2020 December events bring holiday lights, festive photos, Christmas markets, and sparkly displays to Northern Virginia for a month of holiday fun. You’ll also find special outdoor activities at area parks and historic sites along with beautiful fireworks to finish the year in style.
While some of our favorite festivals are canceled in 2020, we still found lots of ways to celebrate the season.
2020 December Events in Northern Virginia
The annual Fun in Fairfax VA December listing is usually one of our longest event lists of the year. Annual holiday celebrations return to towns, cities, malls, and parks throughout the Northern Virginia region. Sadly, some of the annual festivals are canceled in 2020.
December events are listed below in order of start date with multi-day events listed first. At the end, we list annual events that are canceled this year. We look forward to their return in 2021.
Please click the links for additional details and always check ahead for inclement weather closings. Many events are held rain or shine, while others close on especially rainy, windy, or chilly days.
Self-Driven Holiday Hayride and Market, Cox Farms, Weekends Nov 27 – Dec 21
Cox Farms 2020 self-driven hayride gets a holiday twist in December. Drive your own vehicle through the hayride route and meet some wacky holiday characters (dinosaurs and aliens in Santa in hats, oh my!). You can hop out at the service area for festive photo opps. You can also order treats when you purchase your hayride ticket online. The hayride is open Friday through Monday and is $15 per car.
Pick up your seasonal decorations at Cox Farms drive-through market. Follow the link to place your order online and it will be ready for pickup when you arrive. Order a Christmas tree and you get a free hayride ticket.
City of Fairfax Holiday Market, Fairfax, Dec 4 – 6, 11 – 13
A City of Fairfax holiday tradition returns for the fourth year. The Old Town holiday market is held during the first two weekends of December. Shop local for crafts, gourmet treats, and unique holiday gifts. Vendors will vary each weekend. Free; Friday 5:00 – 8:00, Saturday 12:00 – 6:00, and Sunday 12:00 – 5:00.
Check out our complete guide to Fun Holiday Markets in Northern Virginia and the DC Region.
Holidays Through the Ages, Rippon Lodge, Weekends, Dec 4 – 20
Stroll through seasonal celebrations from the past at Rippon Lodge Historic Site. The historic home is decorated inside and out for season festivities from different times and cultures. $5 per person; reservations required. Hourly tours Friday through Sunday, 11:00 – 3:00.
Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park, Dec 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, 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. The park is free for those under two and $10.95/$12.95 for tickets purchased in advance/at the door.
Occoquan HolidayFest, Occoquan, Nov 20 – Dec 13
This three-week festival includes in-person and online activities to celebrate the season. The festival will feature a virtual town tree lighting, gingerbread house competition, trivia night, holiday market, s’mores & cocoa event, raffle prizes, seasonal workshops, and more. On 12/5, River Mill Park hosts a Holiday Market from 11:00 – 4:00. 12/12 is Family Fun Night with Santa arriving at 3:00 followed by fire pits, s’mores, and a staged reading of A Christmas Carol (3:00 – 7:00).
Norwegian Holiday Festival and Bazaar, Fairfax, Dec 4 – 5
Enjoy two days of shopping for imported foods, baked goods, and merchandise at the annual Norwegian festival. Shop for Nordic sweaters, crafts, books, and more. Follow the link to reserve your shopping time as capacity is limited this year. 11:00 – 4:00. Free admission.
Merry Old Town: Christmas Tree Lighting, Manassas, Dec 4
Enjoy old-fashioned family fun at the “Merry Old Town” celebration in Old Town Manassas. Santa can’t visit with children this year but he will still light the tree. Extend your fun with shopping and ice skating in Old Town. Free; 5:15 – 10:00.
Find more tree lighting ceremonies in Holiday Lights in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC Area
McLean Holiday Art and Crafts Show, McLean, Dec 5 – 6 Online
Two different shows, streamed free online, give you an inside look at McLean artists’ creativity and techniques including interviews with the artists. Follow the links to shop online from all of the participating artists. Shows are 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.
Shopping for the perfect holiday gift? We’ve got fun Virginia gift ideas for friends and family who LoveVA.
Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long, Vienna, Dec 5, 12 Online
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. This year the free event is streaming online so you can join in the sing-a-long from home. There are two different performances on two nights so why not join them both. begins at 4:00, but gates open at 2:30. Follow the link on Dec 5 and 12 to watch and join the sing-a-long.
