23 Bull Run Festival of Lights
November 23–January 2; Monday – Thursday: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m, Friday – Sunday & Holidays*: 5:30-10pm *Holidays include Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day, Bull Run Regional Park. The Bull Run Festival of Lights is a NoVA favorite. Hop in the car and enjoy a very merry light and music show. Be advised: Fridays are one of the festival’s busiest days, so be prepared. Still, it’s one of the best days to go, as the carnival will be open until late! Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville; 703-359-4633; For info: nvrpa.org/park/bull_run_festival_of_lights; Prices vary.
11:00am–10:00pm; Reston Town Center. Reston Town Center launches the festive season at the 26th annual Reston Holiday Parade at 11:00 a.m. with Macy’s-style balloons, musicians, dancers, antique cars, characters, community groups, dignitaries, special guest emcees, and much more. The one-of-a-kind, one-hour, half-mile parade along Market Street also welcomes the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a horse-drawn carriage. Since 1991, rain or shine, the parade has been an annual tradition on the day after Thanksgiving. Before the parade begins, thousands of jingle bells will be handed out to spectators lining the route. After the parade, enjoy visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus plus Mini-Train rides until 4:30 pm, and street entertainment. The Clauses will return for the Fountain Square Tree Lighting and Sing Along at 6 pm. Afterwards, there’ll be horse-drawn carriage rides on Market Street from 6:30 until 10 pm. Proceeds from the photos and rides benefit local charities. The acclaimed Ice Skating Pavilion is open all day and every day from November until March. Phone: 703-579-6720
25 Christmas at Mount Vernon
Friday, November 25 – Friday, January 6; 9:00am–4:00pm; George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens. Mount Vernon has decked the halls for the holiday season and invites you to celebrate this festive time of year with a special daytime program offered through January 6!
Visit George Washington’s estate and see Aladdin the camel on the grounds, in honor of the camel that Washington paid to have visit Mount Vernon in 1787. Stroll through the estate during the Christmas season and see sparkling holiday decorations, featuring 12 dazzling Christmas trees, and historical chocolate-making demonstrations. Experience Christmas how the Washington’s would have celebrated it on a tour of the Mansion. Go behind-the-scenes and tour the rarely-open third floor of the Mansion. 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mount Vernon, VA 22309. Phone: 703-780-2000; Admission Fee: $17/adults; $8 child. mtvernon.org.
1 National Christmas Tree and State Trees
Ellipse in Washington, D.C. The National Park Foundation and National Park Service will present the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting. Popular entertainers and a United States military band add to the celebratory evening when the President of the United States lights the National Christmas Tree and brings a message of peace to the nation and world. To learn more about the National Christmas Tree Lighting and December events at the National Christmas Tree, please visit thenationaltree.org.
The National Christmas Tree will be illuminated every night through January 1. The Pathway of Peace around the National Christmas Tree is free and open to visitors 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through January 1. The pathway loops around the National Christmas Tree and features 56 unique Christmas trees and ornament displays representing every U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Located on the Ellipse on Constitution Avenue side of the White House. Though January 1, 2017.
2 Christmas in Middleburg
Friday, December 2 – Sunday, December 4; Downtown. Festivities begin with the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Carols, behind the Pink Box, 12 North Madison St., 5:00pm on Friday. Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the Middleburg Hunt takes to the streets creating a spectacular sight as approximately 100 horses, riders in red coats and dozens of hounds come through the town. The Middleburg Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. as spectators line the sidewalks along Washington Street (Route 50) to watch as a unique assortment of floats, troops and bands march by in a mile-long parade. In keeping with the animal friendliness of the town, the parade includes over 700 horses, llamas, alpacas and dogs. Not to be missed are the antique fire trucks, children on floats, and of course, Santa brings up the rear riding on a beautiful horse drawn coach. Through the day there are hayrides, choir performances, the Garden Club’s Christmas Flower & Greens Show and the Craft Show as well as shopping and dining in the town’s shops and restaurants, creating a day-long family festival for visitors. A Wine Crawl is the final element, allowing adults to wind down and relax while sampling wines from area vineyards, and foods in local restaurants. On Sunday, December 4, enjoy the Christmas Pageant at Foxcroft School featuring live animals, a 100-year old tradition! Admission is free. Phone: 540-687-8888. Visit christmasinmiddleburg.org for more info.
2 Merry Old Town: Manassas Christmas Tree Lighting
5:30pm–8:00pm; Manassas Museum Lawn. Make time to enjoy old-fashioned family fun at the “Merry Old Town” celebration in Old Town Manassas! The holiday fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with holiday music and at 6:00 p.m. when Santa arrives at the Manassas Depot via VRE train.
The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be at 6:30 at the Manassas Museum. Take a free hayride around Old Town and go for a skate at the Harris Pavilion ice rink. Of course, Santa will hear the Christmas wishes of all the children at the Harris Pavilion gazebo. 9101 Prince William Street. Free admission.
2 Town of Leesburg Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting
6:00pm; Town Green. Join friends and neighbors and celebrate the start of the holiday season in Leesburg at the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony on the Town Green. The festive ceremony will feature performances from local schools and a holiday message. The crowd will be encouraged to join in on a holiday sing-a-long and view the lighting of the Christmas tree
3 Herndon Annual Tree Lighting and Sing-Along
5:00pm–6:00pm; Town of Herndon Town Square. Start the holiday season with this annual celebration. Carols, tree lighting, and a visit from Santa. Corner of Lynn and Elden Streets, Herndon. Sponsored by the Dulles Regional Chamber. 730 Elden Street. Phone: 571-323-5301. Free admission.
3 Merry Old Town: 71st Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade
10:00am–12:00pm; Historic Downtown. Free parking for the parade is available in the parking garage on the corner of Prince William St. and Main St. There is also timed parking available on the street. Handicapped parking is available in the BB&T parking lot located on Center Street and the 7-11 parking lot located at the corner of Grant and Center Street. Free admission. Rain or shine. Visit gmchristmasparade.org for details, including parade route.
3 Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Ida Lee Recreation Center
9:00am-4:00pm and December 4th, 10:00am-4:00pm; No big-box shopping here! This show features over 90 local and regional artisans selling hand-made items including candles, stained glass, carved wood, jewelry, leather products, table linens, and much more. Find something for everyone on your shopping list and a little something to brighten your home this season. Admission and parking for this show are free.
4 Herndon Holiday Arts and Crafts Show
10:00am-4:00pm; Herndon Community Center. Over 80 artisans and craftspeople will exhibit and sell their work at this annual arts and crafts show sponsored by the Town of Herndon Department of Parks and Recreation. A variety of handcrafted items and fine art will be on sale including wreaths, quilts, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, decorations, original artwork, photography, stained glass, and more. 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon, VA. Free admission and parking. Additional parking at the Herndon Centennial Golf Course.
10 Annual Leesburg Christmas and Holiday Parade
6:00pm; On the second Saturday of December, the holiday spirit will be in full swing as Leesburg hosts the annual holiday parade starting at 6pm. The parade will usher Santa and his friends down King Street, through Historic Leesburg. The parade will begin at Ida Lee Drive and end at Fairfax Street. Parade participation is open to the public, including businesses, civic groups, teams, organizations, and community groups. For more information, call 703.777.1368 or visit downtownleesburgva.com.