Category Archives: Holiday Fun

✨ Last day for these holiday events ✨

Photo by Elly Fairytale on

Merry 8th Day of Christmas!

As the weekend winds down, today is the last day to experience some favorite holiday events this Christmas season.

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of LightsMeadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. Through January 2 open daily from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. 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. Advance registration is recommended.

Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. Through January 2. 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Two and half mile drive-through light display and walk-around winter carnival and Holiday Village with attractions and s’mores.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Wiliamsburg, VA is a highly recommended holiday experience. Runs on select nights through Jan 2.

Winter Lights in McLean Central Park is a walk-through event running from early November to mid-January 2022. McLean Central Park: 1468 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean

Ice and Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. nightly. Through January 2, including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission to village is $10. Skating and admission is $22 and tickets must be purchased online in advancel. 55×80’ Real Ice Rink, 20’ Walk thru Tree, 100’ RGB Lighted Tunnel, lit trees and winter displays, Fire Pits, Heated Igloos, Wreath Photo Op, Bling & Things Retail Shop, Slice & Ice Pizza, donuts & more.

Kings Dominon celebrates Winterfest in Doswell, VA on select nights through January 2. Tickets begin at $32. The event includes seasonal light displays, rides and attractions, performances, character meet and greets, ice skating (additional fee), cookie decorating (additional fee).

🎀 Merry Christmas! 🎀

Best wishes for a blessed Merry Christmas from your friend, Mary, at Cool Yule!

Today will be an unseasonably warm and humid day in Northern Virginia, with a high expected of 67 degrees. It will be a great day for outdoor activities, including outdoor ice skating, walking, biking and visiting parks and playgrounds.

There is a surge of Covid infections. If gathering with friends and family outside of your household, please consider taking precautions, such as meeting outdoors and wearing masks, regardless of your vaccination status.

Christmas is a lovely time to spend at home but if you want to go out for a meal, some ice skating or to see some spectacular light displays, here are some ideas…

Last minute gifts and grocery items

  • Most grocery stores and drug stores will be open until about 5 p.m.
  • Grab some healthy snacks, like veggie and fruit trays, guacamole, veggie sushi, salsa and hummus, etc.
  • Pick up something fun to read, like Reader’s Digest, your favorite magazine or a seasonal paperback.

Staying safer at home

  • Call friends and family and wish them a Merry Christmas.
  • Take a long walk during the day.
  • Christmas services are available to view on Youtube – Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal) and The National Basilica (Catholic).
  • TubiTV has many Christmas movies free to watch online. Check out my movie recommendations.
  • Complete self-care acitivities, like guided meditation, brief workouts and yoga, reading – catch up on the self-care challenge!
  • Make one meal special today – breakfast/brunch, lunch or dinner.
  • Play card games and board games.
  • Get a head-start on your New Year’s resolutions or craft a vision board.
  • Listen to Christmas music while keeping your hands busy on a project, like coloring, crafting or a puzzle. You can listen to my playlist of 30 Christmas favorites on the home page of the Cool Yule Blog.

Coffee Runs and Dining 

  • Remember, you can always order food to go or to be delivered, if you are remaining safer at home.
  • Some restaurants that are open on Christmas Day include Denny’s, iHOP and some Starbucks, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts.
  • McCormick and Schmidts, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Morton’s, Fogo da Chao, Macaroni Grill and other similar upscale chain restaurants will be open on Christmas Day. Many of these restaurants ask that you remained masked on the premises whenever you are not actually eating or drinking. Consider getting take-out orders for additional safety.

Ice Skating

  • Cameron Run Ice and Lights in Alexandria will be open for skating and looking at lights.
  • The outdoor ice skating rink at Reston Town Center will be open from 1:30 pm to 11 pm. Even if you don’t skate, it’s fun looking at the skaters.

