We’re still a couple of weeks away from the official holiday kick-off (Thanksgiving Day), but you can get a jump start this weekend with a slew of winter-ific happenings. The National Harbor will opens its annual ice palace, where you can slide down frozen slides and pose with giant snowmen ice sculptures. At other events around town you can DIY a cool holiday table display, build a great big LEGO Christmas tree, and relive the precious story of Tiny Tim.

national-harbor-ice-gaylord-resortPhoto credit: Gaylord National Resort via Facebook

National Harbor

Chillax at Ice! at the Gaylord National Resort
Two million pounds of hand-carved ice (not even exaggerating) are used to create this popular family attraction at the National Harbor that features everything from ice sculptures to benches and slides. The set-up is completely interactive, and since the atrium where the ice palace is housed stays set to a chilly nine degrees, puffy winter coats are loaned out. Bring hats and gloves so that you can get even cozier with the ice art. This year’s theme is “‘Frosty the Snowman.” Fri.-Sun. National Harbor. $27/adults; $20/kids ages 3-11. All ages. Event details.

Glen Echo

It’s Showtime! Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol
Tiny Tim longs to have his father home on Christmas day, but mean old Mr. Scrooge won’t give Bob Crachit the day off! There must be a way to change Scrooge’s mind – perhaps a ghost or two will set Scrooge right. Can this clever boy and his best friend Charlotte save Christmas and change the heart of the meanest man in town? Get ready for the wildest ride you’ve ever had at Christmas! Fri.-Sun.,7 pm- 8 pm. Glen Echo. $19. Ages 4 and up. Event details.

Penn Quarter

Thanksgiving Family Festival
Every Turkey Day celebration needs a well-dressed table! Start at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and make your very own Thanksgiving Day decorations to display. Then learn to contra dance with a live band while you create your centerpiece, or take a scavenger hunt in the galleries and find inspiration from America’s artists. Sat.,11: 30 am- 3 pm. Penn Quarter. Free. All ages. Event details.

North Bethesda

Make a List: Museum Shop Around at Strathmore
After lugging kids, strollers, diaper bags, cameras, etc. through a tourist-heavy museum, the last thing you want to do is check out the museum shop. But at this fun shopping event, the museum shop is the focus…the only focus. Nearly 20 museums and non-profits, including kid favorites like the National Building Museum and the Audobon Sanctuary, are bringing their gift shops to the Mansion at Strathmore. Score unique gifts—toys, paper goods, books—or just browse with the babes. Fri.-Sun.,10 am. North Bethesda. $9. All ages. Event details.

Judiciary Square

LEGO-Lovers Building Face-Off
The National Building Museum is pulling out the LEGOS once again. This time it’s for kiddos to work with other mini-engineers to build disaster-proof buildings, towers and homes. Structures will then be put to the test. Sun., 1 pm-3 pm. Judiciary Square. $25. Ages 6 and up. Event details.

Mosaic District

Merry and Bright Shopping Extravaganza
Start the holidays off right with giveaways, treats and other Mosaic surprises! Nearly every store at the Mosaic District will be offering discounts. Bonus: After shopping up an appetite, grab a bite at Cyclone Anaya’s, which will be offering a free kid’s meal with purchase of an adult entree. Sat., 4 pm-9 pm. Mosaic District. Free. All ages. Event details.

What are you up to this weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below. 

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady