We’re in the throes of the holiday season. Lights are twinkling, mini trains are chugging, sugar plum fairies are dancing, and suckers like me are spending. Here’s a quick list of where your family can enjoy the festivities, plus some non-holiday activities, too. Happy Weekend!
Celebrate the Season – Experience a frozen wonderland, visit Santa in his workshop, view nature and DC-inspired holiday exhibits, drive or stroll through holiday lights, see intricately constructed model train displays. There’s no shortage of activities that celebrate the season; the tough part is deciding which to do. To help choose, check out this guide to DC’s best holiday events.
Merriment in Georgetown – The neighborhood is always bustling, but it will be even more so on Saturday as the Merriment in Georgetown Kick-Off Party celebrates 12 days (December 9-20) of holiday shopping events and promotions at over 50 stores. Festivities will include special sales, pedicab rides, a gingerbread house making contest, musical performances, culinary treats, and more. This will all take place from 1-4pm in the PNC Bank Lot at Wisconsin & M Streets. Admission is free, and parking is just $2.
Christmas Dreams at the National – Snowflakes and Sugar Plum Sweets are in the air as the Virginia Ballet Company and School present selections for their magical, glittering Nutcracker at this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance. Familiar music, lively dances, lovely costumes and charming characters from Tchaikovsky’s classic confection will bring elegant holiday cheer. Performances take place at 9:30am and 11am, and tickets are required for admission. Free tickets are distributed half an hour prior to the start of shows on a first-come first-served basis. Only one ticket per person, and all attendees must be standing in line to receive a ticket. Children must be accompanied by an adult, who remains present for the entire performance. Seating is limited, so get there early.
Jingle All the Way to Georgetown – This fun family event taking place on Sunday from 4-8pm is an opportunity to support a wonderful cause and help make the holiday season brighter for children and families coping with cancer. The 6th Annual Georgetown Jingle is includes a silent auction, tastings by leading DC area chefs, kids activities, and live entertainment, including a visit from Santa and his friends. Themed holiday trees and vignettes created by the Washington area’s top designers will also be showcased for guests to view. And especially for young attendees is the Children’s Workshop, where they can enjoy holiday crafts, decorate cookies, watch movies, and dance. See this post for more information about the event and purchasing tickets.
Scribble, Dot, Pop! – Kids have another weekend to explore art through film at The National Gallery of Art’s monthly film program. This weekend they’ll present a series of animated shorts that celebrate the qualities that make artists. Guests can get a glimpse into the life and art of Andy Warhol in the fun and gentle film Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Andy Warhol, a family-friendly biography of Warhol and an introduction to pop art, along with a few other animated shorts about art, all of the kid-friendly variety. Sessions are at 10:30am on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday in the East Building Auditorium. The program is free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-seated basis. Recommended for ages 4 and up.
Caroling at the Gallery – If you want to put some holiday spirit into your National Gallery visit, go in the afternoon for caroling in the seasonally decorated West Building Rotunda. Guest choirs will lead afternoon sing-alongs that all ages are welcome to join. Carol along with The Mandoleers on Saturday, and the Alexandria Choral Society on Sunday. Performances are at 1:30pm and 2:30pm both days.
Colonial Wassail – Gather in the orchard of Claude Moore Colonial Farm on Sunday from 1-4pm to toast the winter apple trees with singing, dancing, and chants to ensure a “howling crop” next year. Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a roaring bonfire, and 18th-century games along with the wassailing festivities. Admission is $3/adults, $2/children.
Nat Geo Exhibits – Take shelter from the cold and check out a couple of fun kids’ exhibits at the National Geographic Museum. Animal Grossology and Weird But True are fun and fascinating for kids of all ages. Admission is $8/adults, $6/ages 5-12, free for children under 5. The National Geographic Museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW.
Puppet Fun at Discovery Theater – There are a couple of programs for kids to enjoy at the Ripley Center on Saturday. At 12pm, join master artist Bob Brown for Winter Wonderland, a jolly romp with delightful trick marionettes who are out frolicking in the cold. The friendly little critters—bunny, penguin and snowman—perform feats of skill and daring that will leave your young audience holiday-happy. Enjoy the fun and fantasy, mirth and merriment, giggles and amazement—and the sound of favorite holiday music. Recommended for kids ages 2-8. Tickets are $3-8. Children ages 3 and up can join Michele and Ingrid from the popular puppet theatre, Dinorock, for a Puppet Workshop, where they’ll make their own puppets inspired by the little characters from the show. The workshop runs from 10am – 1pm. Tickets are $5/Smithsonian Resident Associate members, $10/non-members. Get your tickets today, as they will not be available the day of the workshop.
Alternative Gifting – If you’re planning to do some holiday shopping this weekend and are looking for unique presents, then check out Gifts That Give Hope: Arlington’s Alternative Gift Fair this Saturday, where shoppers make donations in honor of friends and family as holiday presents. You’ll have an opportunity to learn about and support 13 local non-profits. And if you can’t make the fair, you can still shop online through December 20.
Recreation on Ice – Enjoy a cold-weather outdoor activity and impressive works of art all at once at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. For details and even more places to do your best Boitano or Kerrigan, check out this post about area ice skating venues, both outdoors and in.
The Wright Stuff – It’s Second Saturday at the Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center from 10am -3pm. With a new theme every month, the program engages visitors of all ages in topics related to aviation and space exploration. This weekend will celebrate the world’s first aviators, the Wright Brothers. While admission is free, parking is $15 /car.
Bieber Fever Builds in DC – This is not an activity recommendation; rather it’s a heads-up that the Building Zone at the National Building Museum will be closed from Saturday through Monday, and the entire Museum will be closed on Sunday as the holiday special “Christmas in Washington” takes place there. Justin Bieber will be part of the show, and word has it they are expecting a mob scene because if it, hence the closing of the Building Zone.
And two links that are always useful: