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December 2012 in Washington, D.C.


The holidays in Washington are something special. From the National Christmas Tree to ice sculptures made from 2 million pounds of ice.

The National Museum of the American Indian is launching a month-long film series in December on “Lincoln’s Indian Legacy." Two documentary films exploring President Lincoln’s policies toward Native American communities will screen daily (except Wednesdays) in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater. The Canes of Power will show at 12:30 PM and Dakota 38 will show at 3:30 PM. The programs are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington on Dec. 7, 2012 are officially sold out. But the lighting ceremony and concert, which can be viewed on TV, kicks off three weeks of celebrations. EAch night musical groups, mostly from the Washington, D.C. area, provide entertainment at President’s Park, where the National Christmas Tree sits. Click here to see the National Parks’ music schedule. Santa’s Workshop also sets up shop there from Dec. 8, 2012 to Dec. 24, 2012. Visitors are welcome Monday to Thursday from 4 PM to 6:30 PM and 7 PM to 9:30 PM; Friday to Sunday from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM and 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM; and Christmas Eve from 11 AM to 3 PM. The Christmas Pathway of Peace is also on display with 56 trees, one for every state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Ornaments designed by ordinary Americans are hung on the trees. President’s Park is in front of the White House at 1100 Ohio Drive, SW, Washington.

The National Zoo will hold its ZooLights exhibit all through December 2012 with viewings from 5 PM to 9 PM. ZooLights this year is brighter than ever with more than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights. The exhibit includes lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays, and a new garden scene light sculplture. Admission is free and parking is $9 for members and $16 for non-members. The exhibit is open Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 14-23, 26-30, and Jan. 1, 2013. Click here for more information.

The Anacostia Community Museum is organizing a Kwanzaa: A Musical Celebration Dec. 28, 2012 at 10 AM. The free event, which includes Melvin Deal and the African Heritage Drummers & Dancers, will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church at 1600 Morris Road, SE, Washington. Melvin Deal is created with performing the first Kwanzaa ceremony and celebration in the Washington area in 1968 and is known as the father of local African culture. Call 202-633-4844 to make reservations.

See 2 million pounds of ice transformed into colorful sculptures and 20-foot ice slides with DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls as the theme at the Gaylord National Hotel. The attraction features characters like Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Gingy, and Puss in Boots and a story about Shrek trying to plan the perfect Christmas for Fiona and the kids. The event is open daily through January 6, 2013, including holidays. Adult tickets range from $22.99 to $29.99; seniors over 65 are $18.99 to $25.99; kids ages 4-12 are $15.99 to $22.99; and kids ages 0-3 are free. Parking is $10. Click here for more information.

The National Arboretum will hold several Full Moon Hikes. The four-mile, two-hour guided hikes go through moonlit gardens, meadows, and woods. The arboretum recommends good walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. The $22 hikes are for ages 16 and up and restrict pets. They take place Dec. 27, 28, and 29, 2012 from 7 PM to 9 PM. Registration is required.

The U.S. Botanic Garden has musical events every Tuesday and Thursday nights in December. The entertainment is free and runs from 6 PM to 8 PM in the Conservatory Garden Court. No pre-registration is required. See the calendar for a listing of performers.

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