Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Week and Weekend (December 23-29): Waterskiing Santa, Hanukkah, and Christmas Day

See Santa on waterskis in Alexandria on Christmas Eve. Photograph by Nick Eckert.


MUSIC Symphonic rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform holiday music with epic light shows. Hear revamped songs from their debut studio album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories, at two shows at Capital One Arena; the group will play original holiday tunes plus a few familiar songs such as “O Come All Ye Faithful / O Holy Night.” $49.50 – $79.50, 3 PM & 7:30 PM.

DREIDEL Show off your spins at the DC Dreidel Championship at Sixth & I. Win prizes, eat Chinese food and latkes, and listen to music while competing for the longest spin. $10, 7 PM.


EVENT At night, Santa travels by sleigh, but during the day, he waterskiis—at least, that’s where you’ll find him at the Old Town Alexandria Waterfront in the  holiday tradition that dates back to 1986. Santa’s big entrance is preceded by a few other fun characters on jet skis. Santa and his pals will greet families after the show in the pavilion on the waterfront and behind the Torpedo Factory. Free, 1 PM.

FILM See the 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life at the National Museum of American History’s Warner Bros. Theater. Starring James Stewart, the film shows a selfless man the impact he’s had on the lives of others. $10, 3:15 PM.


MUSIC The Kennedy Center presents a free show every day at 6 PM; on Christmas Day, this performance moves into the grand Concert Hall for the 21st edition of the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam. In this Millennium Stage tradition, hear host/vibraphonist Chuck Redd with his lineup of Lenny Robinson on drums, Robert Redd and Tom Williams on trumpet, bassist James King, and vocalist Delores King Williams. Free (tickets distributed starting at 4:30 PM), 6 PM.

VOLUNTEER Help serve food to individuals in need who are poor and homeless at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Jump on a number of different tasks, from delivering meals around town to helping in the kitchen; if your desired task and time slot is full, there’s a wait list in case there are any cancellations. Free, 7 AM – 4:30 PM.


MUSIC Hear twangy songs at Pearl Street Warehouse by Human Country Jukebox, the group fronted by The Voice alum Jack Gregori. As the band’s name would imply, they’ll take requests, so expect some creative interpretations of your favorite country tunes. Free, 8 PM.

PARTY Celebrate the fourth night of Hanukkah at The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum. Enjoy a grand menorah lighting and share in the joy of the festival of lights while eating potato latkes and listening to Hanukkah music. Free, 6:30 PM.


THEATER If you’re looking for things to do with kids who are out of school or day care this week, head to Atlas Performing Arts Center for Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop. Mr. Gumdrop runs into a mouse as he’s getting ready for his annual holiday party, and the two must work together—nonverbally—to get their preparations done in time. Best for ages 2-5. Through December 31. $15.

LIGHTS Enjoy holiday lights indoors at the Washington National Cathedral’s “Holiday Light Spectacular.” Sing along to holiday tunes (“Winter Wonderland,” “Let It Snow”), see a screening of the 1982 film The Snowman with a live orchestra, and gaze at the lights projected on the columns and high vaulted ceilings. Through December 28. $40.


TOUR Learn the history of Frederick Douglass and Howard University on a walking tour led by John Muller, author of the biography Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia. Starting outside the home of Senator Blanche K. Bruce on M Street NW and ending at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe on Georgia Avenue, this walking tour will cover the history of Shaw from the Civil War through Reconstruction and beyond; learn about the formation of Howard University and its notable faculty. $12, 10 AM.

FILM See a screening of Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement at the Black Cat; the film covers the music scene in DC from 1976 to 1983, when high-energy punk infused this otherwise conservative city. Featuring interviews with Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins, and HR of Bad Brains, it shows how the music sparked a social and political movement. In addition to the documentary, see DC punk short films from Punk the Capital’s archives such as concert footage of the Cramps at Georgetown University. $10, 8 PM.


MUSIC Enjoy the music of Hank Williams at a tribute show at the Birchmere. A rotating lineup of musicians—Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Pete and Maura Kennedy, the Bumper Jacksons, Patrick McAvinue, and Mark Schatz—will perform Williams tunes both famous and obscure. $29.50, 7:30 PM.

COMEDY Hear hilarious tales of failure at the Bier Baron in a show dubbed “Mistakes Were Made.” Five different speakers will recount some of their most foolish mistakes; audience members can also submit their own fails, too. $15, 7 PM.