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Holiday Cheer Fills the D.C. Air

It’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the best times of the year. The air is filled with joy, love, and happiness. As a college student away from home for the beginning of the holiday season, you might not feel the holiday spirit. However, there are many festive things to do with friends and loved ones in D.C. this year.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

1. Zoolights at the National Zoo

The Zoolights light display at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo illuminates the zoo with more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LEDs, light installations, music, and much more. The National Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland filled with glowing animal lanterns and even an interactive art exhibit. The display runs from Nov. 29 to Jan. 1. 

2. Wander the Downtown Holiday Market

Celebrating its 15th year, you’ll find many of your holiday shopping needs at the Downtown Holiday Market located at 8th and F Streets NW. With more than 60 exhibitors per day, you can find festive snacks, crafters and vendors, and holiday performances. The market gives downtown D.C. a unique experience from Nov. 22 to Dec. 23 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

3. The National Christmas Tree

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

You can visit the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse from Dec. 9 to Jan. 1. The tree is surrounded by many trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 U.S. states and territories. You can even catch free music and dance performances on the Ellipse stage. The display is open to visit for free from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but the tree is lit from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony takes place on Dec. 5 this year. 

Hanna Katulski, a sophomore double majoring in art history and government and politics, is going to see the tree this year with her family since they go every year. 

“I love going every year since it’s a nice tradition that my family has,” Katulski said.

4. Georgetown GLOW

Georgetown GLOW’s illuminated artwork will definitely light up your life during the holidays. Local and international artists display artwork using light in outdoor spaces along with some interactive pieces in the Georgetown area. This unique display will be all over the historic neighborhood from Dec. 6 to Jan. 5.

5. National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The National Hanukkah Menorah is the largest public menorah in the world. The Grand Lighting Ceremony is on Dec. 22 at 4 p.m. Located on the White House Ellipse, the ceremony will also include musical performances, hot latkes, free dreidels, and menorah kits. 

6. Watch the Water Skiing Santa

Ever wanted to see Santa Claus water skiing? For its 34th year this Christmas Eve, there is an event featuring Santa Claus gliding across the water with elves, a Grinch riding a jet ski, Frosty the snowman, and many more Christmas characters. This show featuring Santa and his Christmas crew can be seen on the Potomac River for free at 1 p.m. A sing-along and holiday treats on either side of the river will be available to people attending.  

Although you might be away from home during the start of the holiday season, that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the holiday cheer somewhere else. The holidays are a time to spend making memories with the people you love and spreading joy to others.

Nicole D'Costa

Maryland '22

I am a sophomore journalism major at UMD!
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