’Twas the Weekend Before Christmas
‘Twas the weekend before Christmas and all over town,
All the creatures were stirring, even the clowns (in Congress),
The appropriations were passed by Congress with care,
In hopes that reelection soon would be theirs.
For those of us who aren’t in Congress, there’s plenty of things to do in the DMV on this last weekend before Christmas.
Metro is giving us all a gift by not planning any weekend track work. All 91 Metrorail stations are open this weekend with no rebuilding work going on. After 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the some Red Line trains my incur 5 minutes of additional travel time.
It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s a little weird that a movie built around a near-suicide has become THE Christmas movie, but 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life is the bar by which Christmas Spirit is measured. You can watch the Frank Capra classic starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed on TV almost at random, but this holiday season try leaving the house and heading to an area theater to watch it. It’ll help a lot of angels if you’re there with your bells on.
Dec. 19 at 12:45 p.m., Dec. 22 at 1:50 p.m., Dec. 23 at 1:50 and 6:45 p.m. and Dec. 24 at 1:50 and 6:45 p.m. at the AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, and Dec. 21 at p.m. and Dec. 24 at 5 and 7 p.m. at Angelika Film Center, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax. AFI tickets range from $5-$12, while tickets to Angelika are $7.
CityCenterDC presents free Christmas concerts in December. Friday features The Capital Hearings making spirits bright with their fresh interpretations of beloved carols, vocal jazz and seasonal favorites. On Saturday, the 18th Street Singers, a group of about 45 young professionals in their 20s and 30s, will perform a cappella.
Through Christmas eve on the Plaza at CityCenterDC, 950 I St. NW. Admission is FREE!
Get in the holiday spirit with Handel’s Messiah masterpiece, performed each year with a fresh perspective by the National Symphony Orchestra. This year, Nicholas McGegan conducts four gifted singers and The Washington Chorus in this tradition.
Dec. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. Tickets are $10-$85.
Snow Day Bar Crawl
Drink with 6,000 of your closest friends at the fourth annual Snow Day Bar Crawl. Participants will quench their thirst on exclusive drink deals as they explore D.C. and celebrate the season one bar at a time. Get a signature Snow Day mug, drink specials at more than 10 Dupont bars, free cover, $2 beer refills, $3 rail drinks, $4 candy cane shots and $5 Red Bull vodkas. Participating bars include The Front Page, BlackFinn, Irish Whiskey, Bread & Brew, Bottom Line, Dirty Bar, Dirty Martini, Mad Hatter, Midtown, Public Bar, Recesssions, Rumors, Ozio and Sign of the Whale.
Dec. 20 from 2-10 p.m. starting at The Front Page or BlackFinn. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of.
Ugly Sweater Sign Along Party
Proof that no tradition is safe from the irony of hipsters, trendy Takoma Park bar Republic is through a much more millennial-friendly version of Christmas with your family. In addition to a live band to accompany your holiday-themed karaoke, the event features chef Danny Well’s secret-family-recipe eggnog, mulled wine to give you a little courage for the karaoke and a $100 gift card to the reveler who sports the ugliest Christmas sweater.
Dec. 20 at 10 p.m. at Republic, 6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park. Admission is FREE!
The Metropolitan Memorial Baptist Church choir presents is 68th rendition of Handel’s Messiah. Messiah is a commentary on Jesus Christ’s Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, beginning with God’s promises as spoken by the prophets and ending with Christ’s glorification in heaven.
Dec. 21 from 5-8 p.m. at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Ave. NW. Admission is FREE, but a free will offering will be accepted. RSVP here.
Chanukah: Lights & Music
Bethesda Row and Chabad Center of Bethesda hold the seventh annual Chanukah Family Spectacular at Bethesda Row. This year’s Chanukah: Lights & Music will feature a giant techno-Menorah adorned with thousands of colered LED lights that flash and pulsate to music. The festivities inclue a musical performance by Hassidic rapping sensation Mor-To-Life as well as hot latkes, jelly donught and chocolate Chanukah gelt.
Dec. 21 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Bethesda Row, Bethesda Lane, Bethesda. Admission is FREE!
Downtown Holiday Market
This is the last weekend for the 10th annual Downtown Holiday Market, produced by the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District. It features outdoor shopping, music, entertainment and more in Downtown D.C. At this year’s outdoor marketplace, located on F Street between 7th & 9th Streets NW, shoppers will find more than 150 exhibitors and artisans offering a diverse array of quality items including fine art, crafts, glass, jewelry, pottery, photography and clothing. The market’s festive atmosphere will be complemented by decorative accents and lighting, tasty treats, hot beverages and live musical entertainment.
Through Dec. 23 from noon-8 p.m. daily on F Street NW between Seventh and Ninth Streets. Admission is FREE!
Winter Lights Festival
The City of Gaithersburg’s Winter Lights Festival is welcoming visitors for its 19th season. The 3.5 mile drive through Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 365 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that light up the night. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole, and more. Proceeds from the festival benefit local charities.
Through Dec. 31 from 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Seneca Creek State Park, 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg. Admission is $12 per car Monday-Thursday and $15 per car Friday and Saturday.
2014 National Christmas Tree
The 2014 National Christmas Tree was lit Dec. 4, but if you weren’t lucky enough to snag a ticket, now is a perfect time to visit without the crowds. This year’s design includes approximately 180 green and red LED net lights, 180 green and clear twinkle LED string sets and about 300 snowflake ornaments. The Pathway of Peace around the tree features 56 unique Christmas trees to represent each U.S. state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia. The National Christmas Tree Music Program brings in a wide variety of talent to celebrate the season from Dec. 10-22. Performances on Tuesday through Friday from 5-8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 1-8:30 p.m, plus Monday, December 22 from 5-8:30 p.m.
Nightly through Jan. 1 from dusk to 10 p.m. at the Ellipse in front of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
ZooLights decks the National Zoo out in environmentally friendly LED lights for the holidays. More than 500,000 lights will be used on everything from light-up elephants to twinkling floral displays. There will also be live performances from local artists, plenty of food and gift-worthy goods for sale.
Through Jan. 1 from 5-9 p.m. at the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
ICE!, the life-sized ice show is back at Gaylord National Resort, this year featuring Frosty the Snowman, everyone’s favorite snowman. Carved from over 2 million pounds of colorful ice, enjoy larger than life scenes from the classic tale, slide down two-story high ice slides and watch artisans in action at the new Frostbite Factory, an interactive live carving area. As part of Christmas on the Potomac, the Gaylord atrium is also transformed into a winter wonderland with a free nightly indoor snowfall at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., more than 2 million lights that illuminate the glass atrium and outdoor garden areas, the free fountain show with the water and lights “dancing” to the music of the Christmas story at 7 and 9 p.m. and classical Christmas carols at 6 and 8 p.m. There is also a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree made of synthetic “candy” glass suspended from the center of the atrium.
Through Jan. 4 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., Oxen Hill in National Harbor. Adult tickets range from $21-$34 and children’s tickets range for children 3-11 range from $14-$28 depending on dates. Tickets and the schedule are available here.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.