December Family-Friendly Events Guide

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December is here, and with it comes a multitude of opportunities for family fun. In addition to the events compiled here, please check out our guide to Hanukkah Happenings, our 2021 Holiday Light Display Guide, and our Christmas Tree Lighting Guide. These and other resources – including some that can help you find the perfect gift – can be found in our guide to Winter Holidays, Activities, and Events. As you enjoy the lights, markets, performances, crafts, and fireworks, know that DC Area Moms wish you and your family all the joy, peace, and love of the season.

Attend our Deck the Walls event on Sunday, December 5 from 1-3 pm! Grab your ticket here!  We will have light bites, giveaways, and fun with fellow moms!

December Events in Washington, DC

DC Area Moms aims to build a sense of community among all moms in the DMV. It is with this care and concern for everyone in our communities that we encourage you to follow the ever-changing COVID protocols of the venues and events you attend as you enjoy these fun winter days. Also, you can keep up to date on the latest CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated people and those who are unvaccinated. We hope you find many ways to safely enjoy time with your family during this eventful season.

Festive Fireworks

Now – December 18
National Plaza
National Harbor, MD
Enjoy a spectacular fireworks display every Saturday night through December 18. The show begins at 5:30pm. While you are at National Harbor, enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area and perhaps a ride on the ferris wheel.

Cinderella

Now – December 26
Synetic Theater
Arlington, VA
Cinderella is stepping into her own shoes! Led by an all-female team of Syneticons, this innovative take on the classic fairytale is a perfect fit for audiences of all ages.

Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins

Now – January 2
The Puppet Co.
Glen Echo, MD
In this production, based on the book by Eric Kimmel, Hershel just wants to celebrate Hanukkah with the community, but the Queen and King of the Goblins have forbidden the lighting of the candles. Can Hershel save the day and lift the curse for this shtetl (village)? Join the Puppet Co. during Hanukkah (November 28 – December 5) to take home a special gift. The Puppet Co. is currently operating at 50% capacity.

Train Display at U.S. Botanic Garden

Now – January 2
U.S. Botanic Garden
Washington, DC
The holiday display at the United States Botanic Garden is back! Festive adornments, winterberries, lighted trees and shrubs, and conifers and greenery will be placed throughout the Garden. The ever popular train display will be outdoors this year. It can be visited in the gated outdoor gardens from 10am – 5pm daily (closed on Christmas Day). Tickets are not required. The Conservatory and restrooms remain closed.

Enchant – Christmas

Now – January 2
Nationals Park
Washington, DC
The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze and Market will return to Nationals Park this winter. The magical World of Enchant is filled with dazzling displays that feel like they come right out of a childhood Christmas dream. Marvel at the 100 ft. animated tree, glide across the glistening Ice Skating Trail, pose for photos with Santa himself, and sip and savor delicious festive holiday treats every step of the way. Purchase tickets online. Kids up to age 2 are free.

DC Holiday Lights

Now – January 6
Various Neighborhoods
Washington, DC
Fourteen of DC’s Main Streets and commercial corridors have joined together to bring you a spectacular holiday experience. Take a stroll down each of the participating corridors to experience a dazzling array of lights and decor. Then, cast your vote for the best decorated corridor. You can maximize your experience by downloading self-guided walking tours of some of the neighborhoods or by joining a citywide scavenger hunt.

Lights & Ice: Hanukkah Skate Night

December 2
Canal Park Ice Rink
Washington, DC
Celebrate the Festival of Lights at the Canal Park Ice Rink. Free skate rentals will be offered to the first 100 attendees to glide around the outdoor menorah along with free donuts plus dreidel and gelt giveaways.

Winter Festival

December 4
National Children’s Museum
Washington, DC
This special holiday event at the Museum will feature festive refreshments, a photo opportunity with Santa, plus other holiday friends and cheer. The Winter Festival is a ticketed event. Space is limited, so reserve your tickets today. Every ticket includes admission to the Museum 9am – 12pm, small bites, warm drinks, and the opportunity to take a photo with Santa.

50th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk

December 4
Old Town from St. Asaph Street and Wolfe Street to Market Square
Alexandria, VA
The City of Alexandria was officially established by three Scottish merchants and named after its original founder, John Alexander, also of Scottish descent. Join the city as it celebrates this heritage with its annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade. Dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans will parade through the streets of Old Town, joined by pipe and drum bands from around the region. There are other events held throughout the weekend including a scotch tasting and a hot chocolate bar.

Holiday Boat Parade

December 4
The Wharf
Washington, DC
Celebrate the holidays with this iconic DC event that features over sixty beautifully decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel. On land (at The Wharf), there will be a number of family-friendly activities to enjoy, including photos with Santa, live holiday music, ornament decorating, ice skating, and more. A fireworks finale will begin at 8pm. Many boaters will also participate in the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights at the Old Town Alexandria waterfront the same evening at 5:30pm. See that event’s website for details.

