The DC Holiday Guide to Dance, Music, and Theater

Christmas Edition! | One Season | Seven Selected Performances

I. The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker

To feel nostalgic

Photo credit: The Washington Ballet by media4artists, Theo Kossenas

The Washington Ballet | Thursday, November 30 –Sunday, December 24 | $39-150+

The Nutcracker is an easy one — the title gives it away,” wrote illustrious dance critic Edwin Denby, as he claimed that the appeal of this beloved Christmas dance arises from the unconscious sexual symbolism and satisfaction. Critical perspectives aside, the Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker invites you into the dream world of Clara of the magic of Christmas.

II. Handel’s Messiah with DC Strings

To find space for both the longing of Advent and the joy of Christmas

DC Strings Choir and Workshop (DCSW) | Friday, December 8 | $18 (includes sparkling wine!)

Messiah is the performance to see if the jolliness of Christmas feels like too much this year. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God,” are the mellifluous lines that open this musical narrative of longing and sorrows and pain, starlight and answers and rest.

III. Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season

To get in the spirit

Photo credit: Stan Engebretson

American Festival Pops Orchestra | Saturday, December 9 | $33-55

A cheerful, family friendly holiday show. Attend Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season to hear favorite Christmas carols and tunes performed by a professional orchestra and be prepared to sing along.

IV. NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas

To reinvigorate your perspective on Christmas

Saturday, December 9| Kennedy Center| $55

Four acclaimed jazz pianists offer revitalized holiday favorites like sparklers at a candlelight service. NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas often sells out, so buy your tickets soon or stream online.

V. The Hip Hop Nutcracker

To shock your mom

With Special Guest MC Kurtis Blow | Tuesday, December 12­–Wednesday, December 13| $28-58

The traditional Tchaikovsky music you remember plus the modern choreography you don’t. The Hip Hop Nutcracker reimagines the traditional Nutcracker on the streets of today’s New York City, complete with break dancing and an electric violin.

VI. Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna

To feel simultaneously awed and behind in life

Photo credit: Mondavi Center

Vienna Boys Choir | Sunday, December 17 |$33-55

A choral ensemble of phenomenal young boys with baby voices perform carols, hymns, and holiday hits in Christmas in Vienna.

VII. A Christmas Carol

To “remember the reason” when you’re just sick of the holiday hustle

Olney Theatre Center | Friday, November 24 –Sunday, December 24| $45-80

A solo performance of a classic holiday tale. Paul Morella’s critically acclaimed A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas takes you back to Victorian England for another look at the scenes of Christmases past.