December starts with a bang with the much-anticipated fireworks at The Wharf. Catch the start of the boat parade in Old Town Alexandria at 5:30 p.m. Or watch it swing by The Wharf at 7 p.m. The Wharf’s fireworks start at 8 p.m. Looking for some small town charm this holiday season? Head to Manassas for a 27 year tradition when Santa rolls into town on a train at 6 p.m. If you need to entertain out-of-town guests, there are a number of family-friendly productions, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas at The National Theatre and The Puppet Company’s production of The Nutcracker.
photo: Jill Wellington via Pixabay
In The City
Holidays at The Wharf
Make Christmas special by heading to the waterfront for this tree lighting ceremony and boat parade. This free event is packed with holiday fun, including a Santa photo op, miniature boat making, ornament decorating, live music, a boat procession that starts at 7 p.m. and a fireworks finale at 8 p.m. A little word to the wise: carpool (parking is hard-to-find) and come early if you can for a good viewing spot. Sat. Event details.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Catch the Broadway hit, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, at The National Theatre this holiday season. Praised as “100 times better than any bedtime story” by The New York Times, this production is suitable for all ages. Fri.-Sun. Event details.
In The ‘Burbs
Festival of Lights & Carols
Get ready to belt some Christmas classics (and a few new tunes) at this annual sing-along event. Head to Old Town Square to listen to live holiday music, eat s’mores and sip hot cider. Be sure to stay for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Sat. Event details.
The Puppet Company’s The Nutcracker
For the youngest of the bunch, or families interested in a “My First Nutcracker” experience, The Puppet Company offers Tchaikovsky’s familiar story of Clara and her prince with nursery rhyme spin. The Puppet Company is especially sensitive to the needs of children in theater, with gently dimmed lights and family-friendly seating. Sat. Event details.
Santa Lights Manassas
Choo, choo! Santa coming through! Get hyped for the arrival of Santa by VRE train. Now a 27 year tradition, Santa arrives by rail to light the Manassas tree followed by a very special meet-and-greet. There are plenty of holiday activities to make an evening out of this annual event. Go ice skating, take a wagon ride or get a jump on holiday shopping. Fri. Event details.
Holiday Family Day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Discover how how the holiday season was commemorated in the 18th century through family-friendly activities. Visit the Bowling Green to learn about the holiday season at Mount Vernon. Enjoy fun activities such as take home crafts, a special children’s dancing program and a holiday passport to explore the estate. Activities and take-home craft kits available while supplies last. Sat. Event details.
—Meghan Yudes Meyers