Your Holiday Celebrations: Enjoy the Region, Support Your Local Small Businesses & Artists, and Do it in Style!
The holidays are here! From holiday displays to winter celebrations, to visits with Santa or watching a parade, the Northern Virginia region offers much to see and do that will keep help you celebrate through end of the year. So, whether you are looking for holiday cheer or searching for the perfect Thanksgiving pie, here are a few seasonal events that you might want to check out.
Christmas in Old Town Alexandria – Named one of “America’s Top Holiday Towns” in 2016 by USA Today and a “Top 10 Christmas Town” by HGTV, old town Alexandria offers an authentic holiday experience. The City of Alexandria hosts events including the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Scottish Walk weekend, the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, candlelight tours, Christmas in Camp, and a variety of holiday concerts.
When: Various. Check website for dates for individual activities.
Nalls Farm Market – Driving toward Winchester on Rt. 7 east, you’ll find Nalls Farm Market in Berryville, VA. From the road, Nalls Farm Market looks like any country roadside stand but there’s something special inside – a pie shop. From the instant you arrive and breathe in the freshly baked pie aroma, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to Grandma’s house. The smell is nothing short of baked bliss. This is a great place to pick up your holiday pies but order early!
Hint: Try the Apple Nut Caramel but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Bull Run Festival of Lights – The Bull Run Festival of Lights is a 2.5 mile drive-through holiday light show combined with a holiday village and carnival. The seasonal light display features 40,000 animated lights set to music with displays including penguins, snowmen, candy canes, jumping deer, Santa’s workshop, Frosty the Snowman, tin soldiers, elves and Santa.
After viewing the lights, you can enjoy visiting the Winter Wonderland Holiday Village that features amusement rides, an ice skating rink, entertainment, shopping, contests, food, and more.
Festival of Lights: November 22, 2017 – January 7, 2018. Hours: Monday – Thursday & Sunday: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays & holidays: 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Village and Carnival: December 8, 2017 – January 1, 2018. Hours: 5:30-9:30. Monday – Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday and Holidays. Santa will be at the Village until December 23.
Snowflake Stampede: – Saturday, November 18, 2017, 5:30 p.m. Enjoy a 2.5 mile fun run or walk and a special preview of the Festival of Lights on foot.
City of Fairfax Festival of Lights & Carols – Enjoy a day of holiday cheer and festivities including lunch with Santa, s’more’s by the yule log, ice sculpting, hot cider, face painting, Christmas tree lighting and caroling in Fairfax city
When: December 2nd 2017, 11AM-7PM
The Fredericksburg Arts & Crafts Show offers a wide variety of quality handmade items.
You will find unique gifts for people on your holiday list. Maybe you’ll pick up a little something for yourself as well.
When: December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 2017
Holiday Parade – Since 1985, the Fredericksburg parade has become a downtown Fredericksburg holiday tradition with bands, marching units, and floats, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
When: December 2nd, 2017 at 5:30pm
Christkindlmarkt – After a 3-year hiatus, Christkindlmarkt returns this year for a taste of old Germany. If you’ve ever strolled through the traditional Christmas markets in Europe, you’ll love the Christkindlmarkt in Front Royal.
When: December 2nd, 2017
Village at Leesburg Christmas Tree Lighting – Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage to light the Musical Tree. This 5-story tall tree with a snowfall topper and more than 15,000 dazzling lights performs daily music and light shows. The festivities include horse-drawn carriage rides, live performances, holiday characters, cozy fire pits and more. You are encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to Toys for Tots.
When: November 18th, 2017 3:00PM-6:00PM
Leesburg Animal Park Christmas Village – The Leesburg Animal Christmas Village has a new indoor facility that will be decorated with beautiful holiday ornamentations and the outdoor common area will showcase thousands of lights. You can have a photo with Santa, with live animals, or participate in the bonfire and marshmallow roasting. While you’re there, you can pick up a Christmas tree or a wreath at the on site farm market.
When: December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 & 23 from 6-9 PM
Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Ida Lee Recreation Center – This annual show features more than 95 local and regional artisans with fine, handmade creations and products including candles, stained glass, carved wood, jewelry, leather products, table linens, and much more. Admission is free to the public and door prizes are drawn every hour.
When: December 2nd, 9:00AM-4:00PM and December 3rd, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Leesburg Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting –The Leesburg community kicks off the holiday season with the town Christmas tree lighting, featuring performances from local elementary schools, high schools, words from the mayor, council and guest speaker. Join in a holiday sing-a-long and stay in town for the evening for Leesburg’s First Friday event. Local businesses and merchants will be open late to host some holiday cheer.
