December Events

December 2020 Holiday Events

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Also see the Recurring Events calendar for more December events. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to print it, email or share. 


Tuesday, December 1. National Christmas Lights Day. Giving Tuesday. Mistletoe Day.


Wednesday, December 2. Rockefeller Tree Lighting.

Capitol Tree Lighting, 5 p.m. West Lawn, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC


Thursday, December 3. Make a Gift Day. Nat. Christmas Tree Lighting.

ZOOM CLASS (online): Christmas Tree Decorating: Get the Merrifield Look 12 p.m. Get the inside scoop from Merrifield Gardens designer Whitney Sproul on how we decorate our beautiful trees at Merrifield. Whitney will show you how to achieve a variety of decorating styles using lights, ornaments, ribbons, bows, stems and sprigs. No fee but Registration is required

U.S Botanic Garden ONLINE Cooking Demo: Seasonal Sips. 12 noon – 12:15 p.m. Moscow Mule-inspired ideas for winter and holiday drinks that are warming and healthy as well as festively frisky! No registration required: link.

Smithsonian Holiday Wreath Zoom class (free) 12 Noon. Get in the holiday spirit with Smithsonian Gardens’ Horticulturists and join us as we demonstrate how to decorate a festive evergreen wreath. The presentation will include design tips and tricks, recommended supplies, and a step-by-step tutorial for decorating a fresh-cut, evergreen wreath. The presentation will also include some additional suggestions for assembling and decorating with fresh-cut greens around your home. . A video recording and suggested list will be uploaded after the program so you can follow along at your own pace to create your own wreath.

National Christmas Tree lighting, 5 p.m. The Ellipse, Washington, DC. There will not be a live audience this year but the National Park Service invites you to watch the lighting and performances online on the livestream here.


Friday, December 4 Nat. Cookie Day. Nat. Ice Skating Day.

Cool Yule Tip: USPS Operation Santa toy donations begin today. Donate a toy or gift.

ZOOM Class (online): Container Gardening with Fresh Greens 12 pm. Learn how to create a stunning winter container with using evergreens, berries and branches. Plant and Design Specialist Peg Bier will share her secrets that will allow you to design and maintain a beautiful, festive container garden all season long. No fee but registration is required

Cool Yule Watch Party: Falling For Christmas 7:30 pm


Saturday, December 5 Nat. Candle Day. Intl. Volunteer Day

ONLINE U.S. Botanic Garden Online Class: Winter Wreath-Making. 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Learn how to create a naturally styled wreath using seasonal plants and explore different wreath types including traditional and modern approaches. A variety of local elements and textures will be used as Arrin covers mount varieties, color choice, and technique. Please note: Registration closes at 5 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Friday, December 4, 2020. Participants will be emailed the link to access the lecture at 5:30 p.m. ET on Friday, December 4, 2020. Registration link.

Reston Town Center live entertainment. Roving Holiday Performers, Market Street  12PM-4PM
Holiday characters, stilt walkers, and jugglers. Carolers Town Square Park  1PM-3PM Acapella quartet performing holiday favorites.

City of Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols. Noon – 6 p.m. Live holiday music, crafts, s’mores and hot cider at Old Town Square. Caroling and the lighting of the Christmas Tree at 5:30 p.m. Fairfax.

A Christmas Carol (online) South Lakes High School Theater. 2 p.m. Tickets

ONLINE Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long 4 p.m. STREAMING LIVE ONLINE.  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. Sing along while remaining safer at home.

A Christmas Carol (online) South Lakes High School Theater. 7 p.m. Tickets

ONLINE Darlene Love: Home for the Holidays livestreamed concer with extended on-demand viewing. She performs at the Barns, Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA. $35. Buy tickets.


Sunday, December 6. Second Day of Advent. St. Nicholas Day

Northern Virginia Ukulele Ensemble plays holiday favorites next to the Reston Town Center Tree (outdoors) Noon – 2 pm.

Beltway Brass quintet performs holiday favorites 2 pm – 4 pm in Town Square Park, Reston Town Center.