This outdoor holiday show features more than 40 artisans with fine, handmade creations and products. Find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list at Freedom Park. Free; Saturday 9:00 – 4:00.
Dirt Farm Christmas Market and Oyster Fest, Bluemont, Dec 5
Bundle up and head to Bluemont. Sip on Dirt Farm beer and signature hot beverages while you shop unique, handmade items from local artisans and vendors. The folks of Nomini Bay Oyster Ranch, LLC will be on the mountain all weekend serving their famous oysters. Free admission; opens at noon.
Holidays in Leesburg, Leesburg, Dec 5, Dec 12
The annual Leesburg Fine Arts and Crafts Show features more than 30 artisans with fine, handmade creations and products. Find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list at this outdoor market at Ida Lee Park. Free; Saturday 9:00 – 4:00.
On Dec 12, check out the sparkly decorations as you drive past stationary floats at the Glitter & Glow Drive-Thru Parade. 5:30 – 8:00.
Saturdays with Santa, Reston Farm Market, Reston, Dec 5, 12, 19
Take a photo with Santa, celebrate the season, and find the perfect Christmas tree and decorations at the Reston Farm Market. Santa will be at the market for 3 Saturdays in December. Add to the fun with Christmas Choo Choo rides, portraits with Santa, face painting, and more. No reservations required; noon – 5:00.
Holiday House Tours, Sky Meadows State Park, Weekends Dec 5 – 20
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. Stop in the Gift Shop for unique holiday gifts. $5.00 parking; 11:00 – 4:00
Holiday Tree Lighting, One Loudoun, Dec 5 Virtual
The 8th annual Holiday Tree Lighting at One Loudoun is virtual this year on their Facebook page. You can also celebrate the season with photos at Santa’s Snow Globe on the Downtown Plaza or enjoy a free drive-in viewing of everyone’s holiday favorite Elf at Uptown One Loudoun. Book your Santa appointment online. Free; 5:00 – 7:00.
Festival of Lights and Carols, Fairfax, Dec 5 Virtual
Watch the lighting of the Christmas tree in Old Town Fairfax and listen to holiday music from the comfort of home. Free; 5:30.
Del Ray Holiday Season Kickoff, Alexandria, Dec 6 Virtual
The annual Christmas tree lighting in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood is going virtual in 2020. Registed for the free event and tune in at 6:00 pm.
Holiday Open House, Walker Nature Center, Reston, Dec 6
Enjoy fun on the woodland trail and see the Nature House decorated for the holidays. See the mascots, search for hidden gnomes, and enjoy the storybook trail. Sip hot cider, listen to live holiday music and take home a bag of treats. $7/$9 RA member/non-member, registration required. 1:00 – 4:00
Carriage Rides in Old Town Manassas, Dec 6, 13, 20
Enjoy a free horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Town Manassas. After your ride you can visit the shops, dine, or spend some time ice skating in the Pavilion. Carriage rides are free; 11:00 – 4:00.
Winter Glow at Mount Vernon, Dec 11 – 13, 26 – 28
George Washington’s Mount Vernon is open daily, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. On Winter Glow evenings, soft lights and holiday patterns illuminate the grounds, Christmas carolers sing, and you can visit an 18th-century winter encampment. Follow the link for details and to purchase timed entry tickets.
Holiday Lights on the Farm, Frying Pan Park, Dec 11-12, 18-19
NEW in 2020! Stay cozy in your car while you enjoy a dazzling drive through the fields at Frying Pan Park. Thousands of lights and colorful characters will decorate a mile-long route through the park. Drive your vehicle or book a private group wagon tour for up to 20 people. $20 per vehicle up to 15 passengers; $50 per tractor group. Register for your 30-minute drive time at the link. 5:30 – 8:30
Winter Lights Walk, Franklin Park, Purcellville, Dec 14 – Jan 2
Head to The Franklin Park Arts Center for a new indoor-outdoor holiday display. First, check out the gallery exhibit of Stars, Night and Winter Sky while you sip a warm beverage. Then, stroll outside and walk among beautifully lighted sculptures created by local artists. Tickets are $3 for a 1.5-hour session. Two timed sessions, 5:30 – 8:30
Santa Firetruck Parade, Mosaic District, Dec 18
Wave to Santa and enjoy holiday cheer as he rides through Mosaic District on a vintage fire truck. The route begins at Praline and ends at Hyatt House. All onlookers are asked to wear masks and maintain social distance. After the parade, you can shop and dine at the many businesses in the district. Free; 6:00 – 7:00.
