Hangin' with Santa in his workshop last year
Before you get into your weekend planning, I’ve got a little request. The Buzz blog at the Washington Post is hosting a contest to find readers’ favorites in social media, and I’d love to get your vote. If you think my blog is worthy, all you have to go is go here and nominate @KidFriendlyDC. Thanks, and as always… Happy Weekend!
Holiday in President’s Park
Where: The Ellipse
When: All weekend long
Now that the National Christmas Tree has been ceremoniously illuminated, festivities at President’s Park have officially begun. There, you can see the tree, a model train zipping around it, the Yule Log, and holiday displays representing all 50 states. But the biggest thrill for kids easily will be Santa’s Workshop, which is an actual little cottage on the Ellipse grounds, just down the path from the tree. Guests can check out St. Nick’s “operations” as they wait in line to meet Santa himself and sit on his lap for a photo op. It will be open Saturday and Sunday from 12:30-4:30pm then again from 5:30-9:30pm. Beware that the line can get long — I’ve heard of waits up to 40 minutes — so plan accordingly. For more on what to expect, read about one of our visits there from a Christmas season past.
More Seasonal Celebrations
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity
The National Tree and surrounding festivities are a biggie in DC, but there are many, many more ways to celebrate the season here. A few get special mention in this round-up, but you can get the full scoop in the 2012 Holiday Guide. Everything from light shows to train displays to special holiday events are not just listed, but detailed there.
Chanukah, Oh, Chanukah
Where: Throughout the area
When: Saturday & Sunday
The eight crazy nights begin on Saturday at sundown and there are a few events happening around the area this weekend celebrate it. You can still request tickets to the National Menorah Lighting on Sunday (though no guarantees they’re available). There are also other community menorah lightings, fun festivities, and even a Chanukah on Ice. Get details on all of them here.
Winter Christmas Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $5.95/person, free for children under 2
We went to Ticonderoga last weekend and had an absolute blast! The annual festival includes hayrides to the white pine fields with access to all of the farm attractions — swings, forts, slides, tunnels, and more. Fire pits are inviting to keep you warm and make some s’ mores or roast hot dogs. Cut down your Christmas tree while you’re there or buy one from the lot. Get a glimpse of it all in this post.
The Wright Stuff
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15
It’s Super Science Saturday at the Dulles arm of the Air & Space Museum, the special program that occurs on the second Saturday of every month. This weekend it’ll be all about the Wright Brothers, and visitors can enjoy hands-on demos and activities related to the subject. And the permanent exhibits – a hangar full of amazing air and space craft – are worth a trip out there themselves.
Holiday Magic on the Silver Screen
Where: AFI Silver Theater
When: All weekend long
Admission: $7/kids 12 and under, $8.50/adult matinee, $11.50/adult general
The AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring presents their annual Holiday Classics series. A nice mix of seasonal big screen favorites will play at various times throughout the week: A Christmas Story, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, and Gremlins are a few that can be enjoyed by the whole family at both matinee and evening showings. You can view the full line-up of movies and schedule here.
Where: Local theaters
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
While most stages are presenting holiday-inspired entertainment right now, there are a few non-seasonal shows running, too. Seussical is still running at Imagination Stage, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg is at the Kennedy Center, and Young Robin Hood is at Round House Theatre. For holiday entertainment, experience the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy A Little House Christmas with the Ingalls at Adventure Theatre. See Seasons of Light at Discovery Theater. And see a selection of The Nutcracker performed by the Virginia Ballet Company at this week’s Saturday Morning at the National. Get details on the holiday shows here and non-holiday entertainment here.
Sugarloaf Crafts Festival
Where: Dulles Expo Center
When: Friday – Sunday,
Admission: $10/adults, free for children under 12
Want to find unique, handmade holiday gifts and enjoy a family day out? Then this fair showcasing works by more than 300 top artisans might be worth fitting into your weekend. Pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, home and garden décor, furniture and home accessories, and photography will be on display — and for sale! Even more, children can enjoy an interactive puppet theater and watch live-demonstrations of iron forging, papermaking, stone sculpting, and other media by the master craftspeople themselves. Read more in this post, but note that the giveaway has ended.
