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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
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Page updated Dec 10, 2009 1:53 PM
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Celebrate the Holiday Season in the City of Alexandria

News Highlights:

  • The City of Alexandria has several special events, holiday giving programs, and visitor attractions for the public during this time of year. The following list of City-sponsored holiday programs, events, and services are scheduled from Wednesday, November 25, 2009 to Thursday, December 31, 2009.

Special Events Celebrating the Holiday Season

Wednesday, November 25 – Mayor’s Fifth Annual Unity Breakfast
Residents of all ages, economic levels, religious beliefs, and political leanings are invited to unite for a special morning of thanks and celebration at Mayor William D. Euille’s Fifth Annual Unity Breakfast. The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Hilton Hotel at Mark Center, 5000 Seminary Rd. The theme for this year’s breakfast is “Diversity in Action.” The keynote speaker is Will Gunn, General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Mistress of Ceremonies is Alison Starling of ABC Channel 7 News. The cost is $30 per person, and reservations are requested. Call 703.751.7970 to RSVP for this event.

Thursday, November 26 – 34th Annual Turkey Trot 5-Miler
Residents are invited to participate in the 33rd Annual Turkey Trot 5-Miler race, sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association. The event begins at 10 a.m. at the Cora Kelly Recreation Center, 25 W. Reed Ave. For information, call Paul Coleus at 703.933.0520 ext. 203 or e-mail paul@waterfordinc.com.

Friday, November 27 – City of Alexandria’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Kick off the holiday season by making plans to attend the 2009 Annual City Tree Lighting Ceremony at 7 p.m. at Market Square, 301 King St. Admission is free, and the event will be held rain or shine. Entertainment features a message from the Mayor, a visit from Santa, a performance of Santa’s Frosty’s Follies by the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center, and caroling with a community sing along. For additional information, please call the Events Hotline at 703.883.4686 or visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation. 

Wednesday, December 2 – Annual Christmas Tree Sale Begins
The Annual Christmas Tree Sale to benefit the Alexandria Police Youth Camp will begin on December 2. The sale will be ongoing, weeknights from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every weekend from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., until they are sold out! The sale is held by the Amtrak Station at 110 Callahan Dr.

Friday, December 4 through Sunday, December 6 - 2009 Pet Photos with Santa 
Santa Claus is coming to town, and that means it’s time to have your pets’ photos made with the jolly man in the red and white suit! The AWLA will hold its annual "Pet Photos with Santa" event Dec. 4, 5, and 6. Call (703) 838-4774 to make your appointment. Drop-ins are welcome, but an appointment will ensure a spot. The sitting fee for this event is $45 with different photo packages available. Celebrate the season by having your companion animal photographed with Santa!

Saturday, December 5 – Ornament Decorating Workshop for Families
Be inspired by the colors and patterns of pottery excavated in Alexandria and make a memorable holiday keepsake! The Alexandria Archaeology Museum (105 N. Union St., #327) will host a free ornament decorating workshop from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Participants can decorate and take home dough ornaments which are shaped like artifacts from the museum’s own collection. For additional information, please call the Alexandria Archaeology Museum at 703.838.4399 or visit www.alexandriaarchaeology.org.

Saturday, December 5 – Thirty Ninth Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
The City of Alexandria invites the public to attend the Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade at 11 a.m. in historic Old Town. The centerpiece of the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, the parade celebrates the City's Scottish heritage, featuring  more than 100 Scottish clans, bagpipe and drum bands, living history reenactment groups, dog clubs, and a special appearance by Santa Claus. The St. Andrew's Society of Washington, D.C. partners with The Campagna Center and the City of Alexandria  to sponsor the annual parade. The Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend is one of the largest fundraising activities for The Campagna Center; all proceeds from the Weekend support the Campagna Center’s programs, which help children in Alexandria arrive at school ready to learn and ensuring they are academically successful at each grade level. To learn more the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, call 703.549.0111 or visit www.scottishchristmaswalk.com.

Saturday, December 5 – Holiday Concert in Old Town Alexandria 
Enjoy the music of the season in Old Town Alexandria at a holiday concert at Market Square, 301 King St. At 2 p.m., the Family Choir of Beth El Hebrew Congregation will perform Hanukah favorites. For more information, call the City’s Special Events hotline at 703.883.4686.

Saturday, December 5 – Potomac River Parade
From 6 p.m. to7 p.m., Alexandria's harbor will sparkle when 50 brightly lit powerboats and sailboats fully decked out in lights and holiday décor take part in the 10th annual Burke & Herbert Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Santa Claus will arrive by fireboat to kick off the evening festivities at 4 p.m. at the Alexandria Marina, 1 Cameron St. Kids and dogs will be able to sit on Santa's lap and get their picture taken for free. The Braddock Brass Quintet and the Bells of Mount Vernon, a hand bell choir from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will headline the live music entertainment.

