Special Events Celebrating the Holiday Season
Friday, November 26 – City of Alexandria's Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
Kick off the holiday season by attending the 2010 Annual City Tree Lighting Ceremony in Market Square, located in front of City Hall, 301 King St. Admission is free, and the event will take place rain or shine. Enjoy a visit from Santa Claus, a performance of Santa's Frosty Follies by the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center, and a community sing-along after the tree lighting. For more information, visit www.alexandriava.gov/recreation or call 703.746.5592.
Friday, November 26 - Alexandria Offers Free Parking at City Garages
On one of the biggest shopping days of the year, the City of Alexandria is offering free parking in all City-owned garages on Friday, November 26. Commonly known as “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving marks the time when the season for holiday shopping begins, and free parking is a special incentive for shoppers to visit Old Town to make their holiday purchases. Dozens of merchants are opening early, some as early as 6 a.m., and offering deep discounts. For more information, go to www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com.
Friday, November 26 -- AWLA “Black Friday” Pet Adoption Promotion
On Black Friday, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will reduce adoption prices for all-black or partially-black companion animals. This special includes any companion animal at the League, including guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats and other adoptable pets. All League pets are current on vaccinations and have been microchipped and altered. The shelter's adoption areas are open every day except Wednesdays. For more information, call 703.746.4774 or visit www.alexandriaanimals.org.
Wednesday, December 1 – Annual Christmas Tree Sale Begins
The Annual Christmas Tree Sale to benefit the Alexandria Police Youth Camp will begin on December 1. The sale will be ongoing, weeknights from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until they are sold out! The sale is held by the Amtrak Station at 110 Callahan Dr.
Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4 – Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend and Parade
With the fresh scent of heather and the festive melody of bagpipes, get right into the holiday spirit at the 40th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend and Parade, sponsored by the Scottish Government. The centerpiece of the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend is the parade through historic Old Town, which celebrates the City's Scottish heritage and features more than 100 Scottish clans, bagpipe and drum bands, history reenactment groups, dog clubs, and a visit from Santa Claus. The parade begins at 11 a.m. Other events, including markets, Scotch tastings, and family activities, will take place throughout the weekend at the George Washington Masonic Memorial at 101 Callahan St. For more information, visit www.scottishchristmaswalk.com.
Friday, December 3 through Sunday, December 5 – 15th Annual Holiday Market at Del Ray Artisans
Stop by the 15th Annual Holiday Market at 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. in Del Ray! The Market offers unique handmade fine arts and crafts from 20 exhibitors, beautiful poinsettias from West Landscapes LLC, and delicious baked goods to benefit the local community. Admission is free. All exhibitors are DRA artist members and all crafts are handmade. The Market will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 703.501.1736 or visit www.thedelrayartisans.org.
Friday, December 3 through Sunday, December 5 - 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 December 3-5. Drop-ins are welcome, but residents are encouraged to call 703.746.4774 to make your appointment to ensure a spot for your pet.
Saturday, December 4 – Ornament Decorating Workshop for Families
Get inspired by the colors and patterns of pottery excavated in Alexandria and make a memorable holiday keepsake at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 North Union St. #327, from 1 to 4 p.m. Participants can decorate and take home dough ornaments shaped like artifacts from the museum’s own collection. This free event is great for families! For more information, call 703.746.4399 or visit www.alexandriaarchaeology.org.
Saturday, December 4 – 11th Annual Burke and Herbert Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
Alexandria's harbor lights up when more than 50 illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront. Festivities at the Marina (located at the foot of Cameron St.) run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with Santa arriving by fireboat at 4:15 p.m. to take free photos with kids and pets. The boat parade begins at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Jay Atkinson at 703.304.1523 or visit www.visitAlexandriaVA.com/HolidayBoatParadeofLights.