A Christmas Carol (online) South Lakes High School Theater. 2 p.m. Tickets

Washington National Cathedral Advent Service (live, online). 6 p.m. Contemplative and inspirational service of prayer and music shaped by the words of the prophet Isaiah. Live each Sunday evening in Advent, on website or YouTube channel.

A Christmas Carol (online) South Lakes High School Theater. 7 p.m. Tickets


Monday, December 7


Tuesday, December 8  Brownie Day. Christmas Tree Day


Wednesday, December 9. Christmas Card Day.


Thursday, December 10

ZOOM Class (online) Creative Holiday Gift Toppers  12 noon. Elevate your gifts this Christmas with festive gift wrap and cute, creative toppers. Get inspired and take home tips to wrap up your gifts in holiday cheer this year. This Merrifield Garden Center class is complimentary, but Registration is required.

Smithsonian Zoom Poinsettia class (12 noon) Free. Each year Smithsonian Gardens grows hundreds of poinsettias and decorates majestic evergreen trees to display in the Smithsonian museums and Castle. Watch as Smithsonian Gardens’ extensive poinsettia crop makes its magical transition from small, green slips grown in our greenhouse facility to cheery, colorful holiday plants on display in the interiors of our museums. Then be dazzled by our Interiors Team, learn some of their decorating tricks, and watch as they transform a tree into a festive creation. Jill Gonzalez and Melanie Pyle will entertain us with their skills and give you pointers and ideas to try at home.

Smithsonian Let’s Celebrate Kwanzaa! 2:30 p.m. Free. Kwanzaa is a seven-day festival that celebrates African and African American culture and history introduced by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 in the United States.  Join us as Mr. New-School, Brian Barber, walk us through the 7 principles of Kwanzaa and create a hands-on craft using easy to find materials in this 45 minute online workshop geared to families with children.

U.S Botanic Garden ONLINE Cooking Demo: Stunning Seasonal Salads  made with ingredients persimmon, pomegranate, and a crunchy topping. 12 noon – 12:15 p.m. Free; link.

ZOOM Class (online) Painting Holiday-Themed Rocks. 5 p.m. Register here for this free Michael’s online craft class for ages six to adult, all skill levels and view supply list.

Virtual Trivia Happy Hour for adults 18 and up, sponsored by Reston Public Library. 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Registration opens on November 26 and it is free. An invitation to join this online Zoom event will be sent to registered participants 24 hours before the event.


Friday, December 11. Hanukkah

ZOOM CLASS (online): Decorating with Fresh Greens 12 pm. Get inspired by Merrifield Garden Center Plant Specialist and Designer Peg Bier to spruce up your indoor space by combining the fragrant sprigs of pine, holly, cedar, boxwood and more into holiday wreaths, garlands and arrangements. This class is complimentary, and registration is required. Registration is required.

ZOOM CLASS (online): Winter Wreath-Making. 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. An invitation containing the class link will be emailed the morning of the class from Fairfax County Public Library. Register here. (SOLD OUT

Cool Yule Watch Party: Mistletoe and Menorahs 7:30 pm

Rock the Rink ice skating to rock music on Friday nights 8 pm – 10 pm Reston Town Center. Fee + rental.


Saturday, December 12. Poinsettia Day. Decorate a Gingerbread House Day

Cool Yule Tip: Learn how to select and care for a poinsettia.

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the last day to donate a new, unwrapped toy to Toys for Tots. You can also donate online.

Northern Virginia Ukulele Ensemble plays holiday favorites next to the Reston Town Center Tree (outdoors) Noon – 2 pm.

Michael’s National Online Class: Finding Success in Setting Up a Wellness Mindset. Zoom Class. 2 pm. Make wellness a priority. The key to success is building a plan to guide you to the best practices that’ll work for you. Learn the tips and tricks with Nita from @neatlyplanned as she guides you through setting up your Happy Planner to target inner peace and mental wellness. The new year is the perfect time to reflect, be hopeful for new beginnings and everything that lies ahead. Learn how to step back, be more mindful and be grateful for every day. No challenge will be too great if you set yourself up for success!


