Holiday Countdown

(Illustration by Maria Rendon)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 4, 2009

Advent calendars have been used to mark the coming of Christmas since the mid-18th century. The tradition reportedly began in Germany, where families recorded the days leading up to the holiday with chalk.

Since then, advent calendars have become more elaborate. Last year, an Obama-themed advent calendar featured Oprah Winfrey as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jesse Jackson as a nutcracker and John Edwards as a red-faced reindeer.

We decided to use a more traditional advent calendar this year. But instead of finding poems or chocolate behind each window, there are concerts, light displays, festivals, activities for kids, stage productions, "Nutcrackers" and "Messiahs," as well as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa events and ways to ring in 2010.

And just as a child waits with eager anticipation for the chance to open a flap each day on the calendar, we hope you'll approach the holidays with the same childlike joy as you go in search of holiday events.

For more holiday planning, you can always find seasonal cheer at

May your holiday season be merry and bright and filled with fun.

Events for kids

Light displays


Kwanzaa events

Handel's 'Messiah'

Hanukkah events

Festivals and More


On Stage

Tours and Open Houses

New Year's Eve

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