December 14, 2015
As the year comes to a close, it is time to immerse oneself into the holiday season. After shopping for presents, sending cards and packages, and working long hours, it is often easier to act like the Grinch rather than Buddy the Elf. But there is something for everyone to do and see in the Washington, D.C. metro area to get into the holiday spirit. We all can become more like Will Ferrell’s iconic character with a few fun activities in the city to enjoy. Take a break from the stress of the holiday, take a deep breath, and spend quality time with love ones in the nation’s capital. Here are 7 fun activities to make the holidays of 2015 memorable:
1) White House Christmas Tree
Across the street from the south lawn of the White House, the White House Christmas tree can be found on the Ellipse. An annual tradition, the president, First Lady, and family celebrate the start of the holiday season by lighting up the tree in front of onlookers. This year’s lighting ceremony was held on December 3rd. Although the main event is over, live entertainment is at the tree nightly spreading the Christmas cheer. In addition to the tree, the national menorah can be seen on the Ellipse as well.
2) Willard Hotel
The historic Willard Hotel has been the center on the Washington, D.C. social scene for decades. The hotel hosts numerous social events throughout the year. For this Christmas season, the Willard is offering a holiday afternoon tea from 1pm to 4pm every day except, December 25th, 26th, and 31st. If you do not want to cook on Christmas or Thanksgiving day, the Willard Hotel is offering reservations. Visit the Willard hotel with friends and enjoy each other’s company along with food and drinks.
3) Ice Skating
Want to enjoy the outdoors and exercise with friends and family this winter? Ice-skating is the perfect outdoor activity for Christmastime in the city. One place to ice skate is at the National Gallery of Art. You do not have to be a professional to ice skate here. The National Gallery of Art’s outdoor ice rink is opened everyday except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day until March. The museum has the dates and times on their website. Note that because the rink is outdoors, it will close during adverse weather conditions.
4) Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre
For the theatre lovers, the classic holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol”, is currently playing at Ford’s Theatre. For those who do not know, “A Christmas Carol” is the tale of a banker named Ebenezer Scrooge, who realizes the spirit of Christmas after receiving visits from ghost of Christmas past, present, and future. Although the play is a little spooky, kids and adults have enjoyed the masterpiece for years. The play will be performed until the end of the year. Tickets can be purchased on the website, which is found in the link below.
Free, fun, and family friendly, ZooLights at the National Zoo is a popular attraction during this time of year. ZooLights brings holiday lights and activities to the zoo after dark. Visitors can listen to live music, watch local zoo animals eat, and even go tubing! ZooLights is currently open every night from 5pm to 9pm until January 2nd, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
6) Volunteer/ Give back
In the spirit of the holiday season, it is important to remember that behind the sales and presents, there are people in need of help in the city and throughout the U.S. There are many different ways to give back during the Christmas season. Two of the best and easiest charities to give to are the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots. Salvation Army collects monetary donations on the streets for those in great need. Ringing Santas with red collection bins on street corners and in storefronts are a staple in this season. Organized by the United Marine Corps Reserves, Toys For Tots collects gifts for underprivileged children. Click the links below for information on both charities.
7) Holiday Market (downtown)
Still need to finish your Christmas shopping? Then visit downtown Washington, D.C. at the Holiday Market to buy “one of a kind” gifts for that special person in your life. Artists and crafters have their works for sale, which cannot be found local department stores. Located between 8th and F Street, the Holiday Market is opened daily from 12pm to 8pm till December 23rd. If you can not find a gift here, then visit local shops in the downtown area of the city.
There is plenty to do and to enjoy this Christmas and New Year’s season. Take time to spend the season with the people you cherish in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Under all the craziness of the holiday, there is always something to be thankful for. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.