pm, Saturday 12– 9pm, & Sunday 12 – 8pm.

Eastern Market
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Year-round Saturdays & Sundays
Admission: Free

The outdoor flea market at the centerpiece of the Capitol Hill community is practically a year-round weekend institution for locals. And during the holiday season, it’s a go-to for shoppers seeking unique gifts along with a fun outing. Over 100 vendors are there, selling everything from original artwork to fun T-shirts, to handmade jewelry and accessories, to home décor to custom-made and used furniture – and much, much more. If you’re cooking up a holiday meal, you can get fresh produce from farmers’ stalls outside and butchered meats, fancy cheeses, baked goods, pasta, fresh produce, and more inside the actual Eastern Market. Even more, there is often live music courtesy of buskers around the area, and if the kids want some play time afterwards, you can hit one of several parks or playgrounds in the neighborhood (Lincoln Park, at 11th and East Capitol, is the largest and most popular among them).

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Online
When: November 23 – December 18
Admission: Free

This Fair puts a new spin on gift-giving. The concept is simple: Make a donation to a locally-based nonprofits, personalize a Gifts That Give Hope greeting card for a loved one, and give that act of kindness as a gift. Thanks to generous shoppers, Gifts That Give Hope is supporting acts of kindness around our community and the world this holiday season.

Holiday Freedom Market
Where: Online
When: November 22 – December 5
Admission: Free

Looking for ethically and sustainably made holiday gifts this season?  Visit the Holiday Freedom Market, an online pop-up launching on Saturday and running for two weeks. They’ve has partnered with brands that employ fair trade and sustainable practices (including local brand Hon’s Honey), many of which support anti-human trafficking initiatives or employ at-risk individuals or survivors of exploitation, to bring you incredible gifts options that you can shop with a clear conscience.   COVID-19 has made things exponentially worse for those who are vulnerable or currently being trafficked. All net proceeds will go to Justice Ventures International, an organization that fights human trafficking.  Local pick-up options will be available.  Note that the website will not go-live until this Saturday, but you can catch a sneak-peek by visiting their Instagram and Facebook pages.

First Sunday Arts Festival Holiday Edition
Where: Calvert & West Streets | Annapolis, MD
When: December 6, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Shop an array of items in person from 50 artists in downtown Annapolis (or shop online from over 200 vendors). Booths will be spread out to make social distancing easier. They ask that masks are worn when inside a vendors tent and that only one household enter a tent at a time. Bring hand sanitizer for convenient hand washing.

Virtual Markets
Where: Online
When: Throughout the season
Admission: What you spend!

Most annual markets have moved online due to Covid-19, which might even make shopping easier. So many of them offer unique finds that make for perfect holiday gifts, plus they often support wonderful organizations, places, and people in the community. Here are some to browse from the comfort of your couch:
Smithsonian Holiday Market
Strathmore Shop Around
Heurich House Christkindlmarkt
Sideshow at the American Visionary Art Museum
Waldorf School Fall Bazaar

 

Know of a great DC holiday event that you don’t see here? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Filed under 2020, 2021, All ages, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

A Chanukah Wonderland Full of Family Fun on December 25!


This post is sponsored by Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Chanukah, DC, Holidays, Special Event, Sponsored Post, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 20-22

Biking the “Lightbattle” at Georgetown Glow


Happy Weekend! And Happy Chanukah to all celebrating on Sunday!

Holiday Entertainment
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit of the season, there’s plenty of it! Stomp along at Step Afrika’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show at the Atlas. There are several versions of The Nutcracker, including one on strings. Storybook classics like The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Imagination Stage. Catch An Irish Carol at Keegan Theatre, and enjoy a Candlelight Christmas at the Kennedy Center. Get details on these shows and many, many more in the 2019 Guide to the Holiday Season. (PS: Adventure Theatre has a special promo going on: Use the code 5OFF to save $5 on tickets for select dates, including this Saturday at 11am!)