Friday, December 3 – Holiday on the Avenue in Del Ray
Join us for the Annual Del Ray holiday tree lighting, visit with Santa and enjoy lighting of the luminaries from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Carols begin at 5:45 pm and hot chocolate, hot cider and cookies will be provided. At 6 p.m., sing "Here Comes Santa Claus" when Santa arrives! Santa will lead you down Mt Vernon Ave. to enjoy the luminaries lining the street and then will sit and hear what children want for Christmas. There will be candy canes for the children and photos can be taken on Santa's lap. For more information, call 703.746.3301 or visit www.visitalexandriava.com
Sunday, December 5 – 13th Annual Women's Holiday Art Show
Take a break from crowded stores and come to the Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe St.) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for an afternoon of art, fun, women, and wine, sponsored by the Commission for Women and the Friends of the Commission for Women. Find gifts for everyone on your list and something for yourself! More than 30 exhibitors will display pottery, clothing, scarves, purses, jewelry, crafts, and more. Free refreshments will be served, and raffles will be held. A portion of the proceeds will be donated by the Friends of the Commission to support Domestic and Sexual Violence Services in Alexandria. For more information, contact Lisa Baker at 703.746.5030 or e-mail email@example.com.
Sunday, December 5 – Square Dance to Benefit Toys for Tots Drive
The Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities and United States Marine Corps Reserve are hosting the 36th annual benefit square and round dance for the United States Marine Corps’ Reserve Toys for Tots drive. Donation per couple is a new unopened toy or a minimum $10 contribution. The event will be held at the Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson St., from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. A toy contribution may be dropped off at the Exhibit Hall before 3 p.m. For more information, call the Events Hotline at 703.746.5592 or the Special Events office at 703.746.5418.
Saturday, December 11 – Alexandria Holiday Cheerleading Invitational
Check out the fierce competition among the region’s best cheerleading teams at Alexandria’s Holiday Cheerleading Invitational, held at T.C. Williams High School, 3330 King St. beginning at 11 a.m. It is sponsored by the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. For more information, call 703.746.5407 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, December 11 – Pre-Kwanzaa Program
Learn about the principles of Kwanzaa, a seven-day cultural celebration that begins December 26 and ends January 1, at a special event from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St. Brian Sales, who studied with Kwanzaa founder Dr. Maulana Karenga, will instruct participants in the basic history of Kwanzaa, provide advice on celebrating Kwanzaa at home, and perform a traditional Libation Ceremony. This event is free and open to all. For more information, call 703.746.4356 or visit www.alexblackhistory.org.
Saturday, December 11 – Christmas in Camp Open House
This family holiday event interprets how Christmas was observed during the Civil War. This open house will be held at Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site, 4301 West Braddock Rd., from noon to 4 p.m. The program features living history interpreters, a Victorian Christmas tree, period music, refreshments, readings of “The Night Before Christmas” and a patriotic Santa Claus. There will also be guided tours of the fort, weather permitting. Suggested donation of $2 for adults, $1 for children. For more information, call 703.746.4848 or visit www.fortward.org.
Saturday, December 11 – Children’s Kwanzaa Craft Workshop
Jessica Smith, founder of Culture Kingdom Kids, and Kwanzaa educator Pier Penic, will direct children (ages 4-12) and their parents in making Kwanzaa crafts at a workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., in the Watson Reading Room. Advance reservations are requested and there is a $5 fee for craft supplies. For more information, call 703.746.4356 or visit www.alexblackhistory.org.
Saturday, December 11 – “The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration” Film Screening
The Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe St.) will host a free screening of the documentary “The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration” from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. This landmark film from M.K. Asante uses Kwanzaa to explore and celebrate the African-American experience. Narrated by Maya Angelou, it traces the holiday's growth out of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s to its present reality as a global holiday embraced by millions worldwide. For more information, call 703.746.4356 or visit www.alexblackhistory.org.
Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12 – Annual Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
Special nighttime candlelight tours at Old Town Alexandria’s historic sites are a charming, relaxing break from the fast pace of the season. Tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House and the Athenaeum and enjoy seasonal decorations, entertainment and light refreshments. Sunday features kid-friendly tours and a special activity! Cost is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older), and $5 for children (ages 6-17). Reservations are recommended. For more information, call 703.746.4242 or visit www.historicalexandria.org.
Sunday, December 19 – Holiday Favorites with the Colonial Handbell Ringers
Stop by the Lyceum on 201 South Washington St. and join the Colonial Handbell Ringers as they present their festive holiday musical show! Get into the holiday spirit as you listen and sing along with their performance of holiday classics using a long set of Whitechapel bells. The free event will consist of two one-hour shows, the first at 2 p.m. and then repeated at 4 p.m. For more information, call 703.746.4994 or visit www.alexandriahistory.org.
Friday, December 31 – First Night Alexandria
This New Year's Eve bash takes place all over Old Town Alexandria, with 100 live performances at 17 venues, the Second Annual Fun Hunt, plus children's face painting and games; and a multimedia midnight spectacular with fireworks, lasers, video, and music at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Performances start at 7 p.m. and conclude at 11:30 p.m. For more information, including event descriptions and ticket purchasing, visit www.FirstNightAlexandria.org.
Holiday Concerts in Old Town Alexandria
Enjoy the music of the season in Alexandria! Holiday concerts are held outdoors and are canceled in the event of inclement weather. Local performers volunteer their talent to entertain during this festive time. Featured music includes gospel groups, barbershop quartets and chorus, folk music, dramatic presentation, and good old fashioned caroling! Schedules are subject to change without notice. For additional information, view the Program Flyer, call the Events Hotline at 703.746.5592 or the Special Events office at 703.746.5418.
The following concerts will be held at Market Square, 301 King St. and are scheduled between Saturday, November 27 and Sunday, December 12:
Saturday, November 27
- Potomac Harmony Chorus (Women’s Barbershop) at 1 p.m.
- Doris Justis (Acoustic Folk) at 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 28
- Rich Follett (Contemporary Folk) at 2 p.m.
- Barbara Martin (Acoustic Jazz) at 3 p.m.
Sunday, December 5
- Shir Tze‘ir (Jewish a cappella) at 2 p.m.
- The Alexandria Singers (Choral) at 3 p.m.
Saturday, December 11
- Bell’s Angels, St. John’s Lutheran Church Handbell Choir ( Handbells ) at 1 p.m.
- Alexandria Harmonizers (Men’s Barbershop) at 2 p.m.
Sunday, December 12
- St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church Handbell Choir ( Handbells ) at 2 p.m.
- Blue Book Value Band (Swing Blues) at 3 p.m.
Holiday Giving Programs
Alexandria Domestic Violence Program Seeks Donations for Children’s Holiday Party
Every year, Alexandria’s Domestic Violence Program organizes a holiday party for mothers and children who have been recently helped at the women’s shelter. At the party, more than 100 families each receive a bag of gifts for their children, which they can take home, wrap and place under their tree. Toy donations for children and gift cards for mothers are needed. To make a donation, please bring unwrapped toys and gift cards to 421 King Street, Suite 400, no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14. For more information, call 703.746.4911.
Donors Needed for the 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 Alexandria’s 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 email@example.com or call 703.746.5663.
Friday, December 24 – Old Town Farmers’ Market Open
Because Christmas Day falls on Saturday this year, the Old Town Alexandria Farmers’ Market will be open on Friday, December 24 from 5:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. for last-minute shoppers. During this time, parking will be free at the Market Square parking garage. The market will be closed on Saturday, December 25. The Del Ray Farmers’ Market will also be closed on Saturday, December 25. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/FarmersMarket.
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 8 and Saturday, January 15. Please remember, do not put trees in plastic bags and remove all stands and ornaments. Any trees set out at the curb after January 15 will be collected during regular refuse collection service and will not be recycled. For more information, please call 703.746.4410.