Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Holiday Week (December 24-January 1): Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Everything in Between

“It’s a Wonderful Life” screens at the American History Museum on Monday afternoon. Film still courtesy Paramount Pictures.


FILM The American History Museum presents a single screening of It’s a Wonderful Life on 35mm film. In this 1946 Christmas classic, a man contemplates suicide until his guardian angel shows him an alternate reality of the lives of his friends and family if he had not existed. $10, 3 PM.

BRUNCH Have breakfast and mimosas at the Mansion on O Street before wandering through the mansion, where you can see holiday decorations and find all its secret doors. The mansion is jam-packed with knick-knacks, antiques, and paraphernalia, and everything has a price tag—so it’s a great opportunity for any procrastinators to finish their holiday shopping. $39, various start times from 10 AM to 11:30 AM.


MUSIC The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage doesn’t stop its daily free performances for Christmas; this year, the 20th(!) annual All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam features host/vibraphonist Chuck Redd, drummer Lenny Robinson, trumpeters Robert Redd and Tom Williams, bassist James King, and vocalist Delores King Williams. Free, 6 PM.

YOGA Stretch your body and mind at a Christmas Day yoga workshop at Mind The Mat Pilates & Yoga in Clarendon. This 90-minute class will start with breathing exercises before moving into a flow full of challenging exercises, followed by long, deep stretches. $30, 9 AM.


BASKETBALL Exhibition team The Harlem Globetrotters will play two games at Capital One Arena showing off their unique brand of comedy and basketball stunts. The show moves to Eagle Bank Arena on December 28. Capital One Arena (12/26): 2 PM & 7 PM, $26-$175. Eagle Bank Arena (12/28): 2 PM & 7:30 PM, $26-$179.

MAGIC British performer Piff the Magic Dragon is a magician and comedian who appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2015 and now has a residency in Las Vegas. He’s taking a two-day break from the desert to perform shows at the Birchmere; check out the incredible tricks that he and Mr. Piffles (his magic chihuahua) perform, all with a self-deprecating sense of humor.  Through December 27. $39.50, 7:30 PM.


WINE Ever wanted to figure out what type of wine you’re drinking without reading the label? Learn how the experts do it at City Winery’s blind tasting workshop. A sommelier will walk guests through the process, describing some key details of grape varietals and giving tasting tips as guests work their way through 5 different blind tastings. 21+ only. $30, 6:30 PM.

HAPPY HOUR The Shakespeare Theatre is hosting a happy hour for those who might still be working on this holiday week (or those who aren’t, but still need an early-evening drink!). Enjoy a complimentary cocktail and some witty cabaret songs performed by a group of local actors. If that puts you in the mood, then stick around for a performance of the Shakespeare Theatre’s current production, “The Panties, The Partner and The Profit: Scenes from the Heroic Life of the Middle Class.” Happy hour: Free (reservations required), 6 PM. Play: $49-$118, 7:30 PM.


MUSIC The Everyone Orchestra is a rotating cast of jam-band musicians led by conductor Matt Butler. Their shows are entirely improvised and spontaneous; the group that will perform at Gypsy Sally’s includes members of Moe. (Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico), Ween (Glenn McClelland), and the Trey Anastasio Band (James Casey). $20 (in advance) or $23 (day-of), 9 PM.

COMEDY In addition to his stand-up career, comic Dov Davidoff has appeared in HBO’s Crashing and NBC’s Shades of Blue and has even written a memoir about his life as a touring comic, Road Dog. Laugh your way out of 2018 with a string of shows he’s doing at the DC Improv this weekend through New Year’s Eve. $20-$22 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday); $35-$75 (Monday).


MUSEUMS Young museum fans should head to the Hirshhorn for its final “Maker Morning” of December, where adults and kids can explore the Rafael Lozano-Hemmer exhibit “Pulse” with hands-on activities. Interact with the lights in the exhibit and create a take-home illustration of your family’s heartbeats. Free, 10 AM.

MUSIC You’d think that Richmond band Gwar would be a Halloween band, but instead, the group always seems to play the 9:30 Club around Christmas. These scumdogs of the Universe were banished to planet Earth, where they have formed a metal band and now play concerts. Check out their unbelievably over-the-top costumes—be prepared to be covered with blood (and other bodily fluids) throughout the show—and try to avoid being tossed into their meat grinder on stage. Crossover thrash band Iron Reagan and speed-rock band Against the Grain will open the show. $25, 8 PM.


MUSIC The Strauss Symphony of America will perform its “Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert” at Strathmore’s Music Center. This 18-year tradition will feature Strauss waltzes (such as the Blue Danube) and operettas performed by a symphony orchestra accompanied by European singers and ballroom dancers. $49-$125, 3 PM.

KIDS Kramerbooks has a kid’s story time every Wednesday and Sunday morning and they’re continuing it through the holidays. Staff will read a different children’s book every session and will also have fun activities. Bonus: adults will have plenty of time to grab coffee from Kramer’s café while the kids are occupied. Free, 11 AM on Sundays and 10:30 AM on Wednesdays.


GAMES There are always bars or nightclubs for New Year’s Eve, but how about some board games? DC9 is hosting a Monopoly tournament all night, and the event will still feature many of the things that you’d expect from a New Year’s Eve party: DJs, an open bar, and a midnight champagne toast. 21+ only. $50-$85, 9 PM.

FIRST NIGHT If you’re trying to avoid the New Year’s Eve bar scene, head over to Alexandria’s family-friendly First Night celebration, a series of all-evening events that includes everything from three Kids Karnivals (with clowns and face painting) to a Fun Hunt to live music and spoken word throughout Alexandria. The event concludes with fireworks over the Potomac River at midnight. Tickets can be purchased for individual events ($5-$10) or as an all-venue pass ($30-$35), 6 PM to midnight.


WALK/RUN New habits start one day at a time. Start 2019 with a burst of fitness at Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 5th Annual Fresh Start #FitDC 5K at Capitol Riverfront. Walk or run a 5K—or cheer on the participants—in a celebration of getting a fresh start to the new year. Free, 10 AM.

MUSEUMS The Spy Museum is moving to its new location in L’Enfant Plaza in the spring of 2019 and New Year’s Day is the last day to visit at its current location in Chinatown. It’s also the last day to see the museum’s “Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains” exhibit, which will not travel to the new space. $20.95 (in advance) or $22.95 (at the door), 10 AM – 6 PM.

MUSIC Echostage is keeping the New Year’s party going through New Year’s Day with a live performance by Zed’s Dead. The Canadian EDM group, perhaps best known for its charting single “Somewhere Else,” will perform with Whipped Cream and Yultron. $35-$40, 9 PM.

LAST CALL: Here’s what’s closing this week

“Intersections: Richard Tuttle” and closes 12/30 at the Phillips Collection.

“Women of Influence: Elmira Bier, Minnie Byers, and Marjorie Phillips (Part II)” closes 12/30 at the Phillips Collection.

“Corot: Women” closes 12/31 at the National Gallery of Art.