More Seasonal fun

  • You can visit the National Christmas Tree in back of the White House and the Capitol Tree from 10 am – 5 pm. It will be crowded, though so please consider wearing a mask and social distancing.
  • Save yourself the trip: The US Botanic Gardens will be closed (as will all DC museums) and the outdoor display with model trains will also be closed. But you could chek out the Capitol Tree!
  • In Williamsburg, Christmas Town at Busch Gardens is open and I highly recommend it.
  • Save yourself the trip: Kings Dominion Winterfest in Doswell is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But it is open on New Year’s Eve!
  • In the evening, the walk-through Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights (Vienna) is open as is the drive-through Bull Run Lights and Winter Village in Manassas.
  • The new attraction, Tinsel! at Holiday Inn Dulles in Sterling is open for 2-hour visits.

🎄 Merry Christmas Eve! 🎄

I hope you have the most wonderful Christmas ever!

Want to know what fun events are happening today? Here are some suggesions on how to spend today. I am emphasizing outdoor itineraries today, for Covid safety.

Some highlights today

  • 1 pm: Water skiing Santa and his friends, Alexandria waterfront
  • 8 pm: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – ABC
  • 8 pm: A Holly Dolly Christmas (with Dolly Parton) – CBS
  • 8 pm: It’s A Wonderful Life (movie with Jimmy Stewart) – NBC
  • 8:30 pm: Shrek the Halls – ABC
  • 9 pm: Disney Prep & Landing – ABC
  • 9:30 pm: Disney Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice – ABC
  • 11:30 pm: Christmas Eve Mass (with the Pope) – NBC

Safety Today for You and the Community

A big surge in holiday travel is expected today. In addition to the Covid surge, people tend to drink and drive during the holidays, so it’s a good idea to take precautions. Consider

  • Remembering that the greatest thing we can do for health care workers right now is not to beome another patient in an already over-stressed system.
  • Spending at least a few minutes in prayer or quiet reflection.
  • Call or Zoom with family and friends.
  • Remaining safer at home. Watch movies, listen to music, play games, cook special meals, bake cookies, make mulled cider, take walks, read and work on the December self-care challenge.
  • Instead of going to church, watching a live service online.
  • Take a virtual tour of the White House decorations.
  • Driving on secondary roads instead of major highways. It takes longer but there are fewer and less severe accidents.
  • Staying off the roads completely after dark.
  • Wearing a mask anytime you are indoors and not in your home.
  • Staying home if you feel sick at all.
  • Be a little more patient, if you are spending time with family. Take time for yourself and breathe and stretch. Manage your expectations and focus on the positive.

Visit the National Christmas Tree

Photographer: Nathan King, National Park Service

Have you seen the National Christmas Tree up close and in person yet? If no, there’s still time.

This year, the tree is a white fir tree with warm white lights and sparkling red and white ball decorations. The tree is crowned with a Christmas star.

The lights on the nation’s 99th National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC turn on around sunset each evening and turn off promptly at 10:00 pm Sunday-Thursday and 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. The Pathway of Peace on the Ellipse (in back of the White House) is open through January 1. Hours are 10:00 am-10:00 pm Sunday-Thursday, and 10:00 am-11:00 pm Friday and Saturday.

In addition to the National Tree, there are 58 state and territory trees to see.

Transporation and Comfort

The Farragut West Metro station is the closet metro stop. If you drive, please note the parking spaces — I got a parking ticket on Christmas Eve once! There is a Potbelly sandwich shop nearby (1701 Pennsylvania Avenue) if you are hungry or thirsty. It is the most convenient and economical food place in the area and the food is pretty good. It is open 8 a.m. – 7 pm. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and of course, it has a restroom. Another quick place to use the restroom is the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery (which is almost directly across from the White House) when it is open. There is typically a National Park Service concession stand but it’s not very good, it’s expensive and the lines are long. Another option is to bring a water bottle or cocoa thermos with you.


Plan for a Day and Night of Christmas Eve Fun

Ho ho ho! Christmas Eve is right around the corner! How will you keep merry this festive day? Well, here are some options to consider.

