Top 5 Favorite Christmas Events in the DMV Area

Do you smell it? Do you feel it? Can you sense the buzz all around you? My senses are alive with the presence of all things CHRISTmas! As soon as thanksgiving is over in my house we ease right into the Christmas mode. Suddenly we’re humming Christmas tunes and watching Christmas movies. I’m scanning pinterest for new Christmas treat ideas, and checking out local websites for fun adventures to go on during this wonderful season. I try very hard every year to stick to the traditions I started with Johanna and to expand upon them in little ways. No matter what, we have our outings around the area that we simply adore and must do every year. Some of you may have a new family and are looking for traditions, while others may already have your traditions, but are wondering if you’re missing something. For that reason I wanted to compile our top 5 favorite events in the DMV area during the Christmas season.

The Wharf’s Annual Parade of Lights

December 3, 6p.m. – 8p.m.
50+ Decorated Vessels Set to Sail Across the Potomac River to The Wharf from Old Town Alexandria in Grand Holiday Tradition

The annual holiday Parade will feature more than 50 decorated boats sailing across the Potomac River to Washington, DC, from Old Town Alexandria, and will include FREE landside events along The Wharf, including the first snow fall of the holiday season; lighting of the Gangplank Marina Christmas Tree; photos with Santa Claus; live holiday music; a roaring s’mores fire pit; gingerbread cooking tasting; holiday sailboat making; a hot chocolate toast to the season; the illumination of vessels docked at Gangplank Marina and the Capital Yacht Club; and enjoy holiday brews in the Corona Beer Garden. For more information, checkout the website here.

Watkins Park Festival of Lights

Now thru January 1, 2017
$5 per car
This spectacular holiday drive-through event features more than one million twinkling lights, wonderful themed displays, and one of the tallest tree displays in the state! Visit the pg parks website for more information.


December 7, 11a.m.-2p.m.
Winternational is an exciting celebration showcasing the cultural and culinary traditions of Washington’s diplomatic community. This festival has the atmosphere of a bustling global marketplace with each embassy promoting their country through vibrant displays of visual art, food, handcrafts as well as travel and tourism exhibits. Free and open to the public, guests have the opportunity to travel the world and do some holiday shopping — all during the lunch hour!


Now thru January 1, 2017
Zoolights is a free event, featuring live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music!

Holy Trinity Student Association Presents A Dr. Seuss Christmas

December 10, 2016
Adults – $10/Kid’s – $8. $5 for Paint and Sip Session

Join the Holy Trinity family for their annual Breakfast with Santa!  It’s a pancake breakfast, picture session with Santa and Mrs.Claus, a concert featuring young carolers, a wonderful gift raffle, sip & paint, face painting, Christmas Bazaar and much, much more! Visit eventbrite to purchase your tickets.


25 Days of Christmas Fun with Advent Activities!

Every year I look for new traditions to add to my families celebration of Christmas. Johanna’s first year I did the official santa letter, response letter from Santa and certificate. Then the next year I started the Christmas eve boxes where I fill a box for her and my husband with little things – pajamas, cologne, snacks, a coloring book, stickers, earrings, etc. Well this year I decided to add an advent calendar to the mix!

This came about because I was trying to figure out what kind of service activities my 3 year old could do during the Christmas season. It was hard to find something that actually got her involved, but then I started thinking about things we love to do. We are definitely going to do a Christmas child box, but what about baking cookies for our local fire department, the mailman, and ups delivery guy? How about sugar free treats for the local nursing home? Then I began thinking about all of the activities I wanted to do with her for the season and how exciting it would be. Me being a planner started to put together a list so that in December I wasn’t caught by surprise, and instead knew exactly what I was going to do when I was going to do it. An advent calendar made perfect sense! I know there may be some parents out there struggling with ideas of what to do, so I decided to share my list in case it could be helpful to you! Here are our 25 activities (and a couple of extras in case those don’t work out for whatever reason):

  1. Make and Decorate our family Christmas ornament
  2. Decorate a plate for santa
  3. Make Santa cookies and reindeer treats
  4. Write letter to Santa while sipping cider
  5. Frozen movie night
  6. Christmas Lights at Watkins Park
  7. Read a Christmas story
  8. Decorate the Christmas tree
  9. Make hot chocolate with all the toppings!
  10. Decorate gingerbread house
  11. Train ride with Santa
  12. Breakfast with Santa
  13. Operation Christmas Child
  14. Make cookies for our local nursing home
  15. Chocolate dipped pretzels, yummm!
  16. Make snickerdoodles and watch a christmas movie
  17. Make paper crowns and talk about the wisemen and the gifts they brought Jesus
  18. Make Glitter snow globes
  19. Christmas Eve Boxes!
  20. Have fun taking christmas family photos
  21. Make Christmas bark while singing carols
  22. Bake treats for the mailman and ups guy
  23. Take treats to the fire station
  24. Zoo lights
  25. Visit the holiday market in downtown DC
  26. The living Christmas Tree Music and Lights show
  27. Ice skating!
  28. Go to the movies to see the new Annie

And while I was browsing the internet to get more ideas of things to do, I came across this blog which had the brilliant idea of putting together an advent reading plan. It takes the various stories in the bible that talk about Christs birth, and breaks them up into 24 nights, so that you can read them and discuss them as a family. Awesome! Anything that puts the focus back on Jesus gets an Amen and toss of glitter from me! It’s so cool that she posted the breakdown of each day so you don’t have to go searching for the scriptures yourself.

Jesus-Storybook-Bible-reading-plan-for-Advent-free-printableThe bible she got the stories out of is the Jesus story bible. Pick it up if you can. It will make following her template easy peasy.

I pray this post has been a blessing to you and your family during the Christmas season. Please share what your favorite Christmas traditions are and how your family keeps the focus on Jesus as well!