December 2017 events bring holiday parades, markets, tree lightings, and festivals to Northern Virginia for a month of holiday fun. You’ll also find miniature and model trains, interesting history at area parks, and beautiful fireworks to finish the year.
December 2017 Events in Northern Virginia
Christmas in Middleburg, Middleburg, December 1 – 3
The Christmas in Middleburg event has been held during the first weekend in December for over 100 years. The highlight of the festivities is the “Hunt and Hounds Review” featuring hounds trotting down the main Washington Street alongside mounted fox hunt riders. Other activities include a greens sale, craft fair, caroling, a holiday concert, a traditional parade with floats and a progressive food/wine/cider/spirits tasting throughout town. Follow link for schedule details.
1st Annual City of Fairfax Holiday Market, Dec 1 – 3, 8 – 10, 15 – 17
The City of Fairfax starts a new holiday tradition with an Old Town holiday market, during the first three weekends of December. Enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, and gourmet treats and more as you shop for crafts and unique holiday gifts. Vendors will vary each weekend. Friday 5:00 – 9:00, Saturday 10:00 – 6:00, and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00.
Del Ray Fine Art & Craft Holiday Market, Alexandria, Dec 1-3, 8-10, 15-17
Del Ray Artisans’ annual Holiday Market offers unique handmade fine arts and crafts from local artists, and features different artists each weekend. Choose from wall art, pottery, photography, jewelry, glass, and more. The market is open Fridays 6:00 – 9:00; weekends 11:00 – 6:00.
Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, Alexandria, Dec 1 – 2
Old Town Alexandria hosts the annual Scottish Walk weekend, featuring tours of historic homes, a parade filled with hundreds of Scottish clansmen complete with bagpipes, the Torpedo Factory Holiday Festival, the Holiday Parade of Boats, and more holiday fun. The Scottish Walk Weekend is one of our 12 Holiday Favorites picks for seasonal fun in December 2017.
Norwegian Holiday Festival and Bazaar, Fairfax Dec 1 – 2
Enjoy two days of live music, dancing, and cooking demonstrations, as you sample imported foods and baked goods at the annual Norwegian festival. Shop for Nordic sweaters, crafts, books, and more. Friday, 10:00 – 6:00 and Saturday 9:00 – 4:00. Free admission.
Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park, Dec 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23
Leesburg Animal Park in Loudoun celebrates December weekends with a nativity scene with live animals, pony rides, animal encounters, pictures with your furry friends, holiday crafts, a bonfire, holiday lights and more. $9.95, free two and under. 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Christmas Tree Lighting, Mosaic District, Fairfax, December 1
Celebrate the holidays with the Christmas Tree Lighting at Mosaic District. The seasonal celebration includes an outdoor screening of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, live entertainment, and the arrival of Santa Claus. Free; 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
Merry Old Town: Christmas Tree Lighting, Manassas, Dec 1
Enjoy old-fashioned family fun at the “Merry Old Town” celebration in Old Town Manassas, with holiday music, Santa’s arrival at the Manassas Depot on the VRE train, and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Free; 5:15 – 9:00.
Holiday Arts and Crafts Show, Audrey Moore Rec Ctr, Annandale, Dec 2 – 3
The annual show features over 120 area artisans plus door prizes throughout the day. You’ll find unique gifts for everyone including art, pottery, woodwork, quilts, and more at this juried show. Admission $2 (12 and under free). Saturday 9:00 – 4:00, Sunday 10:00 – 3:30.
Holiday Model Train Show, Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, Dec 2 – 3
The Annual Holiday Model Train Show features model trains of many sizes to delight train lovers of all ages. Even Santa himself drops in from time to time, and the “Train Doctor” is on hand to fix or advise on broken models. Gift Shop, snacks and drinks available. Admission is $5/$2 adults/children (members free). Saturday 10:00 – 5:00, Sunday 12:00 – 4:00.
Holiday House Tours, Sky Meadows State Park, Dec 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
Enjoy the aroma of holiday treats cooking over the hearth, costumed interpreters will tell stories of holidays past, and you’ll enjoy the sounds of the season from music in Mount Bleak House. Visit each of the houses in the park’s Historic Area and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays in the past. $5.00 parking; 11:00 – 5:00
Burke Lake Winter Wonderland, Burke Lake Park, Dec 2-3, 9-10
Take a train ride on the Holiday Express, cruise on the U.S.S. Rudolph, take a spin on the Carolers Carousel, experience the Snowman’s Wagon Ride, play Gingerbread Man Golf or warm yourself by the fire and cook s’mores. Visit with Santa, enjoy hot chocolate and candy canes.. Passes are $15 until day before event, $20 day of event. Follow the link to register; limited tickets available at the park on day of event. 10:00 – 4:00.