A Morning and Early Afternoon in Our Nation’s Capital

  1. Venture into DC. Take Metro to the Federal Center SW stop in the morning and visit the outdoor train display at the U.S. Botanic Garden (next to the Capitol) in DC (open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but it is closed on Christmas Day).
  2. Walk over to the adjacent Capitol and check out the Capitol Christmas Tree.
  3. Walk down the mall in the Walk down the mall in the direction of the Washington Monument. If you need a break, lunch, coffee or gelato, enter the National Gallery of Art to the Cascades Cafe downstairs. 
  4. The National Gallery of Art Rotonda upstairs is typically decorated for the holidays and is a worthy photo stop, if it is.
  5. Resume your walk, pausing to take in the outdoor skating rink at the National Gallery of Art will be open.
  6. Across from the Washington Monument on your right will be the Ellipse. You’ll see the National Christmas Tree, surrounded by 50+ state trees.
  7. A few steps away, you’ll also see the exterior Christmas decorations of The White House.
  8. Hop back on the metro before rush hour starts. Farragust West is the closest stop.
  9. If you want to do this in reverse and start with the Tree, never a bad idea on Christmas Eve, the grounds open at 10 a.m.

A Morning and Early Afternoon in Old Town Alexandria 

  • Walk along King Street, window shopping.
  • Take a cocoa break. There is a Dunkin Donuts close to the King Street Metro (donuts and bagels) and a Starbucks (gingerbread) closer to the Waterfront.
  • There are bathrooms at the Alexandria Visitor Center and the Torpedo Factory, if you need them.
  • Santa and his friends will be waterskiing at the Alexandria Waterfront at 1 p.m.
  • Time for lunch! After exploring the waterfront, lunch options include The Charthouse (on the Waterfront), Lena’s (wood-fired pizza on KIng Street) and La Madeleine (French food franchise), also on KIng Street.

Late afternoon and evening at Reston Town Center 

  • Starting at Fountain Square, take in the sights of the splendid Christmas tree, lights and decorations outdoors.
  • Pop into the Hyatt Regency Reston hotel lobby to check out the Christmas decorations.
  • Watch the skaters at the outdoor ice skating rink at Reston Town Center  open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Even if you don’t skate, it’s fun to watch.
  • Last-minute shopping for stocking stuffers and gifts includes Francesca’s, Paper Source, Scrawl Books and Sephora. The Fed Ex store has a nice variety of 2022 planners.Walk along Market Street to Reston Town Square and window shop.
  • For a late lunch or afternoon snack, there’s a Starbuck’s coffee, Peet’s coffee, Chipotle and Potbelly for quick snacks or a lunch or splurge at Clyde’s or one of the many other upscale casual restaurants.

Holiday Light Displays

  • Meadowlark Garden’s Winter Walk of Lights in Vienna is open 5 pm – 10 pm.
  • The drive through Bull Run Festival of Lights in Manassas is open 5:30 pm – 10 pm.
  • Ice and Lights at Cameron Run in Alexandria is open 5 pm – 10 pm.
  • Tinsel! at the Holiday Inn Dulles in Sterling is open for visits in 2-hour increments starting at 5 pm, 5:30 pm, 6 pm and 6:30 pm.

…and out of town

  • Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Wiilliamsburg is open from 2 pm – 10 pm; also on Christmas Day. Colonial Williamsburg is also open. The train to Williamsburg takes you there if you want to avoid traffic.
  • The train will also take you to my hometown of Richmond, VA with its decorated houses, Carytown, the Byrd Theater, the Jeffferson Hotel and casual dining spots. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (admission is pay what you can).

Have seafood for dinner

Celebrate the Italian American customs of a Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes. Or make cioppino with seven kinds of seafood. I would use cod (not halibut or salmon) in this recipe and add calamari and bay scallops to make seven seafoods.