When: December 1st, 2017 at 6:00PM
Sounds of Christmas Downtown – Historic downtown Leesburg will be dressed up in its finest holiday décor to welcome visitors to celebrate the season. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride, see the strolling carolers, or take a photo with Santa at Coldwell Banker.
When: Saturday, December 9th & 16th, 12:00PM-3:00PM
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens – Visit the historic estate as it comes alive with afternoon teas, holiday house tours, a small works art show, shopping, wreath making, a Christmas cabaret and children’s theater. Oatlands Mansion will be decorated for Christmas and open for walk through tours through the end of December. Each room of the 1804 Oatlands mansion will sparkle with unique decorations, some featuring materials from the gardens on the property. The holiday décor will also feature beautifully decorated Christmas trees throughout the home. The Mansion will close at 5:00 p.m. daily.
When: November 17th – December 30th 2017
Leesburg Christmas and Holiday Parade and Festival – Who doesn’t like a parade? Catch Santa and his friends parade down King Street, through the heart of historic Leesburg.
When: December 9th, 2017 6:00PM
Jingle Jam – Leesburg’s holiday rock n’ roll concert features many local and regional artists playing traditional holiday tunes. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Tickets will go on sale on November 13, 2017, at 5:00 am at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, in-person sales only with a 5-ticket limit.
When: December 9th, 2017. Check website for times.
Manassas Christmas Parade – Old Town Manassas celebrates the Christmas season each year with a weekend of old-fashioned family fun at the “Merry Old Town” celebration. The festivities include a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the Manassas Christmas Parade, a gingerbread contest and lots of holiday activities for all ages.
When: December 2nd, 2017 10:00AM
Celebrate Christmas in Middleburg – On the first Saturday in December, the community is transformed into a Christmas oasis. A tree lighting, a Christmas parade, shopping, carolling, and more. Over 10,000 visitors make Christmas in Middleburg a family tradition.
When: December 1st-2nd, 2017. Check website for times.
Christmas at Mount Vernon – Christmas at one of Northern Virginia’s top attractions transports visitors back in time to experience the holidays like George Washington did with themed decorations, a gingerbread Mount Vernon, historical chocolate-making demonstrations, 18th-century dancing, and even a Christmas camel.
When: November 24th – January 6th, 2018
Lake Anne Village Center – Welcome the holidays with a Lake Anne tradition of a petting zoo, entertainment, ornament-making for children, Faux Bear, holiday market vendors, and the arrival of Santa by barge. Santa arrives at 12:00 p.m. to visit with children on the plaza.
When: December 2nd , 2017 11AM-2 PM
Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion – It’s that time again. From early November to mid-March, the Reston Town Center becomes an ice skating pavilion. The skate shop is stocked with over 500 pairs of skates ranging from size 8 toddler through men’s size 13, in both Figure and Hockey styles.
When: Visit website for details and times
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Winter Walk of Lights – Bring your family and friends to be dazzled by the magical Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Every year from mid-November until just after New Year’s Day, the garden is transformed into a half-mile, walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the animated Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights, and the Holiday Nature Walk – and look for new displays each year. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows and sipping on hot beverages by the fire.
When: November 10th-January 7, 2018
Wolf Trap National Park Holiday Sing-A-Long – Sing Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with the United States Marine Band vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. The audience is invited to bring candles to light during the last verse of “Silent Night,” the final song of the program. There is also a ‘Jing-A-Long’ during the singing of Jingle Bells, so bring a bell along with your candle. Admission is free and no tickets are required.
When: December 2nd, 4PM
The Warrenton Christmas Parade – The Warrenton Christmas Parade is returning after winning the “Best Annual Event” for a fifth year in a row from the Piedmont Lifestyle Magazine. The parade will travel down historic Main and Mayor Powell Duggan and his special guest will illuminate the town’s Christmas tree on the courthouse steps at the conclusion of the parade.
When: On December 1st, 2017 6:00PM
The Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony – Shenandoah Conservatory’s premier performance series featuring a dynamic line-up of music, theatre and dance by the conservatory’s own award-winning faculty and students, as well as unforgettable performances by internationally acclaimed guest artists. With more than 150 performances annually, the Conservatory Performs is the region’s most robust and diverse performing arts presenter.
Cocktails at Christmas at the Belle Grove Plantation – Belle Grove is an authentic 1797 Manor house located in the northern Shenandoah Valley near Middletown, Virginia. It was built by Major Isaac Hite and his wife Nelly Madison Hite, sister of President James Madison. Join in for this festive cocktail party that has become an annual tradition. Each year they create a special cocktail featuring Copper Fox Distillery’s Belle Grove 1797 Whiskey. The evening will also include holiday music and the opportunity to tour the decorated Manor House lit by candlelight.
When: December 10th, 2017 5:00 PM
Article by Jan Johnston Osburn
Edited by Jessica Monte