Crèche Exhibit at Washington National Cathedral
Through January 7, Washington National Cathedral is displaying a selection of its collection of nativity scenes, including miniatures and those made from rare materials. Many of the scenes reflect a variety of cultural interpretations.
Fairmont Hotel Tree Lighting and Toys for Tots Fundraiser
On December 1, the Fairmont Washington, D.C. is hosting a tree-lighting ceremony. The hotel’s Crystal Garden is decorated with trees, lights, and animated reindeer. There’s a performance by the Georgetown Visitation Madrigals, hot cocoa, and card decorating. Free, but all are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift for Toys for Tots. 5.
St. Nicholas Day Celebration
Even if you aren’t German, you can celebrate St. Nicholas Day. He’s the predecessor of Santa Claus, who leaves toys and other goodies in children’s boots. On December 5, the Goethe-Institut is hosting an afternoon of German board and card games as well as other holiday treats. 2 to 6; $5. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
B.B. King, Sara Bareilles, and Maroon 5 are on hand to help light the National Christmas Tree on December 9. The super-green tree stands on the Ellipse. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to score a ticket to the ceremony, the tree is lit every night from dusk until 11 through January 1.
Capitol Christmas Tree
Not to be confused with the National Christmas Tree, the Capitol Christmas Tree sits on the West Lawn of the US Capitol and is lit by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. This year the theme is “Wyoming—Forever West.” The tree lighting is Tuesday, December 7, at 5, and it remains lit through January 1 from dusk to 11.
Merriment in Georgetown
This December 5 festival features horse-drawn-carriage rides and a performance by the acclaimed kids’ band Milkshake. There’s also a fruitcake-eating contest and a gourmet-hot-chocolate tasting. Many stores are having special sales and discounts on holiday gifts and decorations. 2 to 5. No cover.
Greens Sale, St. John’s Episcopal Church
Go green this holiday season with St. John’s Episcopal Church’s annual sale of hand-decorated wreaths, holiday plants, and other greenery as well as gourmet food and other gifts. There’s also a display of crèches from around the world and a visit by Father Christmas. Saturday, December 11, from 10 to 3:30.
National Museum of Women in the Arts Ninth Annual Holiday Gift Market
Shop in the Grand Hall of the National Museum of Women in the Arts for treats and trinkets by women artisans and designers. Shoppers can also take a gallery tour. Wednesday, December 15, from 10 to 8 and Thursday, December 16, from 10 to 5. Free.
Black Cat Rock N’ Shop
Dig for the perfect gift with a rocker edge at the Black Cat’s twice-yearly garage sale. It’s been known to turn up rare records as well as unique clothing and accessories. Sunday, December 19, at 8 PM.
Downtown Holiday Market
For 21 days beginning December 3, the intersection of Eighth and F streets, Northwest, is transformed into a holiday shopping village. With more than 150 vendors rotating through, it would be hard not to find the perfect present. Noon to 8 through December 23. For a complete list of vendors and their operating hours, click here.
Capitol Riverfront Holiday Market
The Capitol Riverfront is hosting a gift market featuring jewelry, photography, pottery, and more. There’s live music every day from 12:30 to 1:30. Tuesday, December 14, through Friday, December 17, from 10 to 7 and Saturday, December 18, from 10 to 3.
Renwick Holiday Festival
On Saturday, December 4, the Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is displaying a holiday tree decorated with hand-painted ornaments along with a performance by the Smithsonian Encore Chorale and hot apple cider. Free. 11 to 2.
ZooLights at the National Zoo
The National Zoo gets lit up with a display of thousands of animated twinkle lights. Bundle up to enjoy animal habitats made of gingerbread, choral performances, and a kids' train ride. Free. 6 to 8:30. December 3 through 12, ZooLights is Friday to Sunday; starting December 17, it’s every night except December 24, 25, and 31.
Norwegian Christmas at Union Station
Union Station celebrates Christmas with friends from Norway with the 14th annual Christmas tree lighting. The 32 foot tall tree is decorated with 8000 lights and streamers with Norwegian and American flags and will be on display until January 3. The December 2 ceremony features a performance by the Children’s Choir of Washington. 6 PM.