Have deep pockets this holiday? Visit Clyde’s Chevy Chase or Clyde’s Mark Center (Alexandria) for cocktails and oysters on the half shell, oysters rockefeller, crab and artichoke dip, whitefish pate, steamed musssels and calamari, fried oysters, baked rockfish and more. Just skip the bland jumbo shrimp cocktail.


order Chinese takeout! That’s what I’m going to do! My favorites: Chopsticks in Herndon for Mu Shu and Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners (Falls Church) for Kung Pao chicken and sesame balls.

Make some home-made egg nog

Christmas Eve is also National Egg Nog Day. White the pre-made stuff is very good, here is a recipe in case you want to make your own.

Read a Christmas classic

Curl up tonight in front of ye olde TV set

Television programming on Christmas Eve includes…

  • 8 pm: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – ABC
  • 8 pm: A Holly Dolly Christmas (with Dolly Parton) CBS
  • 8 pm: It’s A Wonderful Life (movie with Jimmy Stewart) – NBC
  • 8:30 pm: Shrek the Halls – ABC
  • 9 pm: Disney Prep & Landing – ABC
  • 9:30 pm: Disney Prep & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice – ABC
  • 11:30 pm: Christmas Eve Mass (with the Pope) – NBC

Fill your 2021 calendar with these self-care dates

Happy New Year! Are we having fun yet?

If you read my post on January self-care, then you know that today is the day for filling up your new 2021 calendar with events and special days. Planning happy times to look forward to is a wonderful form of self-care!

Make sure you don’t miss thse self-care days in 2021…

Jan. 8
Bubble Bath
Jan. 9
Vision Board Day
Jan. 24
Compliment Day
Feb. 28
Intl. Hygge Day
Mar. 6
National Day of Unplugging
Mar. 15
Napping Day
Mar. 19 World Sleep DayMar. 20
Intl. Day of Happiness
Mar. 26
Self-Confidence Day
 Apr. 7
Walking Day
Apr. 9
Apr. 21
World Creativity Day
Apr. 25
Crystal Day and National Mani Pedi Day
May 1
World Laughter Day and
National Fitness Day and Therapeutic Massage Day
May 21
Meditation Day and
UN Intl. Tea Day
Jun. 21
Intl. Day of
Jul. 24 Intl. Self-Care DayAug. 1
National Planner Day
Aug 2
Coloring Book Day
 Aug. 15
National Relaxation Day
Sep. 6 National Read a Book DaySep. 12 Mindfulness DaySep. 13
Positive Thinking Day
Sep. 14
Coloring Day
Sep. 19
Intl. Declutter Day
Sep. 21 World Gratitude DayOct. 10
World Mental Health Day
Nov. 3
Stress Awareness Day
Nov. 13
World Kindness
Nov. 27
Aura Awareness
Dec. 4
Candle Day

Fun dates for your 2021 calendar

Photo by Marta Branco on

Happy New Year! Are you ready to delve into your new calendar, datebook or planner? Here are some fun dates to look forward to while we remain safer at home, for the present. There are always days to celebrate, even if you are at home alone. Check in tomorrow for a list of the year’s self-care days! And the day after that for foodie days!


Jan. 2 National Introverts Day (hello!)

Jan 2 – 3 Quadranids Meteor Shower is tonight!

Jan. 4 Trivia Day. Here is a trivia question: what is the January birthstone?

Jan. 6 Epiphany. Eat a King Cake!

Jan. 23 Poirier and McGregor face off in a UFC match. I hope McGregor loses, that son of a bitch. Oh, sorry. Quarter in the cuss jar.

Jan 28 Lego Day! I have never played with legos so I don’t have anything funny to say about it. But I have stepped on them. Soooo painful.

Jan 31 Grammy Awards. Trevor Noah is hosting, how cool is that?


Feb. 2 Groundhog Day. You’re going to watch the movie, aren’t you? Again!

Feb. 7 Superbowl 50! The Weekend is performing for the half-time show!

Feb. 12 Chinese New Year! It is the Year of the Ox. A good year to be strong!

