December first and I’m just as shocked as you are by how quickly it got here.
However, as I was sunning myself on foreign beaches last December, quaffing numerous rum punches, and feeling a bit confused by having them handed to me by Santa-clad Rastafarians in flip-flops, I intend to embrace the cold, the brown, the windy and the thoroughly Mid-Atlantic this year and enjoy a month of merrymaking with less in the way of punch and more in the way of ‘hot buttered.’
So it’s time to pull out the party invite and Christmas card lists, figure out how many crackers to buy for the table and find some fun gifts to delight both my gardening and non-gardening friends and family. It’s also time to fill the calendar with just enough in the way of holiday events to keep us all feeling festive without losing our minds in the process. That can be challenging, but I do think it’s possible.
To help you with both, I’ve compiled a list of great gift ideas AND local and semi-local events that I’m super excited to attend this year.
Because I’m a country mouse living in the DC Metro area, my must-dos and must-gives will be different than those of my city cousins who dwell in lands where mythical stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods exist. So when you’ve finished with my picks, check out a few of the links at the bottom – especially pegplant.com where horticulturist Peggy Ricco tirelessly scouts for garden related monthly events & workshops in the DC Metro area.
HOLIDAY EVENT IDEAS
Handel’s Messiah at The National Cathedral, Washington DC
Move quickly on this one! It’s only for one weekend – December 1,2 and 3rd. Admission.
“Celebrate the Christmas season and the birth of the Prince of Peace with Handel’s Messiah, performed in a space like Handel would have imagined.
With a period Baroque orchestra and a world-class team of soloists, Messiah unveils the story of Christianity in a way few artists have been able to capture. The Cathedral’s soaring architecture reflects the majesty of the music.”
Candlelight Historic House Tour, Frederick, MD
Another one very early in the month – Dec 2 and 3rd, 5-9pm and Noon to 4pm. Admission.
“This self-guided walking tour takes visitors inside private homes elaborately adorned with holiday decor throughout Historic Frederick. Visitors are delighted year after year with the architectural nuances, decorations and historical significance of these magnificent homes.”
40th Annual Festival of Lights at the DC Mormon Temple, Washington, DC
Now thru December 31st. Dusk – 10pm. Free.
“The Festival of Lights is one of the D.C. area’s great community traditions. Beginning November 30th, the Festival features free performances nightly in the comfortable, state-of-the-art theater located in the Visitors’ Center.
A different performing artist or group is showcased each night, including bell ensembles, choirs, orchestras, and more! Each performance is presented twice nightly.”
Brookside Garden of Lights Wheaton, MD
Sunday – Thursday: 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. Friday – Saturday: 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. Admission.
“Step into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than one million dazzling colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, sparkling fountains, and whimsical winter scenes. The Garden of Lights celebrates its 19th season as a Baltimore/Washington, DC area family holiday tradition.
The night wouldn’t be complete without a visit inside the Conservatory to enjoy watching G-Scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape. Afterward, warm up inside the Visitors Center while you sip hot cocoa and listen to one of the nightly musical performances.”
A Longwood Christmas , Kennett Square, PA
Now–January 7, 2018 Timed admission tickets required.
“Our exquisite Conservatory is reminiscent of the splendor of France’s Versailles with fanciful topiaries, imaginative wreaths, ornate mirrors, and more than 50 trees trimmed in classic holiday hues and sparkling crystal ornaments. Thousands of floating cranberries, apples, and gilded walnuts create an intricate mosaic in the grand tradition of a French parterre garden. Outside, colorful fountains dance to holiday music, strolling carolers herald the season with song, and a wonderland of a half-million twinkling lights await.”
Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park, –Gaithersburg, MD
Tues-Sun 6-10pm. Admission fee.
“See more than 350 illuminated displays and along a 3.5-mile drive through the park. Driving through the enchanted forest setting, you will experience an array of displays that light up the night. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole and much more. Winter Lights benefits local charities such as Andy’s Safe Haven, Asbury Methodist Village in support of Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative, Baby’s Bounty MC, Inc., Friends of Wells/Robertson House, Inc., Gaithersburg Community Soup Kitchen, and Pain Connection – Chronic Pain Outreach Center, Inc.”
DC Holiday Mart Downtown Washington, DC
Now – December 23, Noon-8pm. Free.
“Celebrating its thirteenth year, this event boasts one of the most spectacular outdoor shopping environments in the region…