10th Annual Christkindlmarkt, Lovettsvilla, Dec 2 – 3
Shop for authentic Bavarian goods and treats from over 25 crafters and vendors while you enjoy live music and tasty German food. Visit with St. Nicholas, along with Krampus, the Woodsman, and the Christkindl Angel. $3, under 13 free. 10:00 – 6:00 Saturday, 10:00 – 5:00 Sunday.
Jingle on Lake Anne, Reston, Dec 2
Jingle on Lake Anne, is an annual holiday celebration for kids at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston. It includes a petting zoo, crafts, caroling, and a tree lighting, and the highlight every year—Santa’s thrilling arrival by boat. Be sure to stop in the Community Center to shop local at the 18th annual Gifts from the HeART. Craft market begins at 8:00 AM; follow link for full schedule.
Children’s Holiday Shopping, Frying Pan Park, Dec 2
Children 3 to 14 can do their own gift shopping with the help of volunteers. The Country Store stocks many unique items in all price ranges. Free wrapping assures surprises for family and friends. Free; 10:00 – 1:30.
Clifton Holiday House Tour and Horse Parade, Clifton, Dec 2
Charming Clinton sparkles with spirit at the annual Holiday Horse Parade and costume judging. After the parade, join in caroling at the park then tour homes decorated for the holidays. Free; 2:00 – 7:00.
Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long, Vienna, Dec 2
One of our favorite family events of the season is the holiday sing-a-long at Wolf Trap, featuring the U. S. Marine Band and other vocal groups. The free event begins at 4:00, but arrive early as parking fills up. Bring an unwrapped toy to donate, a bell for the jingle bell sing-a-long, and a candle for the closing candlelight procession during the last verse of Silent Night. Free; 4:00.
Del Ray Christmas Tree Lighting, Alexandria, Dec 2
Live entertainment, a holiday sing-along, a visit with Santa, and thousands of luminaria add even more sparkle to the annual Christmas tree lighting in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. Free; 6:00 pm.
Haymarket’s Holiday Celebration, Haymarket, December 2
Enjoy hot cocoa, cider, and A Taste of Haymarket. Listen to carols and live musical performances as you roast marshmallows over a bonfire in front of Town Hall. The Town Museum stays open all day with a holiday-themed exhibit, and the tree is lit at dusk. Free; 3:00 – 6:00.
Winter Movies Series, Mosaic District, Fairfax, Dec 3, 10, 17
Bundle up and take a break from shopping at the big screen in Strawberry Park. Holiday favorites include Elf (12/3), White Christmas (12/10), and the Polar Express (12/17). Free; 2:00 – 4:00.
Celebration of Lights, Great Falls, Dec 3
Celebrate the season at the annual Christmas tree lighting, featuring hot cider and cocoa next to the fire, local children’s choral groups singing seasonal music, a petting zoo and pony rides, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus arriving by antique fire truck. Free; 4:00 – 6:30
Herndon Holiday Arts & Crafts Show, Herndon, Dec 3
Browse over 80 vendors for unique gifts, holiday decorations, fine art, jewelry, and homemade items at the Herndon Community Center. Free admission and parking. 10:00 – 4:00.
Christmas at Quigleys, Annadale, Dec 8 – 10, 15 – 17
See what happens when a visitor from the North Pole stumbles across New York’s enchanted Quigley’s Trinkets and Toys shop. This Broadway-style musical show presents dazzling numbers that will please the whole family. Follow link for times and tickets.
Christkindlmarket, Reston, Dec 7
The German Military in Reston transforms its parking lot into a traditional German Christmas Market with German food and beverages, arts and crafts, and mulled wine. All proceeds go to local charities, and traditional music adds to the fun. The event gets very busy, so arrive early if you can. Free; 4:00 – 9:00.
