It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Stores, houses, towns, and even cars, are now decorated for the holiday season, and our favorite Christmas songs accompany our drives home from work in the cold DC winter.
This is 25 Days of Christmas – DC Fray Edition. We have picked out one holiday themed event for each day leading up to Christmas so that you have something fun to do every day of the holiday season!
On a day you decide not to grab a blanket, sit by the fire, drink hot cocoa and put on a Christmas movie, refer to our calendar of fun events to embrace the holiday spirit!
Kick off the first day of December by experiencing “GLOW,” an exhibit in Georgetown of “lit” outdoor public art. It is DC’s only organized exhibit of public light art. There will be several events throughout the month to allow visitors to experience the beauty of GLOW and the creativity of talented artists. Visitors will get to see Georgetown lit up every night from December 1 to January 6.
#FrayLife Tip: Various history, food, photography, and art walking tours will be offered throughout the month of December that will allow you to simultaneously experience the beauty of the light exhibits. You can view a full list of tours offered here.
Do you have a book worm in your life? Or, are you one yourself? The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland will host a holiday book fair and open mic December 2 from 11 to 3 p.m. The book fair is a holiday market that will feature a variety of authors and publishers. After the fair, an open mic show open to all writers and readers will take place in the Reading Room. Open mic begins at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 3 p.m. Check out what books and authors will be at the fair here.
Need an early week date night idea? Grab your warmest coat and prepare to be amazed by hand-crafted ice sculptures in a brisk 9 degrees at ICE! Featuring a Charlie Brown Christmas. Each sculpture has been crafted by 40 international artisans to create a unique winter wonderland. The ICE! Experience is located at the Gaylord in National Harbor. Tickets can be purchased here.
#FrayLife Tip: You can host your gender reveal celebration at ICE!, with a special personalized ICE! carving to announce the gender of your baby, a private hot chocolate buffet party, and professional photography to capture the reveal.
If Ebenezer Scrooge can find Christmas spirit, so can you! Spend your Tuesday night watching the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are as low as $32.
Warm up on a chilly Wednesday night at Mad Fox Brewing Company’s 5th Annual Holiday Beer Tasting. You will get to taste a variety of winter selections from local and regional breweries. Featured breweries include Right Proper Brewing Company, Old Ox Brewery, Union Brewing, 2 Silos Brewing Company and more! Tickets are $55 a person.
#FrayLife Tip: Tables are first-come first-served, so make sure to get there in plenty of time! Doors open at 6 p.m., and the tasting begins at 7. If you’re a group of six or more, call ahead so they can make proper seating arrangements.
Watch the Capitol Christmas Tree light up The District at 5 p.m. The tree will be lit by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and holiday music will be played by a section of The United States Marine Band, and the Congressional Chorus will sing carols. The tree lighting will take place on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. After the ceremony, the tree will be lit every evening during the holidays from dusk until 11 p.m.
In search of the perfect gift for an artsy person in your life? Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland can help you out with their annual holiday show at 6 p.m. Featured products include ceramics, jewelry, paintings, photography, prints and sculptures.
Have a good time for a great cause at the 8th Annual Capital City Christmas Classic. This is the Box & Friends annual holiday party that brings in more than 500 guests every year. All proceeds from the event go to the SVGS Foundation and The Black Alumni Scholarship Fund. Attendees will get to enjoy an open bar, 2 DJs and a fundraiser. The party will take place at Hard Rock Cafe in DC, and start at 10 p.m. A standard ticket is $25, and a ticket that includes the open bar is $80.
#FrayLife Tip: Make sure to wear your best holiday sweater. The person with the best sweater on will win a prize!
Have you ever been to a Russian Winter Festival? If not, you’ll have your chance December 9 at the Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Garden. Celebrate Sviatki, the festive winter season in traditional Russian style, with a special appearance from Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden, live music from the Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble, and festive dances performed by the Kalinka Dance Ensemble. Guests will also have the opportunity to create their own kokoshnick. Tickets are $18.
Partake in a Northern Virginia holiday tradition at the Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. You will walk through a beautiful half-mile path of colorful lights. Popular attractions such as Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights, and the Holiday Nature Walk will be included in the attraction. You can see the lights from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $14.
#FrayLife Tip: After you finishing walking through the Winter Walk of Lights, check out the gift shop, grab a yummy snack from the s’mores snack shop, or get your picture taken.
George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, goes all out for Christmas. It is the perfect place to take a visit during the holiday season. During the holidays, Mount Vernon offers candlelit mansion tours, has Christmas Caroling, and puts a gingerbread replica of Mount Vernon and a Christmas Camel on display. (George Washington started the tradition, and named the camel, Aladdin). All decorations to the estate is exactly how George Washington’s home was decorate for the holidays. Tickets are $18.
#FrayLife Tip: Mount Vernon is even open to visitors on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!
Spend this wine Wednesday channeling your inner artistic abilities. Create a beautiful holiday evergreen centerpiece, while sipping on wine at Merrifield Garden Center in Gainesville, Virginia. The centerpiece will add just the right amount of holiday spirit you need to your home. Tickets are $45.
