2021 Holiday Events and Cool Yule Quick Tips
Covid Cancellations in 2021
- Due to the pandemic, there will not be a live tree lighting of the Norwegian Christmas Tree at Union Station in Washington, DC. The tree will be on display; however, the model trains will not be on display this year.
- The U.S. Botanic Garden will remain closed during the holidays but the outdoor gardens are open to the public.
- The Zoo Lights display at the National Zoo is cancelled again this year.
- It appears there will be no holiday programming, e.g., Rotonda concerts, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC this year.
- Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-a-Long is not listed on the calendar of events.
Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. November 11 – January 2 and is 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. The price of this event has increased significantly (nearly doubled). Admission is now $16 – $18, depending on the night, if you buy online but $20 at the door. Advance registration is recommended.
Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. Nightly November 11 – 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, s’mores and Santa Claus. Prices have increased significantly. The fee is $30/car or $75 for a van/bus of 15 or more people. This attraction is open Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Wiliamsburg, VA is a highly recommended holiday experience. Runs on select nights between November 12 – Jan 2. Advance ticket specials as low as $25.
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. Begins November 19 and runs through January 2, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Prices have increased significantly. 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.
Tinsel! 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Weekends and select weekdays. Begins November 19 and runs through January 22. This is an immersive, walk-through winter wonderland experience with a dollar from the tickets benefitting INOVA Hospital Foundation. Admission for $22 includes up to 2 hours of access to light displays, photo ops, kids activities and additional activities and food trucks paid for separately.
Kings Dominon celebrates Winterfest in Doswell, VA on select nights between November 20 – 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) and a parade and fireworks on select nights, including New Year’s Eve.
Holiday Lights on the Farm at Frying Pan Farm Park at 2709 West Ox Road in Herndon, VA. Lighted driving tour. Farm animals and seasonally decorated farm buildings. Weekends, November 26 – December 19. $20/car advance; $25/car at the gate.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol plays at the Little Theatre of Alexandria with performances taking place December 3 – 18.
The Capitol Tree The tree is lit on or around December 4 and remains on display until December 31. West Lawn, U.S. Capitol. Washington, DC. There is very little parking, but the Capitol South metro station (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) is nearby.
The National Christmas Tree and nightly Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse:December 5 and runs through January 1. The National Christmas tree will be lit on or around December 5. Nightly musical performances. 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. There is also a Nativity scene and a roaring Yule log fire. Just adjacent is the National Menorah.
Holiday Musical Performances in Reston Town Center Park. December 4 -5, 11-12 and 18-19. 1 pm – 3 pm. Reston Town Center, Reston, VA.
November 2021 Holiday Events
Monday, November 1 Cool Yule Tip: The extra everything about the holidays makes this a good time to re-commit to your self-care practice. Join the November Self-Care Challenge.
Tuesday, November 2 Election Day
Cool Yule Tip: Space heaters sell out early in the winter. If you are in the market for a space heater, read this New York Times review of the best models.
Wednesdsay, November 3
World Series. Atlanta Braves v. Houston Astros at 8 p.m.
Thursday, November 4 Happy Diwali! – Hindu Festival of Lights
Friday, November 5
Historic Downtown Manassas Fall Gallery Walk 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 9201 Center St. Manassas, VA.
Thursday, November 11 Veteran’s Day
Friday, November 12
28th Annual Northern Virginia Christmas Market. November 12 – 14. Dulles Expo Center. Chantilly, VA.
Saturday, November 13
Make a Dreamcatcher Workshop. Teens and Adults. 2 pm – 4 pm. Dolley Madison Library, McLean.
Monday, November 15 National Clean Your Refrigerator Day
Friday, November 19
VIRTUAL Fall Favorites Live, Onilne Cooking Class. 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Presented by U.S Botanic Garden. Please follow link to register in advance for this free class.
Saturday, November 20 President Biden’s Birthday
Cool Yule Tip: If you want to send a Christmas Card to President Biden and First Lady Biden this year, be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope and address it to: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500. If you are lucky, you might receive a Christmas card in return!
Sensory-friendly “Our Autism Family Thanksgiving Dinner” 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. LEARN ME. 1911 N Ft Myer Dr. Suite 100. Arlington, VA 22209
Sunday, November 21
Family History Program and Tea. Historic Green Springs Gardens. 1 pm – 3 pm $38. Alexandria, VA.
Cool Yule Tip: Today is the last day to donate canned food items to the Reston Community food drive.
