Christmas Tree Lighting Guide 2021

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christmas tree lighting
Photo credit @xninjason

Christmas is upon us and this year a lot of our favorite events are back on the schedule. After last year’s limited holiday activities and many online events, so many of us are ready for in person activities, (obviously keeping all the precautions needed). We are happy to see many of our favorite Christmas tree lighting events back on.

With the rollout of the vaccines for anyone 5+, we can start thinking of safely bringing back our favorite holiday traditions. Over the years, I have looked forward to the first week after Thanksgiving to get to as many Christmas tree lighting events as possible. I am happy to be filling my calendar once again. So, as we all get our holidays calendars ready, here is a list of some of the events in the DMV.  Unfortunately, to keep the Claus safe and the magic of the season going, there will be limited times to snap a picture with our favorite holiday couple.

Tree lightings in Washington, DC

National Christmas Tree
Thursday, December 3
Sunday, December 5
8:30 pm
The 2021 ceremony and holiday performances will be broadcast on December 5th on CBS. The event will take place on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 and will be hosted by LL Cool J and include performances by Billy Porter, Chris Stapleton, Patti LaBelle, Juanes and the Howard Gospel Choir.

US Capitol Christmas Tree
Wednesday, December 1
5:00 pm
The Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree,” is a tradition dating back to 1964. Every holiday season, a different national forest is selected to provide a tree for the west lawn of the US Capitol building. This year’s tree comes from the Six Rivers National Forest in California.

Cathedral Commons
Friday, December 3rd
6:00-8:00 pm
What a great downtown tradition, holiday tree lighting & festive celebration! Enjoy photos with Santa, strolling entertainment, live music & more!

City Center DC
Saturday, November 27
6:00 pm
This great downtown tradition comes back for its 8th year. Enjoy a night out in the city, with activities for the little one, including face painting and balloon arts to kick off the holiday season.

Fairmont’s 15th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Wednesday, December 1
5:30– 7:00 pm
Decorate holiday cards while you listen to the Georgetown Visitation Madrigals perform holiday classics. Don’t forget to dress up for a picture with Santa. Fairmont’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will benefit Horton’s Kids. There is no charge to attend all family Fairmont’s Tree Lighting.

Boys Town Washington DC
Sunday, December 5
5:00– 7:00 pm
Join Boys Town Washington DC’S campus for their Annual Campus Christmas Tree Lighting. Get ready to celebrate the start of the holiday season with Christmas carols, hot chocolate and even a chili cook-off. There is also a house decorating contest!

Tree Lightings in Virginia

Stoner Bridge Potomac Town Center
Friday, November 26
6:00- 8:00 pm
This special ceremony will host the Woodbridge Dance Company and Those Funny Little People. Bring the little ones for carriage rides – free with a donation of canned good to A.C.T.S, Face Painting, Carnival Games, Balloon Art and Ice Carving.

City of Fairfax
Saturday, December 4
12:00- 6:00 pm
Head to Old Town Square for holiday music, stores, and cider followed by the tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 pm.

The Village at Leesburg
Saturday, November 20 – Saturday January 1
4:00– 10:00 pm
Visit The Village every day at the top of the hour and enjoy a holiday light show. Don’t forget to stop by to check out FIRST of its kind on the East Coast: the Wish Tree at Village at Leesburg! This is the ONLY interactive Christmas tree where children can bring their Christmas list and make their wish to send up to Santa at the North Pole. And visit Santa every Saturday starting on November 27th. Check out the full list of events here.

Fairfax Corner
Friday, November 26 – Sunday December 19
12:00- 4:00 pm
Fairfax Corner is bringing back the holidays with a series of family friendly events. Check out their schedule as you plan your holiday shopping and family activities.

Reston Town Center
Friday, November 26
6:00 pm
Reston town center has lots of events around Christmas, so be sure to check them all out. Come in the morning to enjoy a holiday parade along Market Street and welcome Mr. and Mrs. Claus in their carriage. The Clauses will be arriving at Fountain Square at 6:00 pm for the lighting of the tree.

Mosaic District
Friday, November 26
5:00–7:30 pm
Holiday fun kicks off with a great family event at Strawberry Park. Visitors will also meet and greet Santa at Target lobby and catch a screening of ‘Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ on Strawberry Park.

Mount Vernon
December 17-18
5:30 – 8:30 pm
Fireworks, the Potomac River, and a history lesson. Tickets start at $50 for adults and $28 for kids under 12.

Historic Manassas
Friday, December 3
6:15–11:00 pm
Join Santa as he lights up the Manassas Christmas Tree, a 27 year tradition. The event includes holiday music performances and a special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Lightings in Maryland

Rio Washingtonian Center
Holidays reimagined. Visit Rio all throughout the holiday season for all wide variety of activities for the whole family.   

Montgomery Village
Wednesday, December 1
6:00-7:00 pm
Meet Santa and sing along some holiday carols at Montgomery Village. Bring the family to enjoy festive music, an opportunity to sing along with classic carols. There will also be complimentary hot chocolate and treats to help celebrate. The tree is located adjacent to the Village Center on Montgomery Village Avenue.

City of Gaithersburg
Saturday, December 4
3:30-6:00 pm
Welcome the holidays with a traditional tree lighting ceremony, holiday music, & a special visit from Santa at Jingle Jubilee. This year marks the 95th anniversary of the tree lighting ceremony. You can find other holiday activities in gaithersburg here.

City of Bowie
Sunday, December 5
7:00- 8:00 pm
Join friends and neighbors at the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Watch as the mayor lights the tree, marking the beginning of the holiday season in Bowie. Write a letter to Santa and put it in his North Pole mailbox.

If we happened to miss any Christmas Tree lightings, please leave them in the comments below. Thank you!

christmas tree lighting

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Tatiana was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the United States at age 15. She moved from Houston to DC in 2007 to work for an international organization. She met her husband at work and married in 2011. She has two children: Santiago (2013) and Antonio (2015) and a Masters degree in Conflict Resoliution. After the birth of her second child, she decided to take time off to stay home and focus on the kids. She is passionate about nutrition, self-led weaning and homemade food. The Story of My Table is her Instagram account and blog where she shares her adventures in the kitchen. She strongly believes that a wine a day keeps the doctor away and that the key to parenting two boys is to keep in good shape. She is not a fan of baking, but would occasionally do it to avoid highly processed food. She is an advocate for natural foods, Montessori education and allowing children to get bored. One day she dreams of building an organization where she can combine her passion for food with peacebuilding.

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