Join the Willard Hotel for a night of holiday themed drinks and cheer. Tasty drinks at the holiday reception like Harrison’s Spiced Cider, Calvados, and Jack’s Winter Therapy are just what you need to warm up on a chilly night. Performances of holiday songs and carols will take place at the reception, as well as delicious treats. The Hotel Bar and lobby will also have eggnog and wine for sampling (at your own cost). Tickets for the reception are $30.
Ice skating during the holidays is a must, and a great date idea! The Washington Harbour Ice Rink is the largest outdoor ice skating venue in The District. The rink is open all holiday season long. Tickets are only $10 a person.
#FrayLife Tip: Bring your best pal to the rink on Tuesdays for 2 for 1 admission from 4 to 6 p.m!
Find unique art at a Special Christmas ArtRave Extravaganza. The event is a combination of a popup, venue, and festival. The event is Christmas themed and will feature fine art, handmade jewelry, woodcrafts, handmade cosmetics, Christmas trees, pottery, ceramics and more! Admission to the event is free.
#FrayLife Tip: If you’re an artist and would like to show your art off at the event, apply to have your work in the extravaganza!
Santa Clause is the only person known to to travel the world in just one night, but now you can do it in less than two hours in DC! At Embassy Row, you’ll get to “stand at the borders” of Ireland, Romania, Turkey, Vietnam and more countries and get an exclusive look at each country’s decorations. Attendees will learn about the history, stories, and scandals of each country. The best part? Holiday chocolate samples from several international countries will be available to sample! The Embassy Row Chocolate Tour will begin at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $30.
Another classic holiday tradition is to go watch The Nutcracker. The Moscow Ballet will perform the Great Russian Nutcracker at Strathmore in Bethesda at 8 p.m. The show will feature hand-painted sets, and authentic Russian costumes. Don’t miss your chance to see a world renowned group perform. Purchase tickets here.
The holidays are the perfect excuse to shop ‘til you drop! Head to 8th Street and F Streets NW to explore the Downtown Holiday Market. The market holds more than 180 exhibitors offering a vast selection of special gifts to customers. You can see the full list of exhibitors here.
Explore America’s most iconic train stations recreated through amazing plant arrangements at the United States Botanic Gardens. Stations like New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, St. Louis’ Union Station, DC’s Union Station, and others will be represented. Poinsettia varieties will also be in full bloom at the gardens.
#FrayLife Tip: On certain Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, the Conservatory is open until 8 p.m. with seasonal music!
You’ve heard of wine tours, beer tours, walking tours, and even chocolate tours, and now you have a holiday desserts tour. (It’s the holidays so it’s okay to break your diet for this.) The tour stops are the Willard Hotel with their signature mint julep, and then the Oval Room for a hazelnut dacquoise, or chocolate beet (two desserts former Presidents used to enjoy). The final stop is Black Finn, where a “Slider” will be served. The tour begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $50.
#FrayLife Tip: Wear business casual to this event. Jeans and sneakers are not allowed!
We bring you ANOTHER tour. This time, it’s a holiday nightlife tour. The tour is called, “Miracle of Pennsylvania Ave” and begins at The Willard Hotel. At the hotel, attendees will enjoy caroling in the lobby and a seasonal drink. Next up on the tour is the W Hotel. Here you will take in breathtaking views of the city while sipping on cocktails. A quick stop at The National Christmas Tree is followed by bowling at Lucky Strike. The night will finish off at Ultra Bar for a late night of dancing and high energy. (What a seriously fun night!) General admission tickets are $20.
#FrayLife Tip: Sneakers, jeans, t-shirts and caps are a no, so dress accordingly.
Ozio Rooftop Lounge will host a pre-Christmas day party at 5 p.m. Grab your best Christmas sweater, your Santa hat, and a bunch of friends and get ready to celebrate the holidays the right way. Admission is free with online RSVP, and there is a cover charge at the door. Come dance beats played by awesome DJs, and enjoy drink specials all night long. The event begins at 5 p.m.
Tysons Biergarten’s 2nd Annual Festivus for the Rest of Us Celebration will take place at 8 p.m. Bring a gift with you that you don’t want, or need, to donate to charity. Come in for a cold drink and spread holiday cheer!
Ugly Christmas sweaters aren’t just for office holiday parties. Time to bring out that ugly sweater you wear once a year, and feast on a Christmas Eve brunch at City Tap Penn House Quarter from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will enjoy $9 bottomless mimosas, spiked cider and eggnog, and Santa themed pancakes!
#FrayLife Tip: Make sure your Christmas sweater is truly ugly…the person with the best one will receive a $25 gift card.
The day all of the previous fun events have been leading up to is here. After opening presents and spending time with family, bring everyone to the 20th annual All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam to end your night with good music. The show begins at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center. Admission is free. Merry Christmas!
Tag us as you get in the holiday spirit using #DCFray and #FrayLife. And if you’re looking for some more holiday inspiration that will also let you check some gifts off your shopping list, check out these local markets and festivals happening in the DMV.
View More Articles By Briana Florez