Sunday, December 6 – Holiday Concert in Old Town Alexandria
Enjoy the music of the season in Old Town Alexandria at a holiday concert at Market Square, 301 King St. Shir Tze’ir, a performer of Jewish a cappella music, will perform at 2 p.m. For more information, call the City’s Special Events hotline at 703.883.4686.

Sunday, December 6 – Toys for Tots 35th Annual Benefit Round and Square Dance
The City of Alexandria, in cooperation with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, invites the public to the "Gonna Thrive at Thirty-Five” Toys for Tots annual benefit round and square dance from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lee Center Exhibit Hall, 1108 Jefferson St. The Capital Square Demonstration team will hold a special performance at 3 p.m. Recommended donation per couple is a new, unopened toy or a minimum $10 contribution ($5 for singles). If contributing toys only, drop off at Lee Center by 3 p.m. For information, call the Special Events Office at 703.746.5418.

Sunday, December 6 – 12th Annual Holiday Art Show
Find just the right gifts for everyone on your list—and something wonderful for yourself! Women artists will be selling their artwork at the annual Holiday Art Show, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Charles Houston Recreation Center, 901 Wythe St. Over 30 exhibitors will display pottery, handmade clothing, scarves, purses, jewelry, crafts and much more! Complimentary refreshments will be served, and raffle drawings will be held throughout the event. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will be donated by the Friends of the Commission for Women to support programs of the Office on Women. For more information, contact Lisa Baker at 703.746.5030 or e-mail lisa.baker@alexandriava.gov.

Friday, December 11 – Thomas Jefferson High School Chorus
Enjoy the music of the season in Old Town Alexandria at a holiday concert at Market Square, 301 King St. At 7 p.m., the Thomas Jefferson High School Choral Department will present a choral holiday performance. Following its performance, the Thomas Jefferson High School Choral Department will move to the Torpedo Factory Arcade, King and Union Sts. for caroling at 8 p.m. For more information, call the City’s Special Events hotline at 703.883.4686.

Saturday, December 12 – Kwanzaa Celebration and Film Screening
The Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe St.) will host two free Kwanzaa programs: a holiday celebration and a film screening. The first, a Kwanzaa Celebration, begins at 11 a.m. with Kwanzaa authority Brian Sales exploring the history of Kwanzaa. Then at 4:30 p.m., join award-winning filmmaker M.K. Asante, Jr., as he presents his film, “The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration.” This landmark, vibrant documentary uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore and celebrate the African-American experience. For more information, please call 703.838.4356 or visit www.alexblackhistory.org.

Saturday, December 12 – Holiday Concert in Old Town Alexandria
Enjoy the music of the season in Old Town Alexandria at a holiday concert at Market Square, 301 King St. At 1 p.m., Bell’s Angels and the St. John’s Lutheran Church Handbell Choir will provide holiday music, followed at 2 p.m. by the Alexandria Harmonizers, a barbershop musical group, who will also perform a selection of holiday favorites. For more information, call the City’s Special Events hotline at 703.883.4686.

Saturday, December 12 – Caroling for Cats
Join staff from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, volunteers and residents at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter (4101 Eisenhower Ave.) for songs, snacks and “arfs and crafts!” The shelter will be open until midnight, so feel free to stop by for a late night snuggle with our shelter residents or a cup of cocoa and a sweet treat. If you’re not feeling very tuneful, our hounds can sing a tune for you! For more information, visit www.alexandriaanimals.org.

Saturday, December 12 – Christmas in Camp Open House
Get into the holiday spirit and learn how Christmas was observed during the Civil War by attending Fort Ward Museum’s annual Christmas in Camp Open House at the Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site, 4301 W. Braddock Rd., at 5 p.m. This popular family-oriented event features a patriotic Santa Claus, living history presentations, period music, Victorian decorations, refreshments, tours and crafts. The suggested donation is $2 for adults and $1 for children. For more information, call Susan Cumbey at 703.838.4848 or visit www.fortward.org.

Saturday & Sunday, December 12 & 13 - Annual Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours 
See historic Alexandria in a whole new light this holiday season! Four of Old Town Alexandria’s finest historic sites will welcome guests: This year’s tour includes Carlyle House Historic Park, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Lee-Fendall House, and Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Tour times are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and the Sunday afternoon program features kid-friendly tours and a special activity! The cost is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older), and $5 for children (ages 6-17). Before December 1, pre-sale discounts are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors. Reservations are recommended for the tours. For more information, call 703.838.4242 or visit www.historicalexandria.org

Sunday, December 13 – Holiday Concert in Old Town Alexandria
Enjoy the music of the season in Old Town Alexandria at a holiday concert at Market Square, 301 King St. The St. Matthews United Methodist Church Youth Handbell Choir will perform at 2 p.m., followed at 3 p.m. by the Alexandria Singers, who will also play holiday favorites. For more information, call the City’s Special Events hotline at 703.883.4686.

Saturday, December 12 – Caroling for Cats
Join staff from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, volunteers and residents at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter (4101 Eisenhower Ave.) for songs, snacks and “arfs and crafts!” The shelter will be open until midnight, so feel free to stop by for a late night snuggle with our shelter residents or a cup of cocoa and a sweet treat. If you’re not feeling very tuneful, our hounds can sing a tune for you! For more information, visit www.alexandriaanimals.org.

Sunday, December 20 - Holiday Favorites with the Colonial Handbell Ringers
Join the Colonial Handbell Ringers as they play more than sixty bronze bells at the Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St. Musical selections include Christmas classics like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Feliz Navidad,” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Sing along with your favorite Christmas carols. They will perform at two free, one-hour shows, the first at 2 p.m. and then a repeat performance at 4 p.m. For more information, call 703.838.4994 or visit www.alexandriahistory.org

Thursday, December 31 – First Night Alexandria
Don't miss the best New Year's Eve party in the region!  Alexandria will host 25 indoor venues with multiple stages featuring performances from 6:00 p.m. to fireworks at midnight! Tickets and additional information are available at www.firstnightalexandria.org.

Holiday Giving Programs

Alexandria Office on Women Seeks Donations for Children’s Holiday Party
Every year, the Alexandria Office on Women organizes a holiday party for mothers and children who have been recently served by the Domestic Violence Program. At the party, more than 100 families each receives a bag of gifts for their children, which they can take home, wrap and place under their tree. Toy donations for the children and gift cards for their mothers are needed. If you would like to make a donation, please bring unwrapped toys and gift cards to the Office on Women, 421 King Street, Suite 400 no later than December 15. For more information, call 703.838.4911.

Donors Needed for Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Holiday Sharing Program
Be part of the holiday spirit and reach out to eligible low income families, foster children, and elderly or disabled citizens through the DHS Holiday Sharing Program. You will get “wish lists” for children or senior citizens, which will include necessary clothing (jeans, warm jacket), a toy or recreational item, a book and perhaps one family request (used computer, towels, pots and pans). Gift cards from stores such as Old Navy, Target, and Best Buy are also needed for teens in foster care. To sign up online, visit alexandriava.gov/HolidaySharing. For more information, e-mail holidaysharing@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.5663.

Alexandria Fire Department Toys for Tots Drive
The Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) is collecting toys for needy families and underprivileged children during the 2009 holiday season. For many years, AFD has partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps to support its Toys for Tots Campaign. Residents can drop off new, unwrapped toys at any Alexandria fire station through December 24. Donated toys may not be used as weapons or considered to be weapons (i.e., toy guns or knives of any kind). The toys are intended to go to children ages 0-17 years of age. For more information, visit www.dctoysfortots.org.

Community Partners for Children Holiday Toy Drive
Each holiday season, Community Partners for Children (CPC) collects toys for deserving kids in the Alexandria area, and asks the community for help. Make a cash contribution by sending your check to Community Partners for Children, P.O. Box 2738, Alexandria, VA 22301. Leave a doll, toy truck, game, or any other new toy for a deserving child or a grocery gift card at any CPC donation box. More than two dozen donation boxes are conveniently located throughout the City of Alexandria. In order to find out the nearest donation box, contact Pat Miller at pmiller1806@comcast.net or 703.683.2570. For more information on upcoming volunteer opportunities, contact Kendra Chambers at kendrajanedc@aol.com or 703.717.0373.

Holiday Shopping

Celebrate the holiday season and Alexandria's heritage with the newest collectible ornament from the Office of Historic Alexandria! The 2009 ornament of the historic Friendship Firehouse Museum shows the authentically-painted cupola, restored just this year. The commemorative ornament features an etched brass-finish design of the historic firehouse decorated with festive holiday greenery. Each ornament costs $16 and comes in an embossed gift box with a card detailing Friendship's history. The 2009 Historic Alexandria ornament goes on sale Friday, November 27, at The Lyceum (201 S. Washington St.), Gadsby's Tavern Museum (134 N. Royal St.), and the Historic Alexandria History Center and Museum Store (101 N. Union St).

Bring historic style to your holidays by stopping by the Historic Alexandria History Center and Museum Store. Choose from a great selection of gifts for stocking stuffers or under the tree. Stock up on beautiful household goods to add that extra special touch to your holiday home. Pick up your 2009 Historic Alexandria Ornament of the newly restored Friendship Firehouse Museum. Download your special 10% off shopping offer online at www.alexandriava.gov.

Visitor Holiday Attractions

Discover the wonders of the holidays in Alexandria, with a backdrop of historic warmth nestled in with contemporary flair. Holiday tree-lightings, candlelight tours, ornament workshops and parades are just a handful of the season's festivities. The Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association Web site, www.visitalexandriava.com, provides a comprehensive list of events in Alexandria during the holiday season.

Did You Know? The City Collects Christmas Trees for Recycling!

The City of Alexandria reminds residents to recycle their holiday Christmas trees. Residents who receive City trash service should set trees out for recycling pick-up at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 9 and Saturday, January 16. Please remember, do not put trees in plastic bags and remove all stands and ornaments. Any trees set out at the curb after January 16 will be collected during regular refuse collection service and will not be recycled. For more information, please call 703.746.4410.