Feb. 13 Celebrate pre-Valentine’s Day with your girlfriends on Galentine’s Day!

Feb. 15 It’s New York Fashion week. What wild ensembles will we see?

Feb. 16 Mardi Gras! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Feb 25 Pokemon Day and the 25th Anniversary!

Feb 28 Golden Globes are on tonight. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting.


There’s going to be a Friends reunion! Could I BE any more excited about it?

Mar. 6 National Day of Unplugging! Can you go a WHOLE day without electronics? I’m not sure I can but I’m going to try.

Mar. 12 The 1 year anniversary of the Covid-19 Pandemic (as declared by WHO). The good news: if you are reading this, you are alive and not on a ventilator. Count those blessings and stay safe!

Mar. 14 Pi Day! What does it mean? I don’t know, I’m a blogger, not a mathematician.

Mar. 16 Yay, it’s my birthday! Happy Birthday to meeeeeeee! Last year, we went on lockdown so the bar is pretty low, I mean, almost anything this year will top last year’s birthday.

Mar 20 The Cherry Blossom Festival begins. I hope we can go see the cherry blossoms this year.

Mar 22. World Figure Skating Championships start!


Apr. 1 Major League Baseball opening day! No fooling! Go Nats!

Apr. 9 Unicorn Day! Are unicorns still in?

Apr 18. Country Music Awards are today!

Apr. 21 Queen Elizabeth II’s 95th Birthday! And look for the Lyrids Meteor Showers!

Apr. 23 The Apple Blossom Festival kicks off in Winchester, God willing.

Apr. 25 The Academy Awards are on! Why not have an Oscars party at home? Taye Diggs is hosting.


May 1 Today is the Kentucky Derby! Wear a big hat and drink a julep. Oh and horses run really fast.

May 2 It’s International Harry Potter Day, wizards, muggles and witches!

May 4 It’s Stars Wars Day so may the Fourth be with you! And uh oh, more meteor showers tonight!

May 5 Aye, caramba, it’s Cinco de Mayo!

May 7 Marvel’s Black Widow premieres!

May 8 Yay, it’s National Train Day! Also Miniature Golf Day!

Mid May I’m sorry to tell you this but we are going to be invaded by swarms of cicadas (Brood X) so bad, you’ll think it’s 2020 or something.

May 15 It’s the Preakness! Bet on your favorite horse!

May 16 Today is National Classic Movie Day! Have you seen Bringing Up Baby? (hint: there is no baby in the movie)

May 21 Talk Like Yoda Day it is.

May 25 Today is Geek Pride Day! Let your Geek Flag fly!

May 26 Ooh there is a lunar eclipse today and it’s a full moon, a super moon and a blood moon. Dang. Hang up some garlic.

May 29 Oh, joy, it’s a Mercury Retrograde!


June 1 Atlantic Hurricane season begins. Is it me, or are these hurricanes coming earlier and earlier?

June 3 Happy Birthday, First Lady Jill Biden!

June 30 Today is National Beach Day! Hopefully, there will not be a hurricane!


July 2 Today is World UFO Day! Maybe the aliens will save us.

July 3 Today is Drop a (painted) Rock Day. Maybe paint an alien on it!

July 10 Today is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. No matter how old you are, pack up and head out.

July 17 Today is World Emoji Day. What did we do before emojis? Oh, I remember. We drew little smiley faces.

July 23 The Summer Olympics start in Tokyo today!

July 28 Even more meteor showers! Delta Aquarids


Aug. 5 Oooh it is Blogger Day! That means you are supposed to send me flowers and gifts 🙂

Aug 8 Even better, today is National Tiki Day! Let’s have a luau!

Aug. 11 Well, yes, even more meteor showers! Thse are the Perseids and if you lie on your back late at night, you will see them. Ants will also crawl in your shirt and bite you, but you can’t have everything.