Season’s Greenings
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden | National Mall area, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Easily one of DC’s most popular holiday attractions, Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, including a new botanical inspired National Museum of African American History & Culture. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s America’s Gardens-themed exhibit features structures from botanical gardens across the US. Get a glimpse of it before you go in this KFDC post.

Enchant
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through December 29
Admission: Varies by Date, time, and age

There’s been a lot of buzz about the new holiday attraction at Nationals Park — and I think it’s deserving. The world’s largest Christmas light maze and market is dazzling and delightful and really captures the spirit of the holidays. Purchase tickets here, and read a KFDC review of it, including tips for visiting, if you haven’t already.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Where: MGM | National Harbor, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday (& Monday)
Tickets: $32-99+ (find discount)

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the 2019 holiday season with its popular and electrifying stage spectacular. Over 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, the finest singers, original music and seasonal favorites celebrate Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas and New Year’s in a 2 hour breathtaking spectacle. Audiences of all ages will marvel at soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats and extravagant theatrical production numbers.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There’s so much holiday fun to be had around DC, and at every price point. Celebrate Christmas at Mount Vernon, Prez George’s old digs. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Ride the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Check out the various activities at National Harbor. Find details on all of these events and many more in the 2019 Holiday Guide.

Georgetown Glow
Where: Around the Georgetown neighborhood, DC
When: Through January 5
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new, cool light — literally. Georgetown Glow has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations on exhibit throughout the bustling community. Works of local, regional, and international artists are on display in both public and privately-owned spaces, including Georgetown Waterfront Park, on M Street, along the C&O Canal, and more nearby places. Take the family to dinner, then go for a stroll to check them all out. Get a glimpse of a past light show here.

Star Wars Nerf Nights
Where: Badlands Playspace | Rockville, MD
When: Friday, 5:30-8pm
Admission: $30/child includes dinner buffet

Badlands invites kids ages 7+ to join them for an evening of team based challenges. Participants are encouraged to bring the blaster of their choosing and protective eye wear. Badlands will provide the foam darts, a complimentary dinner for the kids, and FUN! PS: Be on the lookout for more weekly themed Nerf nights, including Pokemon, Fortnite, Superheros, and much more.

Miracle on 8th Street
Where: Miracle Theater | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission:

Celebrate the season at the Miracle Theater (located on 8th Street SE) as they show holiday movie classics all weekend. Among the films they’re screening: The Polar Express, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, and A Christmas Story. Visit the website for showtimes and to purchase tickets online.

Portrait Stories & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Perfectly timed for the movie about to open… Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Little Women author Louisa May Alcott and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program and the museum, see this post and this one. And before or after your museum visit, plan to stop by the Downtown Holiday Market for some holiday shopping and cheer!

Hirshhorn/DRAW
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 2-3pm
Admission: Free

Join a free gallery sketching session that pairs an artwork with a drawing exercise. Throughout December, look closely and sketch Sieves in Marcel Duchamp: The Barbara and Aaron Levine Collection. No prior drawing or art experience needed. All ages are welcome. Just drop by, pick up a pencil and a clipboard, and draw!

More Show Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Reserve free tickets for ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
* Shakespeare Theatre Company’s version of Peter Pan and Wendy is a magical experience (find discounts)
* See The Snow Queen at Synetic Theatre (find discounts)
* Take littles to see Art on the Horizon’s Squeakers and Mr. Gumdrop
* Spend Saturday morning with the Great Zucchini at Jammin Java
* Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical) is at the Kennedy Center (review here, look for tickets here)
* Take the fam to a performance of Singin’ in the Rain at Olney Theatre (find discounts)
* Let Newsies entertain you at Arena Stage (find discounts)
* Make it a date night for Dear Jack Dear Louise at Arena Stage (find discounts)

Fun on Ice
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Celebrate the winter solstice weekend with a quintessential seasonal activity — ice skating! Head outside if weather permits: Glide above the Potomac at The Wharf; enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; skim over the meandering paths at Canal Park; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; or do some shopping along with your skating at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. If it’s raining, take it indoors at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in DC, Cabin John or Herbert Wells Ice Rinks in Maryland, or MedStar Ice Arena in Ballston. This post has details on all these ice skating options in the area.

