2019 December events bring holiday parades, Christmas markets, tree lightings, and seasonal 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 2019 in style.
2019 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. Events are listed in order of start date.
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.
Holiday House Tours, Sky Meadows State Park, Weekends Nov 30 – Dec 22
Enjoy the aroma of holiday treats cooking over the hearth as costumed interpreters tell stories of holidays past. 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 – 4:00
Celebration of Lights, Great Falls, Dec 1
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.
Find more tree lighting ceremonies in our guide: Holiday Lights in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC Area
Church Street Holiday Stroll, Vienna, Dec 2
Church Street closes to traffic for the annual Holiday Stroll. Visit the shops and enjoy the holiday spirit, including strolling carolers, an entertainment stage, hot chocolate, and festive fun. Santa arrives by fire truck to light the tree and greet visitors outside the historic Freeman House. Free; 6:00 – 8:30.
Christkindlmarket, Reston, Dec 5
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, Dec 6 – 7
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, Dec 6 – 7
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.
The Scottish Walk Weekend is just one of our 12 Holiday Favorites for seasonal fun in Northern Virginia.
City of Fairfax Holiday Market, Dec 6-8, 13-15, 20-22
A City of Fairfax holiday tradition returns for the third year. The Old Town holiday market is held during the first three weekends of December. Enjoy live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats, and more as you shop for crafts and unique holiday gifts. Vendors will vary each weekend. Free; Friday 5:00 – 8:00, Saturday 12:00 – 6:00, and Sunday 12:00 – 4:00.
Del Ray Fine Art & Craft Holiday Market, Alexandria, Dec 6-8, 13-15, 20-22
Del Ray Artisans’ 24th 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.
McLean Holiday Art and Crafts Show, McLean, Dec 6 – 8
Returning after a two-year break, the show features 80 juried vendors. Shop for unique, handmade functional and decorative items, including fused and stained glass, ceramics, pottery, jewelry, clothing and much more. $7 admission; Friday 11:00 – 7:00, Saturday 10:00 – 6:00, Sunday 10:00 – 4:00.
Shopping for that perfect holiday gift? We’ve got fun gift ideas for friends and family who LoveVA:
Celebration Station, Burke Lake Park, Dec 6-7, 13-14
When the sun goes down, the lights go on. Burke Lake’s train station magically transforms into the Celebration Station on select December nights. The park’s train station, carousel, and train tracks are festively lit, and train rides take place every 20 minutes. $10 tickets must be purchased in advance. 5:30 – 9:30
Winter Wonderland, Burke Lake Park, Dec 6-7, 13-14
Visit during the day to enjoy the Winter Wonderland. Take a train ride on the Holiday Express, 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 – 5:00.
North Pole Winter Wagon Ride, Lake Fairfax Park, Dec 6-7
The Campground at Lake Fairfax Park is transformed into a magical winter light show for you and your family. Enjoy a wagon ride through the festive holiday lights. Afterward, warm yourself by the fire, sip on hot chocolate and make s’mores. Advanced registration is required; $10 per person. Rides are every 20 minutes from 6:00 – 8:40.
Holidays Through the Ages, Rippon Lodge, Weekends, Dec 6 – 22
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. Enjoy light refreshments, hot beverages, and shopping for unique Rippon merchandise. $3 per person. Hourly tours Friday through Sunday, 11:00 – 3:00.
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.6:00 – 9:00 pm
Norwegian Holiday Festival and Bazaar, Fairfax, Dec 6 – 7
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.
Merry Old Town: Christmas Tree Lighting, Manassas, Dec 6
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 – 10:00.
11th Annual Christkindlmarkt, Lovettsville, Dec 7 – 8
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, Dec 7 – 8
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.
Holidays in Leesburg, Leesburg, Dec 7 – 8
This annual show features more than 95 artisans with fine, handmade creations and products. Find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list at Ida Lee Park. Free; Saturday 9:00 – 4:00, Sunday 10:00 – 4:00.
Falls Church Holiday Craft Show, Falls Church. Dec 7 – 8
Deck the halls with special gifts from the annual Holiday Gift and Craft Show. More than 50 crafters and merchants show their wares selling unique handmade items, baked goods, and more. $1 admission for both days. Saturday 9:00 – 4:00, Sunday 11:00 – 4:00.
Holiday Model Train Show, Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, Dec 7 – 8
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, Dec 7
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.
Santa Arrives by Helicopter, Virginia Village, Leesburg, Dec 7
Head to Virginia Village for another unique Santa arrival. Santa will helicopter into the middle of Virginia Village at 10:00 am. Join the big guy for photos and activities at Santa’s House throughout the day, and shop at the morning farmer’s market. Free; 10:30 – 4:00.
Manassas Christmas Parade, Manassas, Dec 7
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.