Sunday, December 13. Third Day of Advent. Hot Cocoa Day. Geminids Meteor Shower

Cool Yule Tip: The best viewing for the Geminids meteor showers will be very late tonight (11 pm – 2 am) but you shold see some anytime after nightfall.

Northern Virginia Ukulele Ensemble plays holiday favorites next to the Reston Town Center Tree (outdoors) Noon – 2 pm.

Washington National Cathedral Advent Service (live, online). 6 p.m. Contemplative and inspirational service of prayer and music shaped by the words of the prophet Isaiah. Live each Sunday evening in Advent, on website or YouTube channel.

A Charlie Brown Christmas airs on PBS and PBS Kids at 7:30 p.m. EST. Join Cool Yule on Facebook for a watch party! If you don’t have the video or access to PBS, you can watch it on YouTube.


Monday, December 14. Roast Chestnuts Day. Gingerbread Decorating Day. – RAIN

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the New Moon and a total solar eclipse.

Online Workshop: Winter Luminaries. Limited supplies will be available at the City of Fairfax Regional Library or you may gather the following supplies on your own. Don’t forget to register for this Zoom session. Supplies: Card Stock, Large Paper Clips or push pins or regular pins – different sizes will make smaller or larger sized holes, Piece of corrugated cardboard to use under card stock, Battery powered tealights. Registration opens on November 16.

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday packages by standard post.


Tuesday, December 15 Tea Day — RAIN


Wednesday, December 16

Michael’s Last-Minute Jewerly Gifts Class (online) 2 p.m. How to use the Elastic Cord Needle to make a fast and easy stretch bracelet. Supplies needed: bead strands in holiday colors, scissors, everyday clear stretch lacing by Bead Landing (0.8mm), Beadalong Elastic Cord Needle Click on the link to Download Handouts  Free but register online.

ONLINE Washington National Cathedral ONLINE Blue Christmas Service. 7 p.m. For those experiencing grief, loss or hardship, the holiday season is far from the most wonderful time of the year. This online service features reflection, music and meditation for all seeking healing, hope, and wholeness.
ONLINE Step Afrika Musical Holiday Step Show (virtual and free; register online). 7:30 p.m. the world’s first holiday show highlighting the African American tradition of stepping, features fabulous and furry friends from the Arctic Kingdom—Popper the Penguin along with polar bear twins, Pinky and Polo for a fun, family-friendly performance.

Thursday, December 17 – Very cold weather

ONLINE U.S. Botanic Garden Online Cooking Demo: Savory Sides. 12 p.m. – 12:15 p.m. Free; link.

Fairfax County Public Library Holiday Virtual Trivia (adults) 5:45 – 6:45 pm. Register by December 3. 


Friday, December 18. Bake Cookies Day. Nat. Ugly Christmas Sweater Day – Very cold weather

ONLINE Washington National Cathedral ONLINE Gospel Christmas Service. 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Celebrate the Christmas story through Holy Scripture, hymns, and exuberant Gospel music.
Cool Yule Watch Party: A Christmas Movie Christmas 7:30 pm (PS wear your ugly Christmas sweater to the Zoom social!)

Rock the Rink ice skating to rock music 8 pm – 10 pm Reston Town Center fee + rental.

Smithsonian Associates: A Winter Solstice Celebration 7:30 to 11 p.m. on Zoom. Ages 21 and up. Ticket includes access to a live set by DJ Trayze, A cocktail-making demonstration by Mary Beth Albright, food anchor at the Washington Post, with an ingredients list provided in advance so you can sip along at home, a cheese board–building workshop and guided tasting led by DC’s Cheesemonster Studio, a live tour of the winter night sky with staff from George Mason University Observatory, a curator talk with James Deutsch of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage on winter solstice folk traditions from around the world, and trivia. $15 plus cost of materials if desired).


