Christmas Tree Lighting Guide 2023

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Christmas is upon us, bringing back a lot of our favorite events are back on the schedule. It’s time to take out our calendars and fill them with the best of our family’s favorite events. Nothing says Christmas time like a nice tree lighting event. We have been building this tree lighting list over the years for DC Area Moms and it’s extremely exciting to see it grow more robust as the events become more popular. So let’s kick off the holiday season with carols, Santa, and a lot of Christmas fun.

christmas tree lighting

Tree lightings in Washington, DC

National Christmas Tree
The 2023 ceremony and holiday performances will be broadcast on December 15th on CBS. The National Christmas Tree lighting will take place on November 30th and the site will be open to the public on December 2nd. 

US Capitol Christmas Tree
TBA
The Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree,” is a tradition dating back to 1964. Every holiday season, a different national forest is selected to provide a tree for the west lawn of the US Capitol building. This year’s tree comes from the National Forests in North Carolina.

You can track the Capitol Christmas tree as it makes it’s way to the Capitol here

Union Station
Thursday, December 7th at 6:00 pm
This beloved holiday event kicks off the Christmas season with festive music, special guests, and, of course, the lighting of the magnificent Norwegian Christmas Tree.

Cathedral Commons 
Friday, December 1st
6:00-8:00 pm
Enjoy free photos with Santa (dogs & cats, too), holiday performers, live music & more as you stroll through our decorated community square.

City Center DC 
Saturday, November 25
5:00- 7:00 pm
Kick off the holiday season and celebrate 10 years of CityCenterDC. Enjoy a night out in the city with activities for the little one, including face painting and balloon art, to kick off the holiday season.

Fairmont’s 20th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Tuesday, December 5th
5:30– 7:00 pm
Decorate holiday cards while you listen to the Georgetown Visitation Madrigals perform holiday classics. Don’t forget to dress up for a picture with Santa. Fairmont’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, free and open to the public, will benefit Horton’s Kids. There is no charge to attend all family Fairmont’s Tree Lighting.

City Market at O Holiday Tree Lighting
Saturday, November 25
4:00– 7:00 pm
Enjoy photos with Santa, live music, s’mores + hot cocoa, and more!. The special tree lighting is happening at 6:30pm.

Capitol Hill Christmas Tree Lighting
Saturday, November 18
5:30 pm
In 2007, the BID planted a 20-foot evergreen tree (species Cedrus deodara) in the large circle garden at Eastern Market Metro Plaza to honor our founding President George Didden III. The tree is beautifully decorated by the BID’s “men in blue” every December, and illuminated in front of the Capitol Hill community to kick off the holiday season.

City Ridge Tree Lighting Festival
Saturday, December 2
4:00– 8:00 pm
City Ridge is celebrating its first holiday season by hosting fun, FREE seasonal activities all evening long for guests of all ages. The celebration will culminate in a tree lighting ceremony featuring a performance and sing-along with the Children’s Chorus of Washington.

Rhode Island Row Holiday Tree Lighting
Saturday, December 2
5:00– 7:00 pm
The Holiday Tree Lighting and WPGC Coat Drive is back at Rhode Island Row on Saturday, December 3rd! The tree lighting is at 6 PM.

Columbia Heights Tree Lighting
Friday, December 8
4:00– 8:00 pm
Tiny Timber is BACK … and bigger, much much bigger, than last year. The Columbia Heights Tree Lighting is a beloved annual tradition that brings out hundreds of neighbors to mingle and celebrate the season. Keep checking back to see who’s vending and performing at this event. Live music, tree lighting, and family-friendly programming: 5-7pm

Capitol Riverfront Holiday Tree Lighting
Friday, December 1
5:00– 8:00 pm
Enjoy caroling, skating with Santa and a Santa photo booth, a special visit from Holiday Minions.

Tree Lightings in Virginia

Stone Bridge Potomac Town Center 
Friday, December 1st
6:30- 9:30 pm
This Annual Tree Lighting will take place on Friday, December 1st from 6:30pm – 9:30pm! Entertainment & activities for the whole family including selfies with Santa, face painting, balloon art & crafts as well as Holiday Carolers, Those Funny Little People & More!

Stafford County Tree Lighting
Friday, December 1st
6:00- 9:00 pm
The magic of the evening will include  holiday musical performances, artisans and crafters, family-friendly activities, food vendors and Santa.

The Village at Shirlington
Thursday, November 30th
6:00- 8:30 pm
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Village At Shirlington! Tree lighting celebration will nave at 6:30 pm. Come ready for a picture with Santa.

City of Fairfax
Saturday, December 2nd
12:00- 6:00 pm
Head to Old Town Square for holiday music, stores, and cider, followed by the tree-lighting ceremony at 5:30 pm.

The Village at Leesburg 
Saturday, November 18
4:00– 7:00 pm
This is a family-friendly event with entertainment from local performance groups, carolers, cookie decorating with The Conche, ice skating, and much more. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be onsite, and they cannot wait to snap a photo with you!

Reston Town Center 
Friday, November 24
6:00 pm
Reston Town Center launches the season with the annual Reston Holiday Parade celebrating its 32nd year! 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 1992, rain or shine, the parade has been an annual tradition on the day after Thanksgiving.  After the parade, the Clauses will return for the Tree Lighting at 6PM on Market Street.

Mosaic District
Friday, November 24
6:00–9:00 pm
Bring your family and friends to experience the Jolly Man as he spreads holiday cheer and makes his way through Mosaic on a firetruck and greets onlookers. Visitors can also meet and greet Santa in the Target lobby after the tree lighting. Live entertainment from 6:00 – 9:00pm. Holiday parade from 6:30-6:45. Tree Lighting at 7:15pm.

Mount Vernon
December 15-16
5:30 – 8:30 pm
Fireworks, the Potomac River, and a history lesson. Tickets start at $58 for adults and $36 for kids under 12.

Historic Manassas
Friday, December 1
5:15–7:00 pm
Join Santa as he lights up the Manassas Christmas Tree, a more than 25-year tradition. The event includes holiday music performances and a special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Tree Lightings in Maryland

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting & Color Burst Ice Rink Opening 2023
Friday, November 17
5:30-8:30 pm
Holiday Tree Lighting and Ice Rink opening at 5:30 pm at Color Burst Park. Bring your family and friends to ring in the holiday cheer as we light up the Merriweather District.

Rio Lakefront
Saturday, December 9
4:00-7:00 pm
Take the family to have some holiday fun on the Lakefront with activities along the Boardwalk and enjoy a Dazzling Fireworks show over the lake!

Montgomery Village
Wednesday, November 29
6:00-7:00 pm
Meet Santa and sing along to some holiday carols at Montgomery Village. Bring the family to enjoy festive music, and an opportunity to sing along with classic carols. There will also be complimentary hot chocolate and treats to help celebrate. The tree is located adjacent to the Village Center on Montgomery Village Avenue.

City of Gaithersburg
Saturday, December 2
6:00- 8:00 pm
Celebrate diverse & vibrant holiday traditions at Gaithersburg’s Jingle Jubilee. Enjoy an evening of music, dance & song. Enjoy an evening of music, dance, and song. This year marks the 97th anniversary of the tree lighting ceremony. The festivities take place at the Concert Pavilion in Olde Towne. Admission is free. 

City of Hyattsville
Friday, December 1
7:00 pm
Bring the family to Driskell Park, 3911 Hamilton Street, on Friday, December 2, at 7 p.m., to help us light the City’s holiday tree. In addition to the traditional tree, five additional mini trees will be decorated around the garden circle to represent each of the City’s Wards. Hot chocolate, carolers, and a visit from Santa will be included.

Kensington Christmas Tree Lighting
Friday, December 1
6:30-7:30 pm
Join the Town of Kensington and the KTown Ladies on Friday December 1, 2023 from 6:30 to 7:30 for hot beverages, s’mores by the fire pits, music and merriment! Lighting will take place at 6:45 pm. RSVP here

If we missed any Christmas Tree lighting events, please leave them in the comments below. Thank you!

christmas tree lighting

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Tatiana was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the United States at age 15. She moved from Houston to DC in 2007 to work for an international organization. She met her husband at work and married in 2011. She has two children: Santiago (2013) and Antonio (2015) and a Masters degree in Conflict Resoliution. After the birth of her second child, she decided to take time off to stay home and focus on the kids. She is passionate about nutrition, self-led weaning and homemade food. The Story of My Table is her Instagram account and blog where she shares her adventures in the kitchen. She strongly believes that a wine a day keeps the doctor away and that the key to parenting two boys is to keep in good shape. She is not a fan of baking, but would occasionally do it to avoid highly processed food. She is an advocate for natural foods, Montessori education and allowing children to get bored. One day she dreams of building an organization where she can combine her passion for food with peacebuilding.

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