December Events in Northern Virginia and Holiday Festivals Near DC

2022 December events bring holiday lights, festive photos, Christmas markets, and holiday festivals to Northern Virginia for a month of fun. Special outdoor activities at area parks and historic sites along with beautiful fireworks finish the year in style.

Most of our favorite holiday festivals have returned in 2022, though a few have not been announced. Read on for a whole host of ways to celebrate the season with December events in Northern Virginia.

2022 December Events in Northern Virginia

The annual Fun in Fairfax VA December listing is one of our longest event lists of the year. Annual holiday celebrations return to towns, cities, malls, and parks throughout the Northern Virginia region.

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December events are listed below in order of start date with multi-day events listed first. Our list includes events in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties plus nearby cities and areas. At the end, we list annual events that are canceled this year. We look forward to their return in 2023.

Follow the links for additional details and to purchase tickets. 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.

Holiday Lights on the Farm, Frying Pan Farm Park, Dec 2-3, 9-10

Enjoy a dazzling wagon ride past festive light displays decorating a mile-long route through the park at Frying Pan Farm Park. Guests also enjoy indoor activities, animal interactions, and more. $10 per person; timed entry begins at 5:30.

Find more Holiday Lights in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC Area.

Christmas in Middleburg, Middleburg, Dec 2 – 4

Christmas in Middleburg photo by Jay Hubbard
Christmas in Middleburg photo by Jay Hubbard

For over 100 years, Christmas in Middleburg festivities have been held during the first weekend in December. The weekend kicks off with a tree lighting on Friday. Saturday's highlight is the “Hunt and Hounds Review,” with hounds trotting down the main Washington Street beside mounted fox hunt riders. Other activities include a Christmas Parade and progressive food and wine tastings.

Read more: 12 Holiday Favorites and Festivals from Northern Virginia Experts

City of Fairfax Holiday Market, Fairfax, Dec 2–4, 9-11

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 more Fun Holiday Markets in Northern Virginia and the DC Region.

Holidays Through the Ages, Rippon Lodge, Dec 2-3

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. $10 per person; reservations required. Hourly tours Friday through Sunday, 11:00 – 3:00.

Visit on December 10 when Santa comes to Rippon Lodge and get that perfect photo. $5 per child.

Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park, Dec 2 – 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.

Norwegian Holiday Festival and Bazaar, Fairfax, Dec 2-3

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. Free admission; noon – 5:00.

Holidays in Leesburg, Dec 2 – 10

Celebrate the holidays at three special December events in Leesburg.

Find a perfect holiday gift: Virginia gift ideas for friends and family who LoveVA.

McLean Holiday Art and Crafts Show, McLean, Dec 2 – 4

Head to the McLean Community Center for a juried show featuring 70 artists offering pottery, glass, jewelry, holiday decor, and more. $5, 11:00 – 7:00, 10:00 – 6:00, 11:00 – 4:00.

Celebration Station, Burke Lake Park, Dec 2-3, 9

At night, Burke Lake's train station magically transforms into the Celebration Station. The park’s train station, carousel, and train tracks are festively lit for a unique experience filled with holiday lights. Train rides are scheduled every 20 minutes and $10 tickets must be purchased in advance.

Winter Wonderland, Burke Lake Park, Dec 3-4, 10

Take a daytime train ride on the Holiday Express, spin on the Carolers Carousel, play Gingerbread Man Golf, and more. Santa will be there with hot chocolate and candy canes. Registration is required. $15, 10:00 – 5:00.

Occoquan HolidayFest, Occoquan, Dec 3 – 4

Head to lovely historic Occoquan for a holiday market, s'mores & cocoa, and festive deals. Pretty decorations and fun events make Occoquan one of the best Christmas towns near DC to visit in December.

Festive wreaths and garlands decorating a store in Occoquan, one of the best Christmas towns near DC
Occoquan Christmas Decorations

Holiday Model Train Show, Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, Dec 3-4

The 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.

Falls Church Holiday Craft Show, Falls Church, Dec 3 – 4

Deck the halls with special gifts from the annual Holiday Gift and Craft Show featuring more than 50 crafters selling handmade items, baked goods, and more. $1 admission for both days. Saturday 9:00 – 4:00, Sunday 11:00 – 4:00.

Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, Alexandria, Dec 3

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.

Christmas Parade, Manassas, Dec 3

Celebrate the season at the 76th annual Manassas Christmas Parade featuring giant balloons, bands, and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Extend your fun with shopping and ice skating in Old Town. Free; 10:00 – noon.

