Jumping the gun on the holidays when school just started may sound like over-the-top type A behavior, but—trust us—when it comes to some of the most popular revelry in the District, it’s totally worth it. You’ll have more family fa-la-la-ahh time together in December with this booking guide for the hottest holiday happenings. Plan now; stress less later. Period.

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Nutcracker Sw-w-w-e-e-e-e-t

Remember the first time saw the Snow Queen? The world shimmered as she danced, taking your breath away with each jeté. Everything was beautiful at the ballet. If your sugarplums will be 5 or 6 years old by December, they’re ready for you to share Clara’s magical story with them. Snag choice seats now to the most bedazzling and sumptuous performances of this timeless dance confection by nabbing your tickets now. Squiggly kid tip: Aisle seats make for quicker exits.

  • The Washington Ballet
    November 29-30
    THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus)
    1901 Mississippi Ave., SE
    December 4-28
    Warner Theater
    513 13th St.
    202-397-7328
    Online: washingtonballet.org
  • The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
    December 14
    Strathmore Music Center
    5301 Tuckerman Ln. (North Bethesda, Md)
    301-581-5100
    Online: strathmore.org
  • Center for the Arts, George Mason University
    December 17-18 (not matinee)
    4373 Mason Pond Dr. (Fairfax, Va)
    888-945-2468
    Online: cfa.gmu.edu
  • The Puppet Co.
    November 28–December 31
    Glen Echo Park
    7300 MacArthur Blvd. (Glen Echo, Md)
    301-634-5380
    Online: thepuppetco.org

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One Lump or Two?  (No, Not Coal)
A proper cup of tea with a scone. What a lovely tradition. If your timing is right, you and the kiddo can go ice-skating together and then refuel with delectables. If the weather is dreary, not to worry dearie. A hot cup of tea with your kids will do you all good. Reservations now mean your holiday to-do-list-that-is-way-too-long has a built in pause button. Time for a nibble and giggle.

  • The Ritz Carlton at Pentagon City Va, serves up a posh tea service for the pint size set (did you say Hot Chocolate mom?) and is nearby the not-too-big skating rink in Pentagon Row. Book your reservations now because they fill up fast. Insider tip: tell them you want the Teddy Bear Children’s Tea when you make the reservation.Ritz Carlton Pentagon City
    1250 S Hayes St. (Arlington, Va)
    Tea Times: Saturdays 2:30 pm-4:30 pm
    Sundays 3 pm-4:30 pm
    Cost: $29-$42/person; Teddy Bear Children’s Tea (with Hot Chocolate), $16/person
    703-412-2762
    Online: ritzcarlton.com
  • Sip a cuppa tea with your 4+ year old and Mrs. Claus at the Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. Listen to music, and nosh away while she reads a heartwarming story. Guess who will stop for a surprise Ho-Ho-Ho? Nope. Not the Green Giant. Guess again, but don’t tell the kids. It’s suppose to be a secret.The Mansion at Strathmore
    10701 Rockville Pike (North Bethesda, Md)
    Cost: $26/person
    Reservations: 301-581-5108

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Discover Tuba Christmas
Every year a triumphant of tubas gather at the Kennedy Center grand foyer to play holiday songs. Think dozens of marching band members of all ages coming together in a euphoric Christmas euphonium fest. It’s an oomp-pah-pah hoot not to be missed. Sound check tip: Take along earplugs for little listeners.

When: Second week in December
Cost: Free
Kennedy Center
700 F St., NW (Foggy Bottom)

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Spend the Holidays in Russia
If you missed out on the summertime French Festival at Hillwood, you can revel at the Russian Winter Festival at Hillwood in December. Hang on to your babushka as you and the kid-niks kick up your heels Russian style and twirl around to that lively Caucus beat. After a full day the kids will go to bed early. You can curl up and watch Doctor Zhivago. Nyet?

When: December 13-14 , 10 am-5 pm
Cost: $5-$18; FREE for 6 and under
Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
4155 Linnean Ave., NW (Van Ness)
202-686-8500
Online: hillwoodmuseum.org

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Which of these do you plan on booking? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Linda Bennett

Photos courtesy of The Washington Ballet via Facebook, Larry Jacobsen via Flickr, Hillwood Museum via Facebook