Saturday, December 19  Nat. Wreaths Across America Day  — Cold day

National Wreaths Across America. All veterans cemeteries. Click the link to volunteer.

Reston Town Center live, outdoor  entertainment. Roving Holiday Performers, Market Street  12PM-4PM Holiday characters, stilt walkers, and jugglers. Carolers Town Square Park  1PM-3PM Acapella quartet performing holiday favorites.

ONLINE Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long 4 p.m. STREAMING LIVE ONLINE.  This annual musical celebration reprises this evening with an all-new performance of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. Sing along while remaining safer at home.

Fairfax Symphony and Fairfax Ballet present The Nutcracker. 4 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts. $39 – $89.

Mansion House Christmas Candlelight Tour – Carlyle House, Alexandria. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Tickets required.


Sunday, December 20. Fourth Day of Advent. Go Caroling Day – Rain

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

Northern Virginia Ukulele Ensemble plays holiday favorites next to the Reston Town Center Tree (outdoors) Noon – 2 pm.

Beltway Brass quintet performs holiday favorites 2 pm – 4 pm in Town Square Park, Reston Town Center.

Washington National Cathedral Joy of Christmas Concert. 3 pm – 4 pm. Online. The Cathedral Choral Society performs carols in this cinemantic production. This concert is available on the Cathedral Choral Society’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Michael’s National Online Class: Budget Building: Using your Happy Planner to Achieve your 2021 Finance Goal. 4 pm The new year is the perfect time to get your finances in order. We’re recovering from post-holiday spending and need that fresh start to manifest financial goals, manage budgeting, and start saving. The Happy Planner has planners and accessories to help you organized and track expenses while motivating you to reach your savings goals. Get tips on how to use these tools to your advantage and learn the best practices with Christine from @twinkleplansherday. 

Washington National Cathedral Advent Service (live, online). 6 p.m. Contemplative and inspirational service of prayer and music shaped by the words of the prophet Isaiah. Live each Sunday evening in Advent, on website or YouTube channel.


Monday, December 21. Winter Solstice. Yule.

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

Saturn and Jupiter conjunct in Aquarius, a significant astrological event. Expect changes.


Tuesday, December 22. Nat. Christmas Cookie Exchange Day

ZOOM Online Family Holiday Karaoke. 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by Chantilly Public Library. Grab a pretend microphone and get ready to show off your singing skills during our holiday karaoke. A Zoom link to this event will be emailed to registrants. Registration is required (R). All ages are welcome, one registration per family. Register now; limited space.


Wednesday, December 23. Festivus. Nat. Pfferneusse Day – Cold day

Washington National Cathedral ONLINE Christmas Lessons & Carols Service. 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Through readings from Holy Scripture, favorite hymns, instrumental music, we move from Creation to the manger in Bethlehem, telling the ancient story of God’s continued love as shown in Christ in this online service.
NORAD Santa Tracker goes live at midnight.

Thursday, December 24. Christmas Eve. Nat. Egg Nog Day. Dr Fauci’s Birthday. – RAIN

U.S. Botanic Garden Online Cooking Demo: Decadent Desserts. 12 p.m. – 12:15 p.m. Free; link.

Washington National Cathedral ONLINE Family Christmas Service. 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. This joyful online service of carols, prayers, and the Nativity story is told from the Bishop’s Garden—and includes live animals!
ONLINE Manassas Ballet presents The Nutcracker. 7:30 p.m. $25. Purchase advance, on-demand tickets from Vimeo; 30-day viewing period. Note: from the trailer, this looks really good!

The Nutcracker Cast A from Christina Brooks on Vimeo.Washington National Cathedral ONLINE Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist. 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. One of the Cathedral’s most beautiful services of the year is presented online. Readings from Holy Scripture, favorite hymns and seasonal choral and instrumental music all herald the birth of Christ.


Friday, December 25. Merry Christmas! National Pumpkin Pie Day

ONLINE Washington National Cathedral Christmas Day Organ Recital 12 Noon – 1 p.m. Program of festive music.