Light the Way
Where: Around the DMV
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks (or the National Zoo, Mormon Temple, or Georgetown) 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. Either way, expect to be dazzled.

Hoops-de-doo
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets prices vary

With so many universities in the area, there’s always some good college basketball action going on during the season — and it’s always a good time for families. Here are some games to watch this weekend:
* George Washington women vs James Madison on Friday at 7pm
* George Mason women vs Howard on Saturday at 12pm
* George Washington men vs Harvard on Saturday at 12pm
* Georgetown men vs Samford on Saturday at 12pm
* George Mason men vs UMBC on Saturday at 4pm
* American women vs GWU on Sunday at 2pm
* Howard men vs Harvard on Sunday at 2pm

Christmas Caroling
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy music from strolling Christmas carolers and a meet-and-greet with Santa and one of his elves! Plan on dinner while you’re there — you have your pick of places (Lupo Marino is our family’s fave).

AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 5
Admission: $16-20/adult, $13-15/senior, $8-10/child

The winter exhibit at ARTECHOUSE celebrates the season with digital art installations and activations inspired by the aurora borealis. It consists of one large-scale and several smaller light art installations, all of them interactive and beautiful, the icy blue, purple, green, and occasionally soft yellow colors giving everything an ethereal feel. Guests can grow leafless winter trees, guide snowballs, and make snowflakes with their own movements detected by sensors. As Sasha aid, “It makes me feel like I have powers!” Get 20% off 2 adults + 2 children Sundays through Thursdays within bar hours (it includes hot chocolate).

Story Time
Where: Kramerbooks | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sunday, 11am
Admission: Free

Take a break from your day and stop by Story Time at Kramers! Staff will feature a children’s book and host various fun activities for your little ones. They’ll watch your kids while you grab a coffee (or, if you have a cranky two-year-old, a mimosa) from the café. All ages welcome! (And FYI, this occurs every Sunday and Wednesday.)

National Menorah Lighting
Where: President’s Park | The National Ellipse, DC
When: Sunday, 4pm
Admission: Free, but you must request tickets

This is the Jewish counterpart to the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Every Chanukah, the National Menorah is lit in a ceremony on the Ellipse. Along with the lighting, there will be live entertainment, plus menorah kits and dreidels to take home. And if you don’t mind waiting in line afterward, you can stay for latkes and donuts. Tickets are free, but you need to order them in advance through the website.

Menorah Lighting
Where: Bethesda Row | Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 5pm
Admission: Free

Join Bethesda Row to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Chanukah with Chabad of Bethesda and light up the menorah on the first night of the Festival of Lights. Enjoy the annual menorah lighting, plus live music and entertainment, food and drink, giveaways, and fun for the whole family.

Chanukah on Ice
Where: Pentagon Row Ice Rink | Pentagon City, VA
When: Sunday, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $10-$13

Celebrate Chanukah with a giant menorah lighting, holiday treats, raffles, and ice skating! Ice skate rentals are included, but food will be sold separately — hot latkes, Kosher hot dogs, and refreshments will be available.

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Planning your Winter Break in DC? Be sure to check out this just posted KFDC Guide.
* If you’re looking for last minute holiday gifts, the KFDC Gift Guide has lots of suggestions for experiences around the area that you can buy with just a few clicks as well as some gift ideas that are totally free!
* And here’s one more. (I got it for my kids and know they’re going to dig it!)
* Heads up: Registration for free Family Workshops (for ages 8-11) at the National Gallery of Art will open January 3.
* Movie rec: Marriage Story on Netflix. It’s real and raw and so terrifically acted.
* And to balance things out, this holiday series, also on Netflix, is funny and sweet (and for adults).
* A really great “Best of 2019.”


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Seasonal, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter