Large meals, football and family time are on-tap this week, but by this weekend it’s full-steam holiday craze. You may have plans to put up your Christmas tree. Or brave the crowns for Black Friday. Looking for some festive fun beyond the mall? We’ve sussed out the best ways to officially kick off the season with flair.  From tree lightings to parades, this weekend ushers in all that December has to offer.

photo: DRZ via Unsplash 


National Mall

Native American Heritage Day
The museum’s unique family celebration of Native American Heritage Day showcases Native culture through interactive dancing, games, storytelling, hands-on activities and make-and-takes, as well as music and dance presentations. Fri. Event details. 

Foggy Bottom

Atlanta Ballet: The Nutcracker 
Visit the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, for a performance promising visually inventive staging set against a fantastical starry night, dominated by oversized storybooks, clocks, and constellations. Complemented by Russian choreography and a story deemed closer to the 1816 original, this one looks to be a sure treat. Fri. Event details. 

PJ Masks Live
PJ Masks Live!’ the super-heroic, live musical show from Entertainment One and Round Room Live, is returning to North America for an additional leg of the Save the Day tour. Based on eOne’s top rated animated series, the live show features preschoolers’ favorite super heroes, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko as they embark on action-packed capers, solve mysteries and save the day from the night time baddies, all while learning valuable lessons. PJ Masks Live will delight both children and parents alike with its world class production, audience interaction and toe taping tunes that will be sure to have the little ones out of their seats and dancing in the aisles. Sun. Event details. 


Nightly Caroling
The Arlington Children’s Chorus, the Gay Men’s Chorus and Washington Saengerbund are a few of the expected performers. While you’re there, check out the 2019 8.5-by-5-foot gingerbread display of the Jefferson Memorial. Fri.-Sun. Event details. 

CityCenterDc Tree Lighting 
CityCenterDC will kick off the holiday season with an exciting evening of celebrations! Washingtonians will be dazzled by the 75-foot tree decked with more than 150,000 lights and 4,500 ornaments. Attendees will be treated to a joyful music performance by The Washington Chorus and an official lighting ceremony and countdown emceed by NBC4’s Eun Yang. Families will be entertained with balloon artists, face painters, holiday activities and more. In addition, enjoy the return of our Palmer Alley overhead holiday display! Rain won’t stop us! Our holiday tree lighting will go on as planned. Rain or shine we are getting into the holiday spirit! Sat. Event details. 



Reston Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting 
Voted one of USA Today’s “10 Best” (2016 – 2018) parades, the 29th annual Reston Holiday Parade starts at 11 a.m. featuring Macy’s-style balloons, marching bands, dancers, characters, performers, community groups, dignitaries, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a horse-drawn carriage.  After the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus stay for visits and photos, and mini-train rides are offered on Market Street. The Conservatory Ballet will perform a scene from “The Nutcracker” at the square at 5 p.m. The tree will be lit at 6 p.m. Fri. Event details. 


The Tale of the Tiger Slippers
Spend an evening with New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Jan Brett as she discusses her newest release, “The Tale of the Tiger Slippers.” Brett, who studied tigers in India, will speak about the adventures that inspired the re-telling of this classic Persian folktalk. Her presentation will also include a tiger drawing demonstration. Reservations are not required. Seating is first come, first served. Books will be available for sale onsite by Politics & Prose.  Sun. Event details. 


Fairfax City Elf Hunt
The Fairfax City Elf Hunt will begin on Saturday, November 30 through Sunday, December 15 with elves hidden in small businesses located throughout the city.  Once you have submitted your Fairfax City Elf Hunt card, you will receive a Fairfax City car magnet and have your name entered into a drawing for a $250 cash prize. Sat.-Sun. Event details. 


Santa’s Arrival 
Santa is coming to Downtown Frederick! Santa will be pulled down East Street in a carriage among thousands of twinkling lights! Santa will then have a Meet and Greet inside I Made This! A Paint Your Own Pottery Studio. Come and meet Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas. Refreshments of apple cider and cookies served. Fri. Event details.

—Meghan Yudes Meyers