Jam with Mister G
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Saturday, 10:30am
After 20 years as a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter playing for grown-ups, Ben Gundersheimer (aka Mister G) burst onto the children’s music scene with his debut CD, Pizza for Breakfast. A former classroom teacher with a Masters in Education, Ben was dubbed Mister G by his elementary school students. His music has garnered rave reviews from music critics, educators, and national media, and his new bilingual CD, Chocolalala has won a Parents Choice Gold Award and is a Parents Magazine pick of the month. See him play live in Vienna on Saturday morning, and if you purchase tickets in advance, you’ll be entered to win a three Mister G CD’s and a T-shirt.
Where: Calvary United Methodist Church
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Instead of giving another tie or candle this year, how about boxing up hope and happiness? Gifts That Give Hope Arlington is holding their 2nd annual Gift Fair, capturing the holiday spirit in a way that redefines the notion of meaningful, alternative gift giving. This year’s fair will feature 15 local and global nonprofit organizations, many of them based in Arlington. Shoppers will have the opportunity to peruse the tables hosted by each organization and purchase alternative gifts that will directly benefit the mission of those organizations.
Where: Hotel Monaco – DC & Alexandria
When: Saturday & Sunday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free, but photos are $20
Locals are invited to swing by the Hotel Monaco in DC on Saturday and the Hotel Monaco Alexandria on Sunday for festive afternoons of snapping pictures of their pet with Santa while nibbling on holiday fare. The Saturday Santa Paws event will benefit Washington Humane Society (WHS). The Sunday event will benefit Veterans Moving Forward, a non-profit that provides service dogs to veterans with physical and mental health challenges.A professional photographer will be on hand at both events to take keepsake photos of pets with Santa for donations to their respective charities. Professional photos will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. All guests can also enjoy holiday treats and light refreshments amidst the festive décor of the hotel’s living room lobby.
Santa Claus is Coming to the Hill
Where: Eastern Market
Eastern Market is always a great weekend destination, but this Saturday it’ll be especially festive with a day of holiday fun in the North Hall. There will be crafts for kids all day, a jazz quartet from 11:30am – 1:30pm, and greetings from Santa (played by Council Member Tommy Wells) from 2-4pm. Plan to shop the food stalls and browse the flea market for holiday gifts, too.
Gingerbread House Decorating
Where: Union Market
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: $10 per house
Head to the relatively new market in northeast to create & decorate a gingerbread house. Join staff for decorating, holiday cheer, and lots of fun. And, of course, shop around the market while you’re there.
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adults, $2/children and seniors
In the winter apple trees need encouragement to bear fruit in the coming year. Gather in the Farm’s orchard to wassail or toast the trees with singing, dancing and chants to ensure a “howling crop.” Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a roaring bonfire and 18th century games.
Holiday Celebration in Lamont Park
Where: Lamont Park, Mount Pleasant
Small businesses and community groups have teamed up to bring Santa and Mrs. Claus to the heart of Mount Pleasant. That’s right, no trekking out to a big mall for that holiday ritual. You can stay right here in one of DC’s most eclectic walkable neighborhoods. Plus there will be great hands on craft activities, a Chanukah puppet show, and lots of holiday treats. Lamont Park is located at the corner of Mount Pleasant and Lamont Streets, NW.
Renwick Holiday Festival
Where: Renwick Gallery
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Ring in the holidays with a Craft Futures themed festival. Get creative with 40 under 40 artist Shawn Smith and create 3D pixel ornaments. Enjoy hot apple cider, winter craft activities, and scavenger hunts while pianist Amy Conley plays seasonal music. Stop by Andy Paiko’s Spinning Wheel on the first floor to see spinner Anne O’Connor demonstrating. Lots of fun for the whole family!
Winter Fair at the French International School
Where: Lycee Rochambeau Campus
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free, but plan to spend
The public is invited to shop and enjoy this winter indoor market with a festive ambiance. As a celebration of the holiday season, it will include an array of vendors, international cuisine, musical entertainment, children crafts and activities. It’s a very nice family-friendly event — parents can shop while kids have fun, too. Proceeds from the Winter Fair will benefit the school.