A Capital Christmas
The Willard sees thousands of visitors during the holidays each year. Indeed, a stop at this grand historic hotel has become part of the tradition for residents and visitors alike who come to see D.C. adorned in the season's finery.
left: Let your sense of humor show, suggests Senior Photographer Van Chaplin.
left: General Electric designs the lights for the National Christmas Tree.
No holiday celebration is complete without a performance of The Nutcracker. The Washington Ballet's version is set in Victorian-era Georgetown, giving the tale a uniquely American twist. This production runs December 7-23 at the Warner Theatre. For a truly modern take on the classic, catch the Momentum Dance Theatre's Jazz Hip-Hop Nutcracker on the weekends of December 9 and 16.
left: Choir performances at the Kennedy Center set the tone for the holidays.
For distinctively D.C. gift ideas, visit the shops at the many museums. The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian boasts two shops, with gifts ranging from Pendleton wool blankets to exquisite handmade turquoise jewelry. At the International Spy Museum, you'll find loads of gadgets for your resident sleuth, while the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery features Joto kimono purses, Ikibana bonsai shears, and Cambodian silks.
Head next to beautiful Georgetown, where exclusive boutiques, antiques stores, and furniture showrooms line the cobblestone streets. More than 500 businesses are located within a five-block radius of the intersection of M Street NW. and Wisconsin Avenue. Serious shoppers also make the trek to Tysons Corner, Virginia, 14 miles west of downtown. The area's three shopping mallsTysons Corner Center, Tysons Galleria, and Shops at Fairfax Squarecontain more than 400 stores.
Members of the Flower Guild plan months in advance to produce the massive Christmas displays that grace the altars, pulpit, and lectern. They use mounds of amaryllis, dried hydrangeas, roses, kissing balls, wreaths, fruit, and greenery of every description, as well as more than 500 pots of poinsettias to deck the halls. Every single leaf is natural.
For a complete list of holiday events, contact the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation, 901 Seventh Street NW., Fourth Floor, Washington, DC 20001; www.washington.org or (202) 789-7000.