MetroCooking DC

December 4 – 5
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC
The 15th annual MetroCooking DC Show is the ultimate foodie outing, whether you’re an aspiring home cook or expert entertainer. This two-day culinary extravaganza provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all food and entertaining enthusiasts. Enjoy cooking demos and book signings with top Celebrity Chefs. Sample from local restaurants in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Learn new home cooking techniques and tips in the Taste Talks. Sharpen your culinary skills in the pop-up cooking school. There will be plenty of hands-on activities for all ages! Children under the age of 4 are admitted for free with a paying adult.

Chanukah Celebration

December 5
Glen Echo Park
Glen Echo, MD
Take your family to Glen Echo Park to celebrate the last night of Chanukah with children’s theater performances and a Chanukah Party! The party will feature refreshments, Chanukah music, and arts and crafts for kids of all ages. It will conclude with the lighting of the menorah. Choose from four different ticket package options. This is sure to sell out, so reserve your spot today. The deadline to purchase tickets is 5pm on December 1.

Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show

December 9 – 19
Atlas Theater
Washington, DC
As the world’s first holiday show highlighting the African American tradition of stepping, the Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is a feast for the eyes and ears. Fabulous and furry friends from the Arctic Kingdom – Popper the Penguin along with polar bear twins, Pinky and Polo-ensure a fun and exciting experience for the entire family! This fun, family-friendly performance will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands to energetic beats from Step Afrika! Due to vaccination policies of the theater, attendees must be age 5 or older.

Holly TrolleyFest

December 11, 18, and 19
National Capital Trolley Museum
Colesville, MD
Take your family to celebrate the season with toy trains and Santa aboard the museum’s streetcars. In addition to the streetcar ride, you can visit with Santa and see the museum’s Winter Garden Railway.

Corduroy

December 11 – January 24
Imagination Stage
Bethesda, MD
We all need a friend, and Lisa is instantly drawn to the perfectly imperfect teddy bear on display at the department store. If only she can convince her stressed-out mother to buy Corduroy for her. Meanwhile, Corduroy is determined to find his missing button and become worthy of going to a real home. After the store has closed, he goes on a hilariously destructive search–with the Night Watchman in comical pursuit. Full of mischief and clowning, this story of unconditional love captures both the humanity and the merriment of the holiday season.

Lantern Light Tour – Kids Night

December 16
Tudor House
Washington, DC
Celebrate the holiday season at Tudor Place. Alongside friends and family, explore the Historic House by candlelight to discover celebrations of winters past. Then, journey through the lantern-lit gardens on a guided-tour as you learn about the Peter family’s Christmas traditions.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

December 16 – 19
Theatre at MGM Grand
Oxon Hill, MD
Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the stage in this awe-inspiring and eye-popping family holiday spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family.

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon

December 17 & 18
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon, VA
Join Mount Vernon for an evening of family-friendly fun and fireworks choreographed to holiday music. Before the fireworks begin around 8:15pm, take a stroll through the estate and enjoy an 18th-century winter encampment, the working Blacksmith Shop, Christmas carolers, and Aladdin the Camel. Food will be available for purchase and a Winter Market will sell 18th century wares and crafts. Purchase tickets in advance.

Family Christmas

December 18 & 24
The Kennedy Center
Washington, DC
Bring the kids for an unforgettable holiday experience as the Choral Arts Chorus fills the concert hall with holiday classics just for them! We’ll take you on a merry tour of holiday sing-alongs and Christmas favorites that will have your family singing all the way home. Expect a visit from Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph! This one-hour concert is perfect for children ages 5 and up.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

December 20 – 22
The Music Center at Strathmore
North Bethesda, MD
A holiday mash-up for the whole family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker returns to Strathmore. This contemporary dance spectacle is a remixed and reimagined version of the classic, smashing hip hop dance and Tchaikovsky’s timeless music together into a heart-stirring and inspirational holiday event.

Waterskiing Santa

December 24
Old Town Waterfront
Alexandria, VA
Watch this long-running holiday tradition along the Potomac River at the Old Town Waterfront. After the show, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their merry crew meet and greet children and families by the Christmas Tree in Waterfront Park.

Noon Yards Eve

December 31
Yards Park
Washington, DC
Yards Park will ring in the new year with its traditional early celebration (10am – 1pm) at a family-friendly, all ages event during Noon Yards Eve. Families in the area will be treated to a New Years themed event with activations including balloon artistry, a giant slide, musical and magical performances, carnival games, glitter tattoos, and the ever popular trackless train ride throughout Yards Park. When the clock strikes noon, guests will enjoy a signature moment to ring in 2022! While there, your family can enjoy Light Yards, which is a larger-than-life light installation featuring illuminated, 22 feet tall trees trimmed top to bottom in holiday decor and festooned lights. Light Yards runs every night from Dec. 1 through Jan. 1.

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