Christmastide at Gunston Hall, Mason Neck, Dec 9
Experience George Mason’s simple, unadorned Christmas in the 1780s, and Mr. Hertle’s glittering festivities in the 1920s.. Enjoy period music, holiday craft activities, 18th-century style fare, a Christmas carol sing-along, and a visit with Santa. $15/$10 adults/kids; 10:00 – 7:00.
Santa at the Mill at Colvin Run Mill, Dec 9
Visit Santa and see the Victorian-themed Christmas tree in the mill. Outside, join in caroling and roast marshmallows around a bonfire. The fee also includes a family craft activity. $5; 3:00 – 6:00.
Occoquan Winterfest, Historic Occoquan, Dec 9
Visit Historic Occoquan during WinterFest and enjoy strolling carolers, musicians, fire pits, historic demonstrations, and a fire truck. Stores will stay open late for holiday shoppers and visitors can watch a festive fireworks display between 6:30 and 7:30, from the riverfront in town or from Occoquan Regional Park. At the Workhouse Arts Center, enjoy the Second Saturday Art Walk featuring refreshments in the Holiday Lounge, fire pits for S’mores, and caroling from 6:00 – 9:00. Winterfest is free, fees for some activities; 4:00 – 7:00.
Christmas at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, Dec 9 + 13
On Christmas Family Days (Dec 9 and 13), a very magical Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to visit with little ones, along with activities to keep the young ones busy while they wait in line. Free; 2:00 – 4:00 (must be in line by 3:30).
Civil War Christmas in Camp, Fort Ward, Alexandria, Dec 9
This interpretive holiday event features a Union patriotic Santa Claus, soldiers in winter camps, and a Victorian tree in the Museum. Visit the Officers’ Hut decorated for the season, and tour the historic fort with a soldier. Children can make a period holiday card or ornament. $2/$5 individual/family. 12:00 – 4:00.
Christmas with the Lees, Sully Historic Site, Dec 9
See the home of Richard Bland Lee decorated for a Federal Period Christmas. Tour the 1794 house by candlelight and hear stories of Christmas celebrations from the time. See the sugary food, games, and gambling that made up holiday revelry. Enjoy music and sample hot cider and homemade cookies. . $10; 4:00 – 7:00.
Closing Wassail, Claude Moore Colonial Farm, McLean Dec 10
Welcome winter hibernation 18th century style at the closing wassail event at Claude Moore Regional Park. Head to the orchards for music, singing and chants to encourage the orchid to bear well in the coming year. Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugarcanes, a bonfire and period games, and shop for holiday gifts. $5/$3 adults/children 5 and over, and Seniors; 1:00 – 4:00.
Chanukah at Lake Anne, Reston, Dec 14
Bring the family to celebrate Chanukah with juggling, dreidels, donuts, latkes and more, plus the lighting of the giant Menorah. Free.
Christmas Illumination at Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Dec 15 – 16
Join Mount Vernon for an evening of family-friendly fun and fireworks choreographed to holiday music. Take a stroll through the estate while being serenaded by local choirs, visit with re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment in winter encampment, and learn 18th-century dance moves from costumed guides in the Greenhouse. $34/$24 adult/youth with mansion tour; 5:30 – 9:00
Wreaths Across America, Arlington National Cemetery, Dec 16
Join other volunteers in laying wreaths on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up required, and there is no age limit—simply show up if you would like to participate. Gates open to volunteers at 8:30 am but screening begins at 7:00; wreath-laying begins at 9:15 am.
Civil War Christmas at Leesylvania State Park, Woodbridge, December 16
Enjoy a Civil War Christmas at Leesylvania State Park with period music, costumed interpreters and refreshments. Make decorations as folks did during the Civil War and take pictures with Civil War era Santa. $2/$6 per person/family; 10:00 to 4:00.
Chanukah Celebration, Mosaic District, Dec 17
Celebrate the miracle of Chanukah with the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia with songs, kids activities and complimentary kosher treats. Free, 4:00 – 7:00.
Chanukah Bowl and Gelt Drop, Sterling, Dec 17
Join in a fun-filled evening at the Chanukah Bowling party. Enjoy special Bowling Ball Menorah Lighting with a surprise guest, an incredible chocolate gelt drop from high atop a firetruck ladder,
Chanukah treats,, and more. Admission is free; $13 to bowl; no membership or affiliation required. 4:00 – 6:00.