Aug. 14 It is National Bowling Day! I am astoundingly good at bowling which is weird, considering how much I bump into walls and doors.

Aug. 16 It is National Roller Coaster Day. You can cut in front of me. ALL of you can cut in front of me.

Aug. 21 It is Hawaiian Shirt Day! Aloha!


Sept. 8 It is Star Trek Day. Live well and prosper.

Sept. 9 It is National Teddy Bear Day. That means you take your teddy bear to work and on the Metro and everything.

Sept. 19 Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrr!

Sept. 20 The lovely Harvest Moon shines tonight.


Oct. 1 Guess what? Walt Disney World is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary today!

Oct. 2 Today is Name Your Car Day. My car is almost 15 years old. Her name is “Atta, Girl.” Every time she starts up, I pat her on the dashboard and murmur, “Atta, Girl” affectionately.

Oct. 4 Today is the Day the Church Blesses the Animals.

Oct. 20 Happy Birthday, VP Kamala Harris! Oh, it also International Sloth Day.

Oct. 30 Tonight is Her-o-ween, a holiday I made up. It’s like Galentine’s Day, only for Halloween.


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions are this month! I think it’s going to the B52s!

Nov. 5 Marvel’s “The Eternals” premieres. Are they like the Avengers? I don’t know.

Nov. 10 Today is Sesame Street Day! I grew up on Sesame Street which explains so many things.

Nov. 20 Happy Birthday, President Biden!


Dec. 4 There is a total solar eclipse today!

Dec. 18 Today is Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day! What’s your favorite color?

Dec. 23 Today is Festivus, a time for feats of strength and airing of grievances.

Dec. 24 Happy Birthday, Dr. Fauci, and God bless you

And it’s almost 2022!

Festive and fun events for your holiday calendar

Happy Holidays! Here’s a round-up of safe and festive events and classes for adults and for all ages. All are free, unless otherwise indicated. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 19

Cool Yule Tip: Would you like to serve a traditional Buche de Noel / Yule Log cake for the Winter Solstice on Monday, December 21st? Order your cake today from your local La Madeleine ($34.99) for pickup on Monday.

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

Today is Go Caroling Day

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.

National Online Class: Setting Up a Wellness Mindset (with planners) 2 p.m. 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, mindfulness, gratitude, etc. Free.

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

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

Saturn and Jupiter conjunct in Aquarius, a significant astrological event, also known as the “Christmas Star.”

Tuesday, December 22. 

Today is National Christmas Cookie Exchange Day

ZOOM ONLINE Class: Holiday Trivia Happy Hour!  5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Sponsored by the Reston Public Library and featuring special holiday categories. Free but you must register. Registration opens on December 8. An invitation to join this online Zoom event will be sent to registered participants 24 hours before the event.

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.

Today is National Pfferneusse Day!

Make a Winter Sensory Bottle and Snowball Pom Pom online crafts class 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. All ages. Free. Register on Michaels Crafts website.
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.

Thursday, December 24. Christmas Eve.

Today is National Egg Nog Day and it is also Dr Fauci’s Birthday!

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!
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!

Today is also National Pumpkin Pie Day!

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

Saturday, December 26. Kwanzaa.

Today is Thank You Note Day and Candy Cane Day.

Sunday, December 27.

National Fruitcake Day. Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day. 

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. 

Today is National Call a Friend 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

Michaels Crafts National Online Class: Wellness Wins! Building and Tracking a Healthy Lifestyle Using your Happy Planner. 2 p.m. Learn the building blocks to wellness and find the best practices that work for you. Track progress and keep your mind in check using The Happy Planner to bring wellness into your life. For beginners and advanced planner users.

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.

Today is Bacon Day


Thursday, December 31. New Year’s Eve.

Today is Champagne Day

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.

Today is the LAST day to walk through the Pathway of Peace and see the National Christmas Tree on the mall, Washington, DC.

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.

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.