Cool Yule Watch Party: 12 Pups of Christmas 7:30 pm


Saturday, December 26. Kwanzaa. Thank You Note Day. Candy Cane Day.


Sunday, December 27. National Fruitcake Day. Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day. – Very cold weather

Washington National Cathedral Online Retreat: Moving Mindfully Into the New Year. 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Explore ways to take stock of the old year while looking forward to the new through guided meditations, individual reflections and shared ritual. Remember and release 2020 and set our intentions for 2021. A Zoom link and password along with any relevant materials for the program will be sent to you before the program. Advanced registration is required; registration closes at 5 pm EDT on December 26

Michael’s National Online Class: Setting and Tracking your Intentions for 2021 Using your Happy Planner. 4 p.m. 2021 is going to be our year, we can feel it! Let’s put the past behind us and set new intentions for a fresh start. Take this opportunity to reset and put your goals back in motion with Mary Ellen from @planningwithbumble. Use your Happy Planner to keep you on track while also giving you space to reflect and overcome any challenges that lies ahead. We don’t know what’s in store but we can manage how we will feel about it, so learn the best practices to becoming your best self! Free but registration required. 


Monday, December 28.  Nat. Call a Friend Day  — Cold day

Michael’s National Online Class: Ready Set, Reset, Go! Using Your Happy Planner Gear to set your New Year, Accessories and Extension Packs. Free. 4 pm – 5 pm. New year, new you! Always wanted to get into planning? Hoping for some more organization tips for a clear mind? This is the perfect time to get into gear and learn how to use your Happy Planner, accessories, and extension packs to suit you the best. With endless customization options and accessories to elevate your game, learn the best practices with Heather Kell from @kellofaplan. It can be overwhelming to get started so get a crash course from an expert!


Tuesday, December 29 — Cold day

Washington National Cathedral online presentation: Christmastide. 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Christmas is not just a day, but an entire season—the Twelve Days of Christmas—that lasts until January 6. Docent Lori Amos explores Christmas images and symbolism, both inside and outside the Cathedral, which can help us to experience the familiar Christmas story in new ways. Registrants will be sent information with a Zoom login.


Wednesday, December 30  Cold Moon Full Moon. Bacon Day.


Thursday, December 31. New Year’s Eve. Champagne Day. — RAIN

Cool Yule Tip: The long-range weather forecast for New Year’s Eve 2020 predicts a cold night with possible inclement weather. Please make your plans accordingly and if possible, remain safer at home.

Cool Yule Tip: Today is the last day to register for the First Day Hike Contest sponsored by Virginia State Parks.

U.S. Botanic Garden Online Cooking Demo: Brilliant Brunch. 12 p.m. – 12:15 p.m. Free; link to watch.

Meadowlark Garden Winter Walk of Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. $8 – $13. Vienna.

Bull Run Festival of Lights (drive-through) is open 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. $20 – $25/car. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville.

Ice and Lights: Winter Village at Cameron Run is open 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. $5 for the village, plus $8 for optional skating and $4 skate rental. Alexandria.

Kings Dominion is not open on New Year’s Eve this year. Busch Gardens “Christmas Celebration” is open, as of this writing, until 10 p.m.

25th First Night Alexandria Festival. The street festival, mutliple venue expereince will not be offered this year. Instead, customers can choose from a drive-in experience with no live performances or a live stream link ($20) of the event. Even the fireworks will be pre-recorded.


Canceled Due to the Corona Virus

  • All DMV metro-area parades, including The Scottish Christmas Walk, The Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, the Manassas Christmas Parade and the Reston Town Center Christmas Parade
  • Zoo Lights
  • City of Fairfax Holiday Market
  • National Gallery of Art Rotunda concerts
  • The Wolf Trap (live) Sing-a-Long (will be live-streamed, instead)
  • Many Nutcracker Ballet performances (some will be live-streamed(
  • All of the Kennedy Center holiday performances
  • In-person services at Washington National Cathedral (will be live-streamed or recorded)