Waterskiing Santa, Alexandria, Dec 24
Gather at Alexandria’s Potomac River waterfront for a spectacular show by the Waterskiing Santa and his wakeboarding reindeer, plus flying elves, the Grinch and his friends, Frosty the Snowman and Jack Frost. Free; 1:00 (pre-show at 12:45).
Menorah Lighting, Mosaic District, Dec 24
Join the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia for songs and stories celebrating the miracle of Hanukkah. Complimentary Kosher donuts and chocolates provided. Free; 5:00.
New Year’s Eve at First Night Alexandria, Alexandria, Dec 31
First Night Alexandria transforms Old Town into a big New Year’s Eve celebration with more than 100 live performances at 22 indoor venues and a fireworks display over the river at midnight. Your First Night badge lets you in to all the venues which include art galleries, historic sites, churches and even retail shops leading up to midnight fireworks. 7:00 – midnight.
Plan a First Day Hike, Virginia State Parks
On January 1st, America’s State Parks will host special events and guided hikes to kick off the new year with healthy, family-friendly activities. Join in the fun at Virginia First Day Hikes, offering free entry to all Virginia State Parks, special programs, and a photo competition with some nice prizes.
Ongoing and Road Trip Worthy December 2017 Events
Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna, Nov 10 – Jan 7
Over 500,000 lights and displays on a .6 mile outdoor walking trail plus s’mores and hot chocolate by the fire and holiday Snowflake Shoppe. Tickets $8 – $16 depending on age and time; nightly including holidays, 5:30 – 10:00.
Christmas on the Potomac with ICE!, National Harbor, Nov 18 – Jan 1
More than 2 million twinkling lights, nightly snowfall, and beautiful dancing fountains at Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac. ICE! returns with 2 million pounds of ice sculptures and 5 ice slides plus a new skating rink, Christmas show, and adorable Rudolph theme. Follow the link for ticket prices and hours, and consider turning your visit into a National Harbor weekend getaway.
Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park, Nov 22 – Jan 7
A dazzling 2.5 mile drive-through display of holiday and fairytale vignettes. In December 2017, the drive ends at a Holiday Village with rides, merchandise, and activities. Weekday/weekend admission is $20/25 per car. 5:30 – 9:30 weekdays, -10:00 weekends.
Christmas at Mount Vernon, Nov 24 – Jan 6
Tour the grounds and the Mansion, including the third floor which is only open during the Christmas season. You can also tour Mount Vernon by Candlelight, weekends, November 24 – December 17. Follow the link for details and to purchase timed entry tickets.
Festival of Lights Hayride and Walk, Chantilly, Nov 17 – Jan 5
Visitors can take a hayride or walk to view this nighttime adventure and enjoy some hot chocolate with marshmallows and s’mores around a bonfire. Drinks, snacks, and s’mores kits will be available and sold at The Farm Market. Proceeds fund preservation and development of the Botanic Gardens. Follow the link for ticket prices and schedule.
GardenFest of Lights, Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, Richmond, Nov 24 – Jan 8
More than half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, holiday dinners, firepit with s’mores and hot chocolate (for purchase), nightly family activities, and more. $13/11/8 for adults/seniors/children. 5:00 – 10:00 pm nightly.
Holiday Tuba Carol Fest, Gettysburg, Dec 8
The Holiday Tuba Carol Fest is an annual gathering of musicians in historic Lincoln Square playing carols around the Christmas tree. Musicians from elementary schoolers to seniors play tubas and instruments in the same family (euphonium, baritone, and sousaphone) while visitors sing along. After the show, explore the downtown shops and restaurants, or stay overnight and visit Gettysburg’s historic sites too. Gettysburg is also a fun foodie destination.
Fill your month with sparkly lights, from professional displays to private homes and neighborhoods decked out for the holidays. December 2017 is the perfect time to check out decorated houses and neighborhood displays.
Historic Homes of Virginia, Multiple Locations and Dates
Most historic homes of Virginia offer seasonal tours of the homes decorated in period style. Northern Virginia homes with holiday tours include Carlyle House, Morven Park, Mount Vernon, and Oatlands. Follow the link to find an historic home near you.
Visit with Santa for that magical holiday picture, and enjoy kid-friendly activities at area malls.
Whatever December 2017 events you choose to attend, we wish you a happy and fun-filled month!
You might also enjoy these articles about more holiday events:
- Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights
- ICE! 2017 and Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Harbor
- 5 Fun DC Area Places to Visit on Christmas Day
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