December online classes, concerts and workshops

So much has been cancelled for Christmas…but there are still a few wonderful events happening. You can still see The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol...and even the National Tree Lighting…but it will be all online this year. Good news: all of it is free or low cost! You can find the registration links and more information about these events and others on the December Calendar.

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What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

happy new year text

Photo by Jill Wellington on

Cool Yule Tip: free New Year’s Resolution Workshop registration open now.

Need some ideas for New Year’s Eve? Celebrate the last day of the year and the decade at one of these events happening in Northern Virginia.

Daytime Fun

  1. The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria is celebrating Olde Year’s Day with free hands-on, creative art activities for every member of the family 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Meet working artists in their studios and get inspired for 2020. Tickets for First Night Alexandria will be available for sale.
  2. 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.
  3. Outdoor ice skating is open at Reston Town Center.
  4. The Smithsonian Museums, National Gallery of Art and U.S. Botanic Garden (Seasons Greenings) are open today 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Light Displays

  1. Meadowlark Garden Winter Walk of Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. $8 – $13. Vienna.
  2. 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.

Free Concerts

  1. Samovar (Russian folk music) performance 6 pm – 8 pm. U.S. Botanic Gardens, Washington, DC.
  2. New Year’s Eve Party 6 p.m. FREE Ring in the new year (and a new decade) at the Kennedy Center New Year’s Eve Party/Millenium Stage Concert in the Grand Foyer. Performances by Brianna Thomas and Zach Cutler. Guests can also enjoy champagne bars (not free, ha ha) and a photo booth. Washington, DC (remember there is a free shuttle from Foggy Bottom Metro station; pay parking is also available on site).

Spiritual Gatherings

Burning Bowl 2019 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Participants will have time to reflect and meditate on what they wish to release, and then symbolically burn those limitations in the burning bowl. Next, they will envision the new year and write a letter to themselves that will be mailed back to each participant the following November. Unity of Fairfax, 2854 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA.

Family-Friendly Celebrations

  1. 25th First Night Alexandria Festival. 6 p.m. – Midnight. King Street, Old Town Alexandria. $30 – $35. This event is alcohol free and family friendly. 100+ live music performers/bands, food, fireworks at midnight.
  2. Jammin’ Java All Ages Show: 80s Dance Party. 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Do you love the 80’s? If so, put on your best 80’s fashion, grab your dancing shoes, and ring in 2020 with your 80’s favorite hits. Prizes for best 80’s outfits and “Name that Tune” contest. Champagne toast at midnight; NYE party favors and glowsticks for everyone. Vienna. $30 -$40.
  3. 22nd Watch Night Street Festival. 7 p.m – Midnight. West Broad Street. Falls Church City. Free shuttle from East Falls Church Metro station runs every 20 minutes, beginning at 7 p.m. This community, volunteer-run event is alcohol-free and family-friendly. A variety of live music at multiple venues on the blocked off street and at other locations nearby. Karaoke, rock-climbing wall, moon bounces. Food and souvenirs are for sale. A star is lowered at midnight from a crane.

Adult Celebrations and Parties

  1. New Year’s Eve Party. 6:30 p.m. Cocktails, dinner, band and party. Knights of Columbus, Arlington. $60 per person.
  2. The Legwarmers NYE Party (80s tribute band) Doors open at 7 pm. The State Theater, Falls Church. $50.
  3. New Year’s Eve Party with Collective Accord. 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Clyde’s Restaurant, 1700 Beauregard Street (Mark Center), Alexandria. Band plays hits from 80s, 90s and today. Meal specials and Midnight champagne toast. NO COVER!
  4. Prohibition-Themed New Year’s Eve at The Bungalow Lakehouse. 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. 46116 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling, VA. Meal specials, DJ, favors, New York City countdown, and complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
  5. New Year’s Eve Party at Passionfish, Reston (Reston Town Center) 10:30 p.m. -1:45 a.m. NO COVER  Party in the bar/lounge with DJ, special bar menu, photo booth and a balloon drop at midnight.