FYIDC: Top Holiday Picks

by Editorial

Get into the holiday spirit with these fabulously festive metro-area events.
By Shira Karsen

Ford Theater's "A Christmas Carol." (Photo courtesy of Ford Theater)

Ford’s Theater’s A Christmas Carol

You can’t have holiday cheer without some sort of traditional scrooge-like sneer. That rhyme being said, the Ford’s Theater is hosting  A Christmas Carol for everyone in D.C. to hear. The Christmas classic is directed and reinterpreted by Michael Baron, who’s resume is stocked with a whole slew of musical theater productions including a previous production of A Christmas Carol in 2009. This talented cast of the 2011 production will spotlight everyone from local children to seasoned thespians, so it’s sure to entertain audiences of all ages.

A Christmas Carol will run from November 18 to December 31. For more information on the theater, show, special performances and tickets, click here.

Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center "Christmas on the Potomac." (Photo Courtesy of Gaylord Hotels)

Gaylord National Resort’s Christmas on the Potomac

The holidays are all about family, so what better way to bond then hanging with Dreamworks characters beneath a 60-foot tall glass-blown tree? Thanks to the Gaylord National Resort‘s Christmas on the Potomac, kids can take a wintery ride around the hotel on the Christmas Express, decorate gingerbread cookies with Gingy from Shrek, ice skate, and cruise down an ice slide with characters from Madagascar. Plus, there’s even a nightly tree with actual falling snowflakes. Our favorite perk for hotel guests – how about a wake up call from Shrek?

For more information on Christmas on the Potomac, click here.

National Menorah Lighting at the White House. (Photo courtesy of American Friends of Lubavitch)

National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting

Looking for Hanukkah on a grand scale? Head to the annual National Menorah Lighting at the Ellipse near the White House. Before sundown, you can munch on complimentary latkes and donuts, snap a few shots of the Dreidelman and a small army of Macabee’s, and enjoy the patriotic sounds of The President’s Own Marine Band. And at sundown (or 4pm, whichever comes first) on December 20, American Friends of the Lubavitch will spark the giant electric lights for the first of eight bright nights.

The National Menorah Lighting begins on December 20 at 4pm and goes for the eight nights of Hanukkah. For more information and to reserve tickets, click here.

National Christmas Tree Lighting 2010 as seen from Presidents Park. (Photo courtesy of The National Park Foundation)

National Christmas Tree Lighting

There’s simply no Christmas without a Christmas tree lighting. And we’re not talking about the stringing lights on your plastic, evergreen-scented tree kind. We’re talking about a lighting so big it’s on a national scale – the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Last year the lighting was hosted by rapper Common, and everyone from Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles, BB King, President Obama, and of course, Santa made an appearance. This year tickets were awarded through a random lottery system (it’s closed now) but you can still stop by and see the tree all December. Or you can watch the ceremony  – which will include Kermit the Frog, Carson Daly, One Republic, and more – live on PBS or streamed online December 1st at 4:30PM.

For more information click here.

Park Hyatt Washington's Blue Duck Tavern. (Photo Courtesy of Hyatt Hotels)

Holiday at Park Hyatt Washington and Blue Duck Tavern

The holidays and good food are synonymous. The Park Hyatt Washington and Blue Duck Tavern are each offering special packages and dinners for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On Christmas day, Blue Duck is offering a 3-course brunch, including artisan cheeses, fresh baked breads, tossed salads, whipped omelette’s, and of course dessert. Meanwhile, the hotel has put together a “Christmas at the Park” package which includes a complimentary upgrade to a signature Premier Park Deluxe room, along with dinner for two at Blue Duck Tavern.

On New Year’s Eve, guests have the option of partying it up inside the Park Hyatt Lounge – the party includes a premium open bar from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am along with live music from the Steve Washington Ensemble for at $165 per person–or dining at Blue Duck Tavern. They are offering two seatings, the first is available from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm and will feature a three-course, a la carte menu priced at $75 per person or $145 with Robert Mondavi Reserve wines and Tattinger champagne pairing, while the second seating will start at 8:30 pm and is priced at $110 per person or $175 with the same wine and champagne pairing. For a more private New Year’s Eve, gather 18 friends and dine at Blue Duck Tavern’s private Chef’s Table where Chef de Cuisine John Melfi will customize a four or five-course, family-style menu.

For additional information or to make reservations, please visit or call +1 202 419 6755.  Advance reservations are required.

"The People's Tree" as it's loaded onto the truck for a trek across the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Capitol Christmas Tree 2011)

Capitol Christmas Tree

The Capitol Christmas Tree, aka, The People’s Tree, this hand-picked giant is displayed annually at the U.S. Capitol on The National Mall. This year, a 62-foot Sierra white fir from Stanislaus National Forest in California was selected as “the chosen one.” And this one is quite the busy tree; for 20 days it will journey from its home state to D.C. on an activity-filled national tour.  The white fir and co. will pick up canned foods in a new project called “Pay it Forward”, where all collected non-perishables are sent to Gallup, New Mexico, one of the poorest communities in the U.S. Once the tree arrives in the capital, it will be temporarily planted in front of Congress and inaugurated by Speaker of the House, John Boehner. On Dec. 5th, a tribal elder from the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wok Indians will bless it, and on Dec. 6th it will be the center of attention at the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which begins at 5 p.m.

The tree is illuminated every night at dusk and turned off at 11pm until Jan. 1. For more information on the tree and its travels, click here.

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