There are two ways to guarantee Christmas cheer: one is singing loud for all to hear; the other is Christmas tree lights. And after last year’s lackluster holiday season, we definitely need all of the holiday joy we can get. If you’re looking to brighten up your mood this season, plan a trip to these tree lighting ceremonies.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on November 22, 2021.
November 22 to December 31
Head over the bridge and into Maryland, technically, for the National Harbor’s nightly light show. Every night through the holiday season, the 54-foot tree will amaze with its must-see light show, which includes two million bulbs. National Harbor: 165 Waterfront St., National Harbor
November 26, 6 to 8 p.m.
Enter NoVA’s very own winter wonderland with a trip down to Woodbridge. In addition to the annual tree lighting ceremony, families can enjoy carriage rides, face painting, ice carving, and more. 15201 Potomac Town Pl., Woodbridge
November 26, 7 to 9 p.m.
After a day full of shopping, ring in the start of the holiday season at Mosaic District. Line the streets of the shopping district to catch a glimpse of jolly Kris Kringle as he makes his way down the street on a fire truck. After the tree lights shine bright, enjoy a special screening of Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Strawberry Park: 2910 District Ave., Fairfax
November 29, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Grab a thermos full of hot chocolate and make your way down Church Street for Vienna’s tree lighting. Before the town flips the switch on the lights, enjoy live holiday music and a message from Mayor Linda Colbert. Historic Church Street, Vienna
December 3, 5:15 to 10 p.m.
Santa is stopping by Manassas to start the holiday season. The night kicks off with a Christmas parade through the town as everyone welcomes Santa and Mrs. Claus after their long trip from the North Pole. Once St. Nick illuminates the tree, the two will meet with children to gather their holiday wishes before heading back to the workshop. Historic Downtown Manassas: 9201 Center St., Manassas
December 3, 6 p.m.
Join the community of Leesburg for its annual ceremony on the Town Green. Sing carols and watch local performances before the tree is lit for the holiday season. After you see the tree lighting, mosey on downtown to see some of the city’s beautiful holiday displays. Town Green: 25 W. Market St., Leesburg
Join Mayor Carter Neville as he kicks off the holidays in Warrenton. Arrive early to grab a close spot on the parade route for the best view of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. To top off the magical night, bright fireworks will light up the night sky to signal the start of the Christmas season. Main St., Warrenton
December 3, 6:30 p.m.
The annual tree lighting marks the start of Christmas in Purcellville. After the initial weekend of festivities, the town will also be hosting a parade, holiday market, and pictures with Santa leading up to Christmas. Town Hall: 221 S. Nursery Ave., Purcellville
December 4, 5-7 p.m.
One Loudoun’s biggest holiday event is finally here. Gather on the plaza for the tree lighting, then take part in the additional festivities, which includes train rides, holiday music, and Santa photos. One Loudoun: 20626 Easthampton Plz., Ashburn
December 5, 6 p.m.
Del Ray’s holiday season officially begins with its annual holiday lighting ceremonies. Spread Christmas cheer throughout the community with carols before hitting the neighborhood stores to shop local this season. Pat Miller Square: Mount Vernon Ave. and E. Oxford Ave., Alexandria
December 5, 8:30 p.m.
The most famous Christmas tree in the country is getting ready to light up the White House. The 99th annual lighting and holiday performances, which include Patti LaBelle, Chris Stapleton, Kristin Chenoweth, and more, will be available to watch on CBS. Those wanting to head to the President’s Park to see the National Tree and the 56 trees that represent the states, territories, and the district in person can visit starting December 4.
December 9, 5 p.m.
Rosslyn’s in-person and virtual ceremony is bringing together the community for the holidays with music, raffle prizes, and its spectacular tree. The celebration will also feature tasty holiday drinks at the Open Road onsite beer, wine, and spiked hot cider bar. Central Place Plaza: 1800 N. Lynn St., Arlington
For more holiday fun, subscribe to our Things to Do newsletter.