Wednesday, November 24
The Nutcracker ballet. Miami City Ballet. The Kennedy Center. Through November 28. $49-$189.
Thursday, November 25 Happy Thanksgiving!
Macy’s Day Parade 9 a.m. – Noon. NBC.
Thanksgiving Service at Washington National Cathedral. 10 am – 11 am. It will be broadcast live online and this year, you may aso attend in person.
- Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions on FOX (12:30 p.m. ET / 9:30 a.m. PT).
- Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys on CBS (4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT).
- Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints on NBC (8:20 p.m. ET / 5:20 p.m. PT).
Friday, November 26 Black Friday
Reston Holiday Parade. 11 a.m. – 12 Noon. Market Street, Reston Town Center. Reston, VA.
Saturday, November 27 Small Business Saturday.
Sunday, November 28 First Sunday in Advent Cool Yule Tip: Read about how Advent is celebrated with candles.
Advent Service with carols at Washington National Cathedral. 4 pm. Attend in person or watch live online.
Monday, November 29 Happy Hanukkah!
Cyber Monday Holiday Stroll and Santa Claus. Freeman Store and Museum. 6 p.m. 131 Church St. NE, Vienna.
Tuesday, November 30. Giving Tuesday Cool Yule Tip: Here are some worthy organizations deserving of your support.
Paint Ornaments Workshop (adults). 11 am – 12 pm. Chantilly Regional Library.
December 2021 Holiday Events
December 1 National Christmas Lights Day. National Mistletoe Day. Rockefeller Tree Lighting in NYC.
National Christmas Tree Lighting. 5 p.m. The White House.
December 3 Make a Gift Day.
VIRTUALBraising, Baking and Broiling Vegeatables Live Cooking Class. 12 Noon – 1 p.m. Presented by U.S Botanic Garden. Please follow link to register in advance for this free class.
McLean Holiday Arts and Crafts Show. December 3 – 5. McLean Community Center. $5.
December 4 Nat. Cookie Day. Nat. Ice Skating Day. USPS Operation Santa toy donations begin today. Donate a toy or gift.
Drawing and Learning about Evergreens. Hike and draw or paint wintery greenery at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. 7701 Royce St. Annandale, VA. 9 a.m. 16 and up. $25
75th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. 10 a.m. – Noon. 9301 Center Street, Manassas, VA. Scottish Christmas Walk (Parade) in Old Town Alexandria.
Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Potomac River Waterfront, Old Town Alexandria. 5:30 p.m.
Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols (outdoor music and refreshments). 12 – 6 PM.
Tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Old Town Square, 10415 North Street, Fairfax, VA.
23rd Annual Gifts from the HeART Exhibit and Sale to benefit Cornerstones. 10 am – 3 ppm Lake Anne Reston Community Center. Reston, VA.
Handel’s Messiah. 4 pm. Washington National Cathedral. $25
December 5 Nat. Candle Day. Intl. Volunteer Day. Comfort Food Day.
Holiday Arts and Crafts Show 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon, VA
Family Wreath Making. Hidden Pond Nature Center. 8511 Greeley Blvd. Springfield, VA.2 p.m. $15 each adult.
Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavillion Opening Day. Advance registration encouraged. 1818 Discovery Street, Reston.
December 6 St. Nicholas Day. Last Day of Hanukkah. Cool Yule Tip: Read the legend of St. Nicholas and how Christmas stockings came to be.
Create Your Own Fancy Winter Bookmarks Workshop. 7 pm. Woodrow Wilson Public Library, Falls Church, VA.
December 8 Brownie Day. Christmas Tree Day
8 pm Cool Yule Watch Party: Serendipity (Jon Cusack and Kate Beckinsale)
December 9 Christmas Card Day. Cool Yule Tip: This would be an excellent day to mail your cards!
December 11 Reindeer Day
Lunch with Santa (children – chicken nuggets, etc.) 11 am, 12 Noon and 1 pm. Pre-regstration required. Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive, Fairfax, VA.
Winter Wreath Making Workshop. 2 pm. Typsons Pimmit Regional Library. Adults. (Free)
Joy of Christmas concert. 2 pm and 6 pm. Washington National Cathedral. $25.
8 pm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – CBS
9 pm: Frosty the Snowman – CBS
9:30 pm: Frosty Returns – CBS
December 12 3rd Day of Advent. Poinsettia Day. Decorate a Gingerbread House Day
Cool Yule Tip: Today is the last day to donate new, unwrapped toy to Toys for Tots. In Fairfax County, drop off your toy at any Fairfax County fire station.
