Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 12/12-12/18: Hot Chocolate Music Festival, HOT 99.5’s Jingle Ball, and “A Christmas Carol”

Plus, a holiday market for last-minute shopping.

Ford's Theatre production of A Christmas Carol. Photograph by Titus Ogilvie-Laing.

Happy Monday, everyone!

If you haven’t started listening to holiday music yet, there’s plenty of options to get you in a festive mood this week. You can hear the season’s hit songs at Jingle Ball or stop by a local venue for live caroling, Drake-themed dancing, and chorus-led sing-alongs.


Best Things to Do This Week

  1. Hot Chocolate Music Festival. Party inside a giant heated pop-up tent with area talents in music, theater, visual arts, and culinary arts at the Hot Chocolate Music Festival. All are welcome to be a part of the event showcasing music by DC’s award-winning DJ Tezrah, indoor snow flurries, food vendors, and a signature holiday cocktail bar (Sat, $5, Northeast DC).
  2. HOT 99.5’s Jingle Ball. Local radio station HOT 99.5 is bringing a star-studded line-up to Capital One Arena for this year’s Jingle Ball. Get tickets to see Sam Smith, Pitbull, Charlie Puth, Khalid, Tate McRae, and other celebrity musicians live in concert (Tues, $60+, Capital One Arena).
  3. “A Christmas Carol.” See Director Michael Baron’s music-infused spin on A Christmas Carol. The production leads the audience on a jolly and creative journey as Ebenezer Scrooge travels to Christmas Past, Present, and Future (through Dec. 31, $26+, Ford’s Theatre).
  4. ICE! Gaylord National. Experience Christmas at the Gaylord National in a winter wonderland made of ICE! This year’s exhibition features two million pounds of colorful ice carved to portray characters and scenes from the holiday favorite film, A Christmas Story. Take a zip down the ice slide once you’re done looking around (Mon-Sun, $28+, National Harbor).
  5. Procrastinator’s Holiday Market. This is the last-minute shopping experience you’ve been waiting for. Browse through local wares to complete your gift list at the Procrastinator’s Holiday Market. There will be events for the whole family including train rides and a toy drive (Sat, free, Northeast DC).
Immersive experience at ICE! at Gaylord National. Rendering courtesy of Gaylord National Resort.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Decorate ornaments, meet Santa Claus, and taste hot apple cider at the Home for the Holidays market (Sat, free, Alexandria). Party with CapitalBop and enjoy a special performance by DC’s own Cecily (Mon, free, Northwest DC). Start the morning with complimentary coffee and cider (Wed, free, Arlington).

Arts and culture. Collect fine arts and crafts handmade by local artisans (Fri, free, Alexandria).

Holiday fun. Are you looking for ways to shop small this holiday season? Check out the Re:Her Holiday Market and purchase items from 19 woman-owned businesses (Mon, free, Northwest DC). Discover the Four Seasons’ majestic holiday decor and visit the pop-up market for its final weekend (Sat-Sun, free, Georgetown). Georgetown is still glowing with festive illuminations (through Jan. 22, free, Georgetown). Zoom around in bumper cars on the ice with the kids (through Dec. 31, $14, National Harbor) or snow tube down a slide (Mon-Sun, $25, National Harbor). Bundle up and go ice skating outdoors (daily, $10+, Arlington). Travel to Maryland for music, cinnamon rolls, ice sculptures, a photo booth, and more fun at Festive Fridays (Fri, free, Columbia).

Theater and shows. It’s the last call to see The Improvised Shakespeare Company (Tues-Sun, $35+, Kennedy Center) and the musical The Day You Begin (Sat-Sun, $20+, Kennedy Center). See the premiere of A Soldier’s Play (opening Tues, $45+, Kennedy Center). Get tickets to a Cirque-styled Christmas show featuring acrobatics and flying stunts (through Dec. 31, $22, National Harbor). Making time to laugh is a good idea: see a show at the Comedy Club DC (Fri-Sun, $15, Northwest DC). Ballet Theatre of Maryland is performing The Nutcracker (Sat-Sun, $30+, virtual, Annapolis).

History and heritage. In acknowledgment of Emily Dickinson’s recent birthday, the Folger Shakespeare Library is hosting a discussion about the poet’s famous Black Cake recipe (Mon, $5+, virtual).

Music and concerts. We wish you a Merry TUBACHRISTMAS (Mon, free, Kennedy Center). Enjoy an evening of caroling at the historic Willard hotel (Fri-Sun, free, Downtown). Dance to the punk rock rhythms of Foals at the Anthem (Tues, $35+, Wharf). Sing along with Capital City Symphony and Potomac Fever at their holiday concert (Sun, $35, free for ages 16 and younger, Northeast DC). Snap your fingers to world-jazz group VERONNEAU at Blues Alley (Tues, $30+, Georgetown). It’s a Drake-themed holiday party (Fri, $25+, Northeast DC).

Movies. Watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at Dovetail’s heated patio (Sun, $30+, Northwest DC). Or, see a screening of Die Hard (Tues, $5, Northwest DC). Add a bit of fright to your movie options and watch Silent Night, Deadly Night  or Don’t Open Till Christmas (Sat, $12, Mount Pleasant). All-you-can-eat cereal and classic cartoons, what more can you ask for? Grab tickets to Spoons Toons and Booze Christmas Special (Sat-Sun, $15, Arlington). Watch retro flick Batman Returns at E Street Cinema (Tues, $7, Northwest DC).

Get involved. Volunteer with Wreaths Across America to help honor fallen veterans (Sat, free, Northwest DC).

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Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.