Mark your calendar for these DC-area holiday events

IMG_1271 All events listed are free, unless otherwise noted.  There are plenty of other holiday offerings, but I thought I would list just the free or affordable ones here. 

I will update the list and I appreciate submissions and recommendations.  For updates, check the left side bar of the Cool Yule Blog.

Holiday Events

Friday, November 1 – 30

Holiday Mail for Heroes from The Red Cross. Tysons Corner Mall, Level 2 (outside of Bloomingdale’s and American Girl). Send a holiday card to service members, veterans and military families Located on level 2 outside of Bloomingdale’s and American Girl. Hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2-6PM
  • Tuesday, Thursday 10AM-2PM
  • Saturday, Sunday 11AM-5PM
  • Black Friday 11/29 9AM-3PM

Friday, November 15

  • 5:30 – 10 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.

Thursday, November 21

Friday, November 22

  • 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Williamsburg, VA opens this evening, and is open weekends and select weeks through December 31st, tickets are $30.

Saturday, November 23

Monday, November 25

  • 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cathedral Creche Exhibition: What Child Is This? National Cathedral, Washington, DC. The annual exhibition of nativity scenes from around the world runs through January 12, 2014. Located in the crypt (lower level), just outside Bethlehem Chapel.

Tuesday, November 26

  • 8 p.m. CBS. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is on TV tonight.

Thursday, November 28, Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!

Friday, November 29, Black Friday

Saturday, November 30, Small Business Saturday

Sunday, December 1, First Day of Advent

Monday, December 2

Wednesday, December 4

  • 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. ASL-Signing Santa, Fair Oaks Mall. American Sign Language Signing Santa and Mrs. Claus, welcoming children who are deaf and hard of hearing to the interactive Ice Palace experience.

Friday, December 6, St. Nicholas Day

Saturday, December 7, Pearl Harbor Day

  • 10 a.m. Decorating with Fresh Greens and Flowers, Merrifield Garden Center, Fair Oaks. Learn how to use fresh cut pine, holly, cedar, boxwood, magnolia and other plants to fill your home with the fragrance and beauty of the season. Learn how to combine these greens with fresh flowers and complementary accents in holiday centerpieces, garlands and wreaths.
  • 10 a.m. Create a Holiday Theme, Merrifield Garden Center, Gainesville. Learn how to create holiday displays with a unifying theme throughout your home, from an inviting entryway and elegant tabletop to your Christmas tree and gift wrapping.
  • 12 Noon Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols, with tree lighting ceremony 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Live holiday music, hot cider, s’mores by the Yule log, caroling and lighting of the Christmas tree in the winter wonderland on the grounds of the Kitty Pozer Garden. Animated lights run through January 5, 2014.
  • 4 p.m. Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long 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!
  • 7 p.m. Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, Old Town Alexandria, VA (waterfront).

Sunday, December 8, Second Day of Advent

Wednesday, December 12, Poinsettia Day

Friday, December 14

  • 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tysons Corner Center German Christmas Market. Also Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. In partnership with the German Embassy and the city of Dresden, Tysons Corner Center offers a unique outdoor artisan holiday market, German fare, and entertainment.

Saturday, December 14

  • 10:30 a.m. Christmas Story film for children 8 and up (2007, set in Lapland), East Building Concourse, Auditorium, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday packages by standard post.

Sunday, December 15, Third Day of Advent

  • 11:30 a.m. Christmas Story film for children 8 and up (2007, set in Lapland), East Building Concourse, Auditorium, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Claude Moore Wassail, Claude Moore Colonial Farm 6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA. Gather in the Farm’s orchard to wassail the trees with singing, dancing and chants to ensure a “howling crop.” Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a bonfire and 18th century games. Weather permitting – call ahead (703) 442-7557.
  • 5 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Christmas in the Time of Jane Austen, Sully Plantation, Chantilly. See how Virginians celebrated the holidays while we were still an English colony. Learn dance steps, play a game of chance and take home a recipe for a great cake. House tour is 45 min. outside festivities available till 8 p.m. This event has a $10 fee.

Friday, December 20

  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday greeting cards

Saturday, December 21, First Day of Winter

  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing Priority Mail packages.

Sunday, December 22, Fourth Day of Advent

Tuesday, December 24, Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 25, Merry Christmas!

  • National museums are closed today but Mount Vernon and the U.S. Botanic Garden are open.
  • 4 p.m. Vespers Service, National Cathedral
  • 5:15 p.m. Organ Recital, National Cathedral
  • 6 p.m. All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam concert, Kennedy Center

Thursday, December 26, Kwanzaa begins, Boxing Day

Tuesday, December 31, New Year’s Eve

Wednesday, January 1, Happy New Year!

Monday, January 6, Epiphany

  • Cool Yule Tip: You can buy authentic “King Cakes” at La Madeleine Bakery

Recurring Events

National Cathedral Creche Exhibit, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. through January 12.

Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on these dates: November 28 – January 5.

Zoo Lights at the National Zoo, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m, 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.

Gallery Talk at The National Gallery of Art: The Christmas Story in Art 1 p.m. on these dates: December 6, 9, 11, 13, 17, 18, 21, 22 (50 minutes) West Building Main Floor, Rotunda

Visit with the Real Santa Claus at Merrifield Garden Center, Merrifield, VA 12-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on these dates: November 24-December 23, closed Mondays. Don’t miss the “press conference,” songs, an stories at the beginning of each session.

Millenium Stage Concerts at the Kennedy Center, 6 p.m. nightly. The holiday concerts are free but tend to be crowded. The good news is you can also watch them for free, live, online on the Kennedy Center website.

The Willard Hotel nightly choral concerts, 5:30 p.m.- 7 p.m. through December.

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.


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