Jingle on Lake Anne, Reston, Dec 3

Santa arrives by boat with elves on SUPs atJingle on Lake Anne photo by Charlotte Geary Photography
Jingle on Lake Anne photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

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 activities, and see the plaza decorated for the holidays.

Santa arrives by boat at noon escorted by a fleet of elves on SUPs. Be sure to stop in the Community Center to shop local at the annual Gifts from the HeART from 10:00 – 3:00. Free; rain or shine.

Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long, Vienna, Dec 3

One of our favorite family events of the season is the holiday sing-a-long at Wolf Trap National Park, featuring the U. S. Marine Band and other vocal groups. The free performance returns to an in-person event in 2022 and gates open at 3:00.

Holiday Tree Lighting, One Loudoun, Dec 3

The 9th annual Holiday Tree Lighting at One Loudoun includes Santa photos, train rides, and ice carving demonstrations. Free; 4:00 – 6:00.

Festival of Lights and Carols, Fairfax, Dec 3

Watch the lighting of the Christmas tree in Old Town Fairfax and listen to holiday music from the comfort of home. Free; noon – 6:00.

Christmastide at Gunston Hall, Lorton, Dec 3

Celebrate a holiday tradition at Gunston Hall! Daytime activities include live music, children’s crafts, a visit from Santa, games, and more. $10/$8 adults/children; 10:00 – 7:00.

Herndon Holiday Arts & Crafts Show, Herndon, Dec 4

More than 70 artisans and craftspeople exhibit and sell their work at this annual arts and crafts show. A variety of handcrafted items and fine art include wreaths, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, and homemade items at the Herndon Community Center. Free admission and parking. 10:00 – 4:00.

Holiday Fest, Walker Nature Center, Reston, Dec 4

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. $10/$15 RA member/non-member, registration required. 1:00 – 4:00

Celebration of Lights, Great Falls, Dec 4

Celebrate the season at the annual Christmas tree lighting, featuring hot cider and cocoa next to the fire, and seasonal music. Kids can enjoy the petting zoo and pony rides until Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive by an antique fire truck. Free; 3:00 – 6:00.

Christmas in Camp, Historic Blenheim, Dec 4

Learn how soldiers in camp and loved ones at home celebrated Christmas during the Civil War. Civil War Santa will be on hand for photos. Free, noon – 4:00.

German Christmasmarket, Reston, Dec 8

The German Armed Forces Command in Reston hosts a traditional German Christmas Market with food and beverages, arts and crafts, music, and more festive fun. Admission, which includes food and drinks, is $10/$5 for adults/children; 4:00 – 9:00.

Winter Lights Walk, Franklin Park, Purcellville, Dec 9 – 23

Head to The Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville and stroll outside among beautifully lighted sculptures created by local artists. Tickets are $3 and the trail takes about 30 minutes to complete. Arrive anytime from 6:00 – 7:30.

Holiday Tuba Carol Fest, Gettysburg, Dec 9

Gather in historic Lincoln Square for the annual Holiday Tuba Carol Fest where musicians play carols and visitors sing along. The Tuba Fest is just one of the ways to enjoy Christmas fun on a holiday visit to Gettysburg.

After the show, explore the downtown shops and restaurants, or stay overnight and visit Gettysburg's historic sites. Gettysburg is also a fun foodie destination, perfect for a weekend getaway from the Washington DC region.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight, Nov 25 – Dec 10 weekends + Dec 18

Mount Vernon by Candlelight Holiday Favorites
Mount Vernon by Candlelight

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.

Herndon WinterMarkt, Herndon, Dec 10

Winterplatz is a cluster of mini celebrations throughout downtown Herndon. Participating businesses will decorate for the festive season and offer WinterMarkt specials.

Haymarket's Holiday Celebration, Haymarket, Dec 10

Enjoy hot cocoa, cider, and A Taste of Haymarket. Listen to carols and live music, roast marshmallows over a bonfire, visit a holiday-themed exhibit, and see the tree lit at dusk. Free; 2:00 – 6:00.

National Museum of the Marine Corps Christmas, Triangle, Dec 10

On Christmas Family Day, 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.

Civil War Christmas in Camp, Fort Ward, Alexandria, Dec 10

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. $2 suggested donation ($5 family); 12:00 – 4:00.

Tuba Christmas, Leesburg, Dec 11

Gather by the tree at the Village at Leesburg for the annual Tuba Christmas concert. Tuba and euphonium players from around the country will join in playing favorite holiday songs. Free; 2:00 – 3:00.