Christmas at the Stone House, Manassas National Battlefield, Dec 7
Join the National Park Services to celebrate Victorian Christmas traditions with caroling, crafts, cider, cookies, and more. This is also a chance to remember the soldiers who were away from home for Christmas 1862, and those who would never return. Free; 11:00 – 4:00.
Children’s Holiday Shopping, Frying Pan Park, Dec 7, 14
Let the little ones (ages 5 – 14) do their own holiday shopping at Frying Pan Park. Children are accompanied by a secret shopper to assist them with purchasing holiday gifts. Gift wrapping is included. Reservations required; $5.
Holiday Tree Lighting, One Loudoun, Dec 7
The 7th annual Holiday Tree Lighting at One Loudoun welcomes the community to celebrate the season with a modern twist on the traditional celebration. Enjoy community performances, Santa photos, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice rink, kids crafts, Elves and characters, ice sculpture carving, carolers, 40 + vendors in booths offering food samples, shopping, and promotional items, and more. Free; 5:00 – 7:00.
Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long, Vienna, Dec 7
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 gates open at 2:30. 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. Rain or Shine. Free; 4:00.
Festival of Lights and Carols, Fairfax, Dec 7
Spend the afternoon in Old Town Fairfax with a holiday market and entertainment. Enjoy s’mores, hot cider, caroling, and the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Old Town Square at 5:30. Free; noon – 6:00.
Haymarket’s Holiday Celebration, Haymarket, Dec 7
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, Dec 7
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, Dec 8
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.
Holiday Open House, Walker Nature Center, Reston, Dec 8
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Nature House with a day of holiday fun. Enjoy music, ornament making, refreshments, and a visit with Santa. Free, 1:00 – 4:00
Del Ray Holiday Season Kickoff, Alexandria, Dec 8
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.
Wreaths Across America, Arlington National Cemetery, Dec 14
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. Rain or shine. Gates open to volunteers at 8:30 am but screening begins at 7:00; wreath-laying begins at 9:15 am.
Wreath Laying will also be held at Quantico National Cemetery, beginning at 10:00.
Occoquan Winterfest, Historic Occoquan, Dec 14
Visit Historic Occoquan during WinterFest, a daylong family-friendly celebration of the winter season that highlights multiple destinations with entertainment, food, and activities for all ages. Visitors enjoy strolling carolers, musicians, fire pits, and historic demonstrations. Stores will stay open late for holiday shoppers and Santa arrives via boat at 2:00. 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; 2:00 – 7:00.
Christmas at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, Dec 14
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 in Camp, Fort Ward, Alexandria, Dec 14
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. Free; 12:00 – 4:00.
Herndon Wintermarkt, Herndon, Dec 14
Enjoy a family-friendly traditional German-style Christmas Market with a family focus supporting the Town of Herndon and surrounding communities. This is open to the public at no charge, though food, drink, and crafts are available at additional costs. Noon – 8:00
Christmas Illumination at Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Dec 20 – 21
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. $35/$25 adult/youth with mansion tour; 5:30 – 8:30
Civil War Christmas, Leesylvania State Park, Dec 21
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.
The Great Chocolate Gelt Drop, Herndon, Dec 22
The Great Chocolate Gelt Drop is back by popular demand. Head to Old Town Herndon for a very special Menorah lighting. Collect as much chocolate gelt as you can as it rains down from high above a firetruck. Meet the firefighters, enjoy delicious doughnuts, hot cider, latkes, donuts, Chanukah music, and more. Free and open to all; 5:00.
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).
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 tour the mansion and visit Aladdin the Christmas Camel, is just one of the fun Northern Virginia places to visit on Christmas Day.
Chanukah Celebration, Mosaic District, Dec 29
Celebrate the miracle of Chanukah with the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia with songs, kids’ activities, and complimentary kosher treats. Free, 4:30.
Fairfax Four Miler, Fairfax, Dec 31
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.
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 into all the venues which include art galleries, historic sites, churches and even retail shops leading up to midnight fireworks. 7:00 – midnight.
Watch Night, Falls Church, Dec 31
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.
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 schedules and details.
Ongoing and Road Trip Worthy December 2019 Events
Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna, Nov 8 – Jan 5
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 – $17 depending on age and time; nightly including holidays, 5:30 – 10:00.
Christmas on the Potomac with ICE!, National Harbor, Nov 15 – Dec 30
Enjoy 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 4 ice slides plus a new tubing slide, skating rink, Christmas show, and adorable Grinch 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 5
A dazzling 2.5-mile drive-through display of holiday and fairytale vignettes. In December 2019, 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 29 – Dec 31
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 29 – December 22. Follow the link for details and to purchase timed-entry tickets.
GardenFest of Lights, Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, Richmond, Nov 22 – Jan 6
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.
Holiday Tuba Carol Fest, Gettysburg, Dec 13
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.
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.
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.
Whatever 2019 December events in Northern Virginia you choose to attend, we wish you a happy and fun-filled month!
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