Cool Yule Tip: Learn how to care for a poinsettia.
Joy of Christmas concert. 4 pm. Washington National Cathedral. $25.
December 13 Hot Cocoa Day.
December 14 Roast Chestnuts Day. Gingerbread Decorating Day.
Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday packages by standard post.
December 15 Tea Day
8 pm: IHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2021 – The CW (performance by the hottest pop music stars)
8 pm: Cool Yule Watch Party: 12 Dates of Christmas
December 17 Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
American Red Cross Blood Drive. McLean Community Center. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, VA.
Christmas with The King’s Singers concert. 7:30 pm. Washington National Cathedral.
December 18 Bake Cookies Day.
Cool Yule Tip: How to bake the best cookies
Live seasonal music performances at Reston Town Center 1 pm – 3 pm
PARC Holiday Village 12 pm – 5 pm
December 19 4th Day of Advent. Holly Day
Bolshoi Ballet performs The Nutcracker (encore screening) 12:55 pm. Tickets $22. Area movie theaters.
A Charlie Brown Christmas airs at 7:30 pm on PBS and PBS Kids.
December 20 Go Caroling Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday greeting cards. Bolshoi Ballet performs The Nutcracker (encore screening) 7 pm. Tickets $22. Area movie theaters.
December 21 Winter Solstice. Yule.
Cool Yule Tip: Make a Yule Log for dessert to celebrate the Solstice tonight!
Priority Mail Deadilne. Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing Priority Mail packages.
Winter Solstice Campfire. Naturalist program on the solstice and s’mores. Hidden Oaks Nature Center. 7701 Royce St., Annandale, VA. 5:30 pm. $8
December 22 Nat. Christmas Cookie Exchange Day
Cool Yule Watch Party: Last Christmas
December 23 Festivus. Nat. Pfferneusse Day
8 p.m. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town Rankin-Bass TV special. ABC.
December 24. Christmas Eve. Nat. Egg Nog Day. Dr Fauci’s Birthday.
Water-skiing Santa and company…Alexandria Waterfront 1 pm
- 8 pm: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – ABC
- 8 pm: A Holly Dolly Christmas – CBS
- 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
December 25 Merry Christmas! National Pumpkin Pie Day
- Some restaurants that are open on Christmas Day include Denny’s, iHOP and some Starbucks, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts.
- Some of the larger hotels may be open for Christmas Day brunch.
- 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.
- 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.
- The US Botanic Gardens will be closed (as will all DC museums) and the outdoor display with model trains will also be closed.
- In Williamsburg, Christmas Town at Busch Gardens is open and I highly recommend it.
- Kings Dominion Winterfest in Doswell is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but it is open on New Year’s Eve.
- In the evening, 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 (but is pricey).
- 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.
December 26 Happy Kwanzaa! Thank You Note Day. Candy Cane Day.
December 27. National Fruitcake Day. Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day.
December 28. National Call a Friend Day
December 29. Still Need To Do Day
Cool Yule Watch Party: Bridget Jones’ Diary
December 30 Bacon Day
December 31. New Year’s Eve. Champagne Day.
8/7c: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022 – ABC
New Year’s Eve and New Year Events
Friday, December 31, New Year’s Eve. Champagne Day.
- Meadowlark Garden Winter Walk of Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Vienna.
- Bull Run Festival of Lights (drive-through) is open 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville.
Saturday, January 1 Happy New Year! Welcome, 2022!
- See the opera, Cinderella, live from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City as it streams to a movie theater near you. Tickets about $25.
- First Day Hikes and activities at Virginia State Parks state-wide and Lake Fairfax in Reston, VA.
- Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. is open, including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. More than 500,000 LED lights and displays transform the gardens into a winter wonderland.
- Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 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, s’mores and Santa Claus.
Sunday, January 2
- Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. More than 500,000 LED lights and displays transform the gardens into a winter wonderland. Special theme nights and discounts.This is the last night this year.
- Bull Run Festival of Lights. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville. 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, s’mores and Santa Claus. This is the last night this year.
Wednesday, January 3
Thursday, January 4
Friday, January 5
Monday, January 6, Epiphany. The last day of the Christmas festival. Cool Yule Tip: French-style King Cakes traditionally eaten on Epiphany are available for sale at La Madeleine bakery.