Monday, Dec. 24
Water-skiing Santa at Waterfront Park: You’ll have to brave the cold for Washington’s strangest local holiday tradition, but it’s worth it to see Santa Claus water-skiing on the Potomac River. For more than three decades, a group of anonymous Kris Kringles have taken to the water on Christmas Eve, and their 30-minute act has grown to involve props, elves and other surprises. Once Saint Nick gets back to dry land, he’ll be taking pictures with any and all until 2 p.m., when he sets off on his sleigh. 1 p.m. Free.
Light Yards at Yards Park: For its fourth year, Light Yards is back with two eye-catching and photo-friendly installations. “The Pool,” by New York-based Jen Lewin Studio, feels like an oversize arcade dance game, in which you hop around circular leaping pads and watch how the glowing steps react to the movement. Pose in front of “Angels of Freedom,” by Israel-based OGE Group, which features life-size angel wings and a fluorescent halo. Through Jan. 4. Free.
Tuesday, Dec. 25
All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam at the Kennedy Center: The 20th edition of the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam on the Millennium Stage features vibraphonist Chuck Redd, vocalist Delores King Williams and a team of local musicians swinging and singing their way through a mix of standards and holiday tunes, beginning at 6 p.m. The Watergate’s Kingbird restaurant, located next to the Kennedy Center, is offering a la carte meals in addition to prix fixe brunch and dinner. 6 p.m. Free.
“Season’s Greenings” at the U.S. Botanic Garden: The Smithsonian might be closed on Christmas, but at least one building on the Mall will leave its lights on: The U.S. Botanic Garden, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual “Season’s Greenings” holiday display features American train stations made from plant materials, including Washington’s Union Station and New York’s Grand Central Terminal. After you’ve had your fill of trains — and visited the humid orchid room to warm up — head across Capitol Hill to Cafe Berlin, a German restaurant offering a hearty three-course, $55 dinner with seatings at 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
JV’s Christmas Holiday Bash: “Ageless Charm Without Yuppie Bastardization” is the motto at JV’s, a Falls Church roadhouse open since 1947. Doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner — the menu leans toward meatloaf, chili mac and country-fried steak — and local soul favorites Jimi Smooth & HitTime take the stage at 8:30 for a set heavy on Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. 5 p.m. $10.
Wednesday, Dec. 26
Cheers for Charity at Lost Dog Cafe Alexandria: Local eatery Lost Dog Cafe has always been a safe bet for eaters of all stripes with its large menu featuring good pizza, but the area’s beer community knows to come for what’s on tap. Wednesday is the last night of the Alexandria location’s partnership with Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company, which is pouring some limited release brews. Keep an eye out for the 2018 edition of St. Klippenstein, a Belgian-style stout that tastes like dark chocolate and spends three months aging in bourbon barrels. A dollar from every Allagash beer sold benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Alexandria. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free; food and drink prices vary.
Tea & Tarot at Epicure Cafe: As the year ends, many people take this time for self-reflection to look to the past, present and future in an effort to learn and better themselves. This Fairfax cafe wants to add a little mysticism into that equation by seeing what’s in the cards for 2019. This event is open to seasoned tarot card enthusiasts and novices alike, and you can come get your cards read for 10 to 20 minutes — or give a reading yourself — while sipping on some tea from D.C.’s Teaism. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Free.
Thursday, Dec. 27
Margo Price at the 9:30 Club: Margo Price pays homage to time-honored country traditions on “All American Made,” but the Nashville star isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo in the process. The album can be doleful, even downright bleak in moments, but Price earnestly tackles some of the social issues that plague American life today. She sings with conviction and candor as she touches on wage disparities between women and men on “Pay Gap.” On the title track, one of the record’s most beautiful and heart-wrenching songs, Price reflects on systematic socioeconomic barriers set by greedy politicians against the working class. “All American Made” is a soulful and veracious snapshot of the times we’re living in. 7 p.m. $25.
Holiday Jazz at the St. Regis Hotel: Santa may have come and gone, but the holiday spirit is alive and well at the St. Regis Hotel. Pianist Christopher Linman plays classic jazz tunes in the hotel’s lounge while bartenders serve classic cocktails to couples relaxing by the fireplace. Children are greeted with cookies and hot cocoa. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Free; Drinks priced individually.
Friday, Dec. 28
Sulfuric Cautery at Atlas Brew Works: As we drift through the declension of the holiday season, perhaps you’re still searching for a song to evict “Winter Wonderland” from the forefront of your consciousness. Allow me to recommend “Excruciatingly Gradual Draining of Fluids” by Sulfuric Cautery, a grindcore outfit from Ohio with two dyspeptic vocalists and a drummer who pummels so expeditiously, the band often sounds like it’s playing three different songs at once. You might have to see this music to believe it — and thanks to Atlas Brew Works, you can. 7 p.m. $10.
Step Afrika! at Atlas Performing Arts Center: Through the years, the dance company has performed at the White House, the Kennedy Center and Strathmore, as well as on national and international tours. Step Afrika! celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, and the company is ending this year with its annual “Step Afrika!’ s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show” which is a family-friendly — and interactive — show. The show starts before the show even starts — there’s a workshop in the lobby 30 to 45 minutes before curtain, where kids can build a holiday-themed drum or shaker that they can use during the performance, including in a final dance party in the middle of a snowfall. 7:30 p.m. $25-$45.
One Very Odd Show at Songbyrd: If you’ve ever wanted a small, one-night sampling of the thriving hip-hop scene in the District, head to Adams Morgan on Friday night. The show is headlined by 24-year-old Capitol Heights rapper Odd Mojo, whose silky whisper delivery has put her name on the map. But be sure to catch opener El Cousteau, who earned a spot on The Post’s pop music critic Chris Richards’ year-end list of best DMV rap albums of 2018 with “Straight Drop Season.” 8 p.m. $12.
— Hau Chu, Fritz Hahn, Elizabeth Hart, Kristen Page-Kirby, Chris Richards and Stephanie Williams