Wreaths Across America, Arlington National Cemetery, Dec 19
In 2020, The Old Guard and family pass holders will lay wreaths on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery and the event will not be open to volunteers. The cemetery will be closed to the public Dec 13 – 19 to complete the wreath-laying. The cemetery reopens on Dec 20 and visitors can see the wreaths and pay respects at that time.
Visit the Wreaths Across America website to sponsor a wreath to honor the fallen.
Herndon Winterplatz, Herndon, Dec 13 – 14
Winterplatz is a cluster of mini celebrations throughout downtown Herndon. Participating businesses will decorate for the festive season and offer WinterPlatz specials. Pre-order from the online Wintermarkt and pick your goods up during Winterplatz weekend.
Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Dec 18 – 19
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 costumed carollers, meet Aladin the Christmas Camel, and warm up by the bonfire. $33/$22 adult/youth; 5:30 – 8:30
Many events and businesses close on Christmas Day, but we’ve rounded up plenty of fun in Washington DC. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where you can visit Aladdin the Christmas Camel, is just one of the fun Northern Virginia places to visit on Christmas Day.
New Year’s Eve at First Night Alexandria, Alexandria, Dec 31
In 2020, First Night Alexandria will host a special New Year’s Eve celebration to welcome in 2021. A Night of Nostalgia features a drive-in concert experience where your family can sing, dance, watch a big screen fireworks show, and welcome the new year in style. If you’d rather celebrate at home, purchase a ticket for the virtual concert featuring the same music as the drive-in. Tickets are $60/$75 regular admission/VIP for the drive-in with two shows available. Online concert tickets are $20. Follow the link for ticket purchase and details.
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. Fairfax County Parks also host First Day Hikes and a photo contest. Follow the link for details.
Ongoing and Road Trip Worthy 2020 December Events
Fill your month with sparkly lights, from professional displays to private homes and neighborhoods decked out for the holidays. We like to look beyond December events and just spend time checking out decorated houses and neighborhood displays.
December is the month to glide on the ice surrounded by festive lights at outdoor and indoor ice skating rinks in Northern Virginia. Follow the link for hours and pricing.
Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park, Nov 6 – Jan 10
A dazzling 2.5-mile drive-through display of holiday and fairytale vignettes. The drive ends at a Holiday Village with rides, merchandise, and activities. Admission is $20 online per car, $25 at the door. Follow the link for $5 weekday discount code. 5:30 – 9:30 weekdays, 5:30 – 10:00 weekends.
Festival of Lights is one of our 12 Holiday Favorites for seasonal fun in Northern Virginia.
Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna, Nov 11 – Jan 3
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 $9/$15 youth 2 – 12/over 13 online, $12/$18 at the door. Open nightly, including holidays, 5:30 – 10:00; last admission at 9:15.
Ice & Lights Winter Village, Cameron Run, Nov 20 – Jan 3
Ice & Lights Winter Village at Cameron Run features lots of sparkly photo locations including a walk-thru tree and photo frame, giant wreath, and beautiful design stars. For an extra fee, enjoy an hour of fun on the ice skating rink. Light-up and cuddly items are available for purchase, and the concession stand sells treats and drinks. $7.95 or $19.43 with 1 hour of skating. Skating tickets are limited and must be purchased online. Open nightly, including holidays, 5:00 – 10:00.
GardenFest of Lights, Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, Richmond, Nov 23 – Jan 10
Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden sparkles with more than half-a-million twinkling lights. See 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.
Extend your holiday fun with a Weekend Getaway to Richmond Virginia.
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 a historic home near you.
Visit with Santa for that magical holiday picture, and enjoy kid-friendly activities at area malls.
Canceled 2020 December Events
Sadly, the following annual holiday events are canceled in 2020. We look forward to their return in 2021.
NVHG Art and Craft Show, Vienna, Canceled
Shop local this Thanksgiving weekend at the NVHG Arts and Crafts Show in Vienna. The show features 65+ juried artisans offering original handmade art and craft items, including jewelry, clothing and other textiles, woodworking, sculpture, pottery and ceramics, glass art, handweaving, photography, drawing and painting, and other decorative and functional arts. $5 (follow link for $1 discount); Fri and Sat 10:00 – 5:00, Sun 11:00 – 4:00.