Winter Wonderland Train Show, Manassas, Dec 14-18

Train lovers should head to the 3rd floor of the ArtFactory in historic Manassas to see model trains winding their way through a beautiful Winter Wonderland. Free, Wed-Fri 5:00 – 8:00; Sat 10:00 – 5:00, Sun 10:00 – 4:00.

NEW! DC Winter Lantern Festival, Tysons, Dec 16 – Feb 12

DC Winter Lantern Festival Northern Virginia
DC Winter Lantern Festival Northern Virginia

New in 2022, a DC Winter Lantern Festival will light up Lerner Square in Tysons with over 100 beautiful Chinese lanterns. The walk-through light show offers great photo opps plus interactive displays. Stay at Hyatt Tysons Corner and you can walk to the show.

The lantern festival is open 5:00 – 10:00 pm, Friday through Sunday plus daily during Christmas week. Tickets are $29.99/$17.99 for adult/youth 3 – 12.

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Dec 16-17

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. $60/$38 adult/youth; 5:30 – 8:30

Wreaths Across America, Arlington National Cemetery, Dec 17

In 2022, family members are invited to lay wreaths on Dec 11. On Dec 17, the public is invited to join in wreath-laying as part of Wreaths Across America. Online registration is required. Visit the Wreaths Across America website to sponsor a wreath to honor the fallen.

Dickens Christmas, Middleburg, Dec 17

South Madison Street will close to vehicles as carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and entertainers transform Middleburg into a Dickens Christmas. Victorian dance performances and interactive performances of A Christmas Carol add to the fun. Free, 10:00 – 4:00.

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).

Fun DC Area Places to Visit on Christmas Day, Dec 25

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

First Night, one of 12 holiday favorites from Northern Virginia experts that honor the season with festive parades, unique celebrations, light displays, and visits with Santa. Photo: J Clifford for Visit Alexandria
First Night, photo: J Clifford for Visit Alexandria

First Night Alexandria is a spectacular New Year's Eve celebration to welcome in the new year. Enjoy special performances and fun throughout Old Town Alexandria then head to the waterfront for the fireworks show. Follow the link for ticket purchase and performance schedule.

Watch Night, Falls Church, Dec 31

The fun is back in 2022 as Watch Night Falls Church returns. The free event features live bands and musicians, interactive amusements and activities, inflatables for all ages, caricaturists, balloon artists, puppet shows, and more. 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.

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 2022 December Events

Bears and other wildlife holiday lights at Meadowlark Gardens in Northern Virginia
Wildlife holiday lights at Meadowlark Gardens

Holiday Lights in the Northern Virginia Area

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.

11 Fun DC and Northern Virginia Ice Skating Rinks

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.

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest, Leesburg, Oct 29 – Jan 29

Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter when you enter the Forbidden Forest at Morven Park in Leesburg Virginia. Follow a walk-through trail through the forest and encounter fantastic beasts, haunting lights, and special effects.

Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park, Nov 11 – Jan 8

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.

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 8

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.

Ice and Lights Winter Village at Cameron Run, Alexandria, Nov 18 – Jan 1

Ice & Lights Winter Village at Cameron Run features lots of sparkly photo locations including a walk-thru tree and giant wreath. For an extra fee, enjoy an hour of fun on the ice skating rink.

Christmas at Gaylord + ICE! 2022, National Harbor, Nov 20 – Dec 31

Marvel at more than 2 million twinkling lights, amazing nightly snowfall, and beautiful dancing fountains at Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac. ICE! returns with scenes from “A Christmas Story” featuring 2 million pounds of ice sculptures and 4 ice slides.

GardenFest of Lights, Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, Richmond, Nov 21 – Jan 8

Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden sparkles with more than half-a-million twinkling lights. See hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, firepits with s’mores and hot chocolate (for purchase), nightly family activities, and more.

Extend your holiday fun with a Weekend Getaway to Richmond Virginia.

Holiday Walk of Lights, Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Nov 26 – Dec 30

The Neabsco Creek Boardwalk is decorated for the holidays with a walk-through display of sparkling lights and hand-crafted holiday trees. Free, no reservations required.

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.

Holiday Shopping Fun in Northern Virginia

Visit with Santa for that magical holiday picture, and enjoy kid-friendly activities at area malls.

No matter which 2022 December events in Northern Virginia you choose to attend, we wish you a happy and fun-filled month!

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December events in Northern Virginia and the DC region include parades, lights, markets, and festivals for a month of holiday fun.
Best December Events in Northern Virginia

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