DC Loves the Holidays

Photo courtesy of FredoAlvarez
Union Station Wreaths, courtesy of FredoAlvarez

Ok, I confess.

My initial intent with doing a “Holiday Happenings” article was to hit the majority of the cool stuff happening in the area. But as I did more and more research, the more amazed (and flummoxed) I became with the sheer volume of cool holiday stuff to do around here.

This’ll be my third Christmas in the area and my first real foray into finding out what all is going on to sate my holiday appetite. Normally we just hit the area neighborhood to ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ over light displays but this year? We wanted to really take advantage of the season.

Hence wanting to take this project on. Boy, am I ashamed to say I was utterly ignorant on the goings-on around here during December.

Photo courtesy of blahmni
Untitled, courtesy of blahmni

So rather than giving some lengthy blow-by-blow of stuff to do, I’m going to suggest you check out these listings here that are way more comprehensive. Instead, I’ll just give a brief rundown of some cool things going on.

First off, tomorrow – Dec. 2 – we’ve got the Capitol Visitor Center’s grand opening. Tom managed to check out the place before the public; find out what’s in store for you when you go.

Candlelight tours your thing? Gotcha covered.

The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is on Dec. 4, so bring those cameras – you might capture the winning photo for our holiday contest!

Alexandria’s annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is on Saturday, Dec. 6. Always entertaining; last year’s was immense fun as we’d taken some out-of-town guests to it. And if you miss that, then catch Annapolis’ Boat Parade on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Eastport Yacht Club.

For Hanukkah celebrants, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington has their “Hands-On Hanukkah!” event on Dec. 14. The National Menorah Lighting is at the Ellipse on Dec. 21 – free, but you’ll need tickets. For you singles, there’s the Matzo Ball organized by the Society of Young Jewish Professionals on Dec. 24.

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland is this weekend, Dec. 5-6.

The Downtown DC Holiday Market returns on F Street NW in front of the National Portrait Gallery. The market runs from Dec. 5 – 23 and is open from noon – 7 p.m.

The Ritz-Carlton at Pentagon City has a life-size gingerbread house on display from now through Jan. 2. The house is big enough for kids to walk inside of it, take pictures, etc. The hotel will also have their pastry chef overseeing a gingerbread decorating workshop that includes a light buffet lunch ($54; $25 for lunch only) on Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

There’s a slew of holiday concerts coming to the area, including Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral (Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7 at 4 p.m.); Holiday Pops at the Kennedy (Dec. 11-14); The US Army Band at the DAR Constitution Hall (Dec. 12-14); free concerts at the Willard Hotel (Dec. 1-23); and the Christmas Candlelight Concert at the Kennedy (Dec. 21-22), to name a few.

The National Cathedral has other events during this month; there’s probably something for everyone.

You can attend a Kwanzaa celebration in Cheverly, MD on Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Prince George’s Publick Playhouse, or at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum on Dec. 27, 29 and 31.

For those of you who love light displays, here’s a long list of them in the area.

Oh, and let’s not forget the ‘I feel like a kid now’ train displays across the region, either.

Share your favorite upcoming event(s) in comments; maybe we’ll see you there! Happy holidays, all!

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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