Celebration of Lights, Great Falls, Canceled
Celebrate the season at the annual Christmas tree lighting, featuring hot cider and cocoa next to the fire, local children’s choral groups sing seasonal music. Kids can enjoy the petting zoo and pony rides until Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive by an antique fire truck. Free; 3:45 – 6:30.
Christkindlmarket, Reston, Canceled
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.
Find more holiday shopping in our guide: Favorite Holiday Markets in Northern Virginia and the DC Region.
Christmas in Middleburg, Middleburg, Canceled
For over 100 years, Christmas in Middleburg festivities have been held during the first weekend in December. The highlight of the day is the “Hunt and Hounds Review,” as hounds trot 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 food/wine/cider/spirits tasting throughout the town. Follow the link for schedule details. Rain or shine.
Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, Alexandria, Canceled
Old Town Alexandria celebrates the season with the annual Scottish Walk weekend. Festivities include 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. The parade kicks off at 11:00; follow the link for schedule details. Rain or shine.
11th Annual Christkindlmarkt, Lovettsville, Canceled
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. Free admission. 10:00 – 6:00 Saturday, 10:00 – 5:00 Sunday.
Holiday Arts and Crafts Show, Audrey Moore Rec Ctr, Annandale, Canceled
The 42nd annual craft 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, Canceled
The 30th Annual Holiday Model Train Show features model trains of many sizes to delight train lovers of all ages. Santa 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.
Jingle on Lake Anne, Reston, Canceled
Head to Lake Anne Plaza in Reston for Jingle on Lake Anne, an annual holiday celebration for kids and families. Come early to hear holiday music, participate in cookie decorating and other activities, and see the plaza decorated for the holidays. Santa arrives by boat at noon Be sure to stop in the Community Center to shop local at the annual Gifts from the HeART from 11:00 – 4:00. Free; rain or shine. Other events 10:00 – 2:00.
Manassas Christmas Parade, Manassas, Canceled
The 74th annual Manassas Christmas event is one of the largest holiday parades in Northern Virginia. Enjoy over 100 units-marching bands, floats, high-flying balloons, and more. Free; 10:00 – 12:30.
Haymarket’s Holiday Celebration, Haymarket, Canceled
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. Rain or Shine. Free; 3:00 – 6:00.
Christmastide at Gunston Hall, Lorton, Canceled
Celebrate a holiday tradition at Gunston Hall! Daytime activities include children’s crafts, a visit from Santa, games, and even an indoor snowball fight. The evening hours provide a romantic holiday experience by candlelight as guests are invited to sample period food in the kitchen, explore the grounds, enjoy 18th-century music, and chat with characters from the past. $15/$10 adults/children; 10:00 – 7:00.
Herndon Holiday Arts & Crafts Show, Herndon, Canceled
Over 90 artisans and craftspeople will exhibit and sell their work at this annual arts and crafts show. A variety of handcrafted items and fine art will be on sale including wreaths, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, and homemade items at the Herndon Community Center. Free admission and parking. 10:00 – 4:00.
Christmas at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, Canceled
On Christmas Family Days, 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, Leesylvania State Park, Canceled
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 – 4:00.
Holiday Tuba Carol Fest, Gettysburg, Canceled
The Holiday Tuba Carol Fest is an annual gathering of musicians in historic Lincoln Square playing carols around the Christmas tree. The Tuba Fest is just one of the ways to enjoy Christmas fun on a holiday visit to Gettysburg. 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, perfect for a weekend getaway from the Washington DC region.
Waterskiing Santa, Alexandria, Canceled
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).
Fairfax Four Miler, Fairfax, Canceled
Pacers host the annual Fairfax Four Miler, an evening running race to celebrate the new year. The race is four miles long and runs through Old Town, Fairfax, and George Mason University, and includes a post-race pizza party. $38 – $48; race begins at 6:00.
Watch Night, Falls Church, Canceled
Watch Night spans a four-block area of downtown Falls Church that is closed to traffic and open to fun. The free event features live bands and more musicians, interactive amusements and activities, inflatables for all ages, caricaturists, balloon artists, puppet shows and more. Free hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies, and cider at various venues during this family-friendly celebration. Ring in the New Year with the lowering of the Historic Star (the City’s first holiday decoration from 1948) at midnight. Free; 7:00 – midnight.
No matter which 2020 December events in Northern Virginia you choose to attend, we wish you a happy and fun-filled month!
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