This time of year usually means planning holiday parties, attending soirées, buying gifts, decorating . . . the list is exhausting. With all the stress of the holiday season approaching, why not take time for a new hobby? Sure, you’re about to be loaded down with all those extra tasks, but some of these holiday hobbies come with perks: They’re relaxing, and the result can often be given as a gift. If you’ve always been interested in knitting, try a beginners’ course that will teach you to make a scarf. Knitting can be done during the Metro commute or when unwinding with a glass of wine on the couch. On weekends, take the kids to a baking or pottery class, or try a workshop to find new ways to spice up your holiday dinner party.
Saturday, December 6, through Saturday, December 13: Ornament-Decorating Workshop
The Alexandria Archeology Museum invites families to the Torpedo Factory Art Center to decorate holiday ornaments. Create clay ornaments using different shapes, colors, and patterns, and take them home for yourself or to give as a gift. Saturday, December 6, 1 to 4; Sunday and Monday, 11 to 7; Tuesday through Saturday, December 13, 11 to 9. Free; call 703-838-4399 for more information.
Monday, December 7: Christmas and Hanukkah Desserts Class
Just Cakes in Bethesda invites children and parents to bake and decorate cookies and cakes for the holidays. Guests can shape cookies into dreidels, angels, Christmas trees, stars of David, and more. Classes are limited to ten people. Parent-and-toddler class, 1 to 2:30 PM, $80; ages 9 to 11, 3:30 to 5, $75. Call 301-718-5111 for more information.
Saturday, December 13, and Saturday, December 20: Gingerbread-House Decorating at Lansdowne Resort
The Lansdowne culinary team will give lessons on how to decorate a gingerbread house. The Broad Run High School choral group will provide music during decorating on December 13, and Briar Woods High School will perform on December 20. Reservations are required. Two people can share a gingerbread house for $68; add $10 for each additional guest per house. 9 AM to noon; call 703-729-8400, ext. 2107, for more information.
Saturday, December 13: Kwanzaa Craft Workshop
The Alexandria Black History Museum staff will teach participants how to make Kwanzaa gifts, known as zawadi, while offering a review of the principles of the holiday. This workshop is suitable for novices and those who want to refresh their Kwanzaa knowledge. Supplies will be provided. 11 AM to 12:30 PM; free. Call 703-838-4356 for more information.
Sunday, December 14, and Saturday, December 20: Christmas and Hanukkah Gingerbread Houses
Learn how to roll and decorate gingerbread people and houses at Just Cakes. Icing and decorations will be provided. Classes will be provided for toddlers and parents, children ages 9 to 11, and teens 13 and older in three separate baking sessions. Parents and toddlers, 1 to 2:30 PM, $85; ages 9 to 11, 3:30 to 5, $85; teens 13 and older (December 20), 3 to 5:30, $85. Call 301-718-5111 for more information.
Saturday, December 6, and Saturday, December 13: Basic Knitting Class
Learn to knit and create a handmade gift for the holidays at Knit Happens. The intro-to-knitting classes will teach students how to cast stitches, knit, and purl. When the class is over, students will be able to start a ribbed-scarf project. You’ll need to bring or purchase 200 to 300 yards of worsted wool, merino, or another natural fiber, US#8 or #9 knitting needles, and a darning needle. 1 to 3 PM; $65.
Friday, December 5, through Tuesday, December 16: Holiday Craft and Food Workshops at Anne Arundel Community College; for information on all classes, call 410-777-2325.
• Friday, December 5: Do you need tips on how to make this year’s holiday dinner special? Check out the Christmas Dinner Extraordinaire workshop to sample classic dishes with a twist and get tips on sit-down-dinner and buffet parties. If you’re watching your carbs this holiday season, consider Holiday Lights, which focuses on low-calorie holiday fare. $49.
• Saturday, December 6; Sunday, December 7; and Friday, December 12, through Sunday, December 14: Enjoy an afternoon of baking during a Cookie Exchange class. Recipes and ingredients will be provided. 9 to 3; $95.
• Wednesday, December 10: Try something new this year and add a recipe from around the world to your holiday fare. Supplies and recipes will be provided for the Yule Fuel cooking workshop. 6:30 to 9:30; $54.
• Tuesday, December 16: The Christmas Floral Arrangements workshop will teach participants how to create six holiday floral designs including centerpieces and door decorations. Class is capped at 13 students. Materials provided. 9 to 3:30; $112.
What to Wear