Ready or not, here it comes! It’s the day many kids–and a certain hefty man in a red suit–have been waiting for all year. Go out with a bang (and some great memories) by checking out these happenings leading up to Christmas day, plus a couple on the day of. And don’t be shy about having that extra cup of marshmallow and candy cane loaded cocoa or binge-ing on cheesy holiday movies…’cause ’tis the season!

Photo: ARTECHOUSE

L’enfant Plaza

Imaginary World of the Nutcracker
Explore the “Imaginary World of the Nutcracker” at ARTECHOUSE and make this your family’s new holiday tradition. The whimsical digital adaptation of the beloved wintry tale features visual and interactive elements by Sila Sveta, interactive installations by Noirflux and new Augmented Reality activations via the ARTECHOUSE app. Wrapped in visually stunning graphics and interactions, the Nutcracker’s dreamlike world of toys, magic trees, snowflakes and candy offers a completely different and thrilling experience for both adults and kids alike. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Capitol Hill

Snowflake Festival and Diaper Drive
A fun morning for a good cause! Join Doulas of Capitol Hill for its first annual Snowflake Festival, benefiting the DC Diaper Bank. There will be crafts, snacks, raffle prizes and the chance to have your photo taken with Olaf! Accepting donations of diapers and other new or gently used baby items. Sat. Event details.

Arlington

Christmas Brunch
Gather ‘round for a bountiful holiday brunch at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City featuring traditional and Christmas inspired cuisine and holiday parade featuring Mr. and Mrs. Clause, Santa’s team of reindeer and festive carolers! Mon. Event details.

Wheaton

Garden of Lights
Step into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than one million dazzling colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, fountains, sparkling snowflakes overhead and more. The night wouldn’t be complete without a visit inside the Conservatory to enjoy watching G-Scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape. Fri.-Mon. Event details.

Alexandria

CapCity Christmas Eve (Morning)
It’s going to be a fun filled day with a petting zoo, Christmas train, hot chocolate and much more! Join in on some Christmas carols and hear an encouraging message from CapCity’s lead pastor. Be sure to invite your friends and the whole family to come along. Sun. Event details.

National Cathedral

Christmas Day Organ Recital
Visit one of D.C.’s gems, the Washington National Cathedral where organists, the Rev. Benjamin Pearce Straley and George Fergus, will play a Christmas afternoon recital of traditional and familiar holiday favorites on the Cathedral’s grand organ. Mon. Event details.

What is your favorite Christmas Eve or pre-holiday tradition? Tell us in the comments below.

–Ayren Jackson-Cannady