Raheem DeVaughn and Friends Annual Holiday Show at the Howard Theatre: As Avant, Jaheim, Case and other R&B crooners began to climb the pop charts in the early aughts, the District had its own star to boast of: Raheem DeVaughn. The Maryland native’s heady fusion of hip-hop and 1970s and 1980s soul proved to be a commercial success, with his first five albums peaking in the top 10 of the R&B charts. As he was conquering the music world, DeVaughn was simultaneously tackling issues at home through the LoveLife Foundation. His nonprofit, which focuses on a range of causes including HIV/AIDS awareness, domestic violence and arts education, puts on an annual holiday fundraiser featuring performances from DeVaughn along with a roster of surprise guests. 8 p.m. $35-$40.
Holiday Tap Takeover at ChurchKey: ChurchKey’s annual holiday fundraiser is one of the biggest nights of the season for fans of strong, spiced seasonal ales. Twenty-seven taps are turned over to a variety of American, Belgian and English winter beers, including 12 variations on Hardywood’s terrific Gingerbread Stout, such as Christmas Pancakes (aged in maple syrup barrels) and Kentucky Christmas Morning (aged in bourbon barrels with coffee). Bring a canned good for Martha’s Table and receive a free four-ounce sample of any beer. 4 p.m. Free admission.
‘Cirque Dreams Holidaze’ at the Theater at MGM National Harbor: Gingerbread men and sugar plum fairies soar through the air in “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” an annual touring production that dresses up aerialists and circus performers in elaborate holiday-themed costumes. This Yuletide circus will be in town for a run of family-friendly shows at the Theater at MGM National Harbor around Christmas. “Cirque Dreams” features musical numbers and stunts that will have kids enthralled, such as jump-roping reindeer, tightrope-walking Nutcrackers or balancing penguin acrobats. Through Dec. 23. $32.50-$99.
Feast of the Seven Fishes at Iron Gate: The Feast of the Seven Fishes is traditionally served on Christmas Eve, but you can partake of this Italian-American meal at the cozy Iron Gate restaurant through Monday. Chef Tony Chittum’s three-course menu reimagines the feast with oak-grilled swordfish steaks and Chesapeake rockfish fritters among the dishes. Make it a date, though: The menu is served family style with a two-person minimum. Through Monday. $75 per person.
Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at the Kennedy Center: Every year, the National Symphony Orchestra offers a different version of Handel’s beloved classic — alternating, generally, between the leaner forces of the historically informed performance movement and versions that feature the massed forces of a modern orchestra. British-born conductor Sir Andrew Davis’s arrangement inclines more to the latter than the former, adding instruments that weren’t within Handel’s compass, though stopping several sizes short of the bombast of some of his forebears. 8 p.m. (various times through Sunday). $15-$99.
Beautiful Swimmers at Wild Days: While a few of the homecoming holiday shows this weekend are already sold out, head to the rooftop — don’t worry, it’s covered — of downtown’s Eaton Hotel for a cocktail and a free set from one of the city’s finest DJ duos. Andrew Field-Pickering (who also spins as Max D, among other aliases) and Ari Goldman are also the brains behind the heady Future Times label, which has been the home for some of D.C.’s most exciting new acts including Sir E.U and Model Home. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. No cover charge.
Saturday, Dec. 21
The Longest Night of the Year at Port City Brewing Company: One of Virginia’s best breweries continues a tradition we can get behind: Take the longest night of the year, and turn it into an all-day-and-night party. Port City Brewing Company opens early at noon and keeps taps flowing until 11 p.m. to serve and sell a rare selection of brews, including barrel-aged versions of the Colossal beer series — an annual release that leans on stronger, maltier flavors suitable for the season. Accompanying all the beers are food trucks, a craft salsa pop-up, and live music starting at 6 p.m. Noon to 11 p.m. Free.
Rock-n-Shop at Black Cat: The Black Cat’s annual rock-and-roll garage sale is the perfect place to find a last-minute gift for the music fan in your life. Peruse the wares from record dealers, vintage T-shirt sellers and local crafters while the Punk Soul Sisters, Les the DJ, Sally Go Round and DJ Laura Lopez take turns spinning tunes. 4 p.m. Free.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ at National Theatre: Before the children nestle all snug in their beds while visions of sugar-plums dance in their heads, take them to a free show at National Theatre inspired by the famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” This play, geared toward kids ages 4 to 10, imagines the story behind Clement Moore’s verses, with appearances from Kriss Kringle and dancing mice. Part of “Saturday Morning Live! At The National” programming, free tickets for the two showings have been spoken for online but a few same-day, walk-up tickets also will be available. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Free.
Sunday, Dec. 22
National Menorah Lighting at the Ellipse: A D.C. tradition since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, the lighting of the National Menorah — traditionally by an administration official — is celebrated with Hanukkah music performed by the U.S. Marine Band and the Three Cantors, prayer, speeches and, afterward, free latkes and sufganiyot. Free tickets are required for admission. 4 p.m. Free.
‘Christmas in the Movies’ at AFI Silver Theatre: The AFI Silver Theatre has an extensive holiday program running from Dec. 6-23, but fans of seasonal cinema will want to save seats for Dec. 22, when historian Jeremy Arnold, author of Turner Classic Movies’ “Christmas in the Movies: 30 Classics to Celebrate the Season,” will be hosting book talks in conjunction with a free screening of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (4:30 p.m.) and ticketed screenings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1:50 p.m.) and “The Holly and the Ivy” (7 p.m.). Don’t miss the chance to ask Arnold whether the final film of the day — a 9:30 showing of “Die Hard” — should really be considered part of the Christmas canon. Times and ticket prices vary.
Latke pop-up at the Green Zone: The start of Hanukkah means the return of this now-annual tradition at one of D.C.’s best bars to open in recent years. The Middle Eastern-themed Green Zone will serve tasty fried latkes and other treats to ring in the holiday from 5 p.m. until supplies run out. No matter what you order, it’s sure to taste great with any of the Adams Morgan bar’s standout cocktails. 5 p.m. No cover charge.
Backyard Band at City Winery: The #DontMuteDC movement put a national spotlight on go-go’s ongoing battle for acceptance within an ever-changing Washington. It’s a fight that veteran groups, including Backyard Band, have been a part of for decades, long before the movement erupted earlier this year. Over the years, the band has taken creative strides to get go-go into the mainstream lexicon, namely by putting their own spin on such pop hits as Adele’s “Hello,” GoldLink’s “Crew” and Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky.” It has also established itself in venues around town that historically aren’t known for booking go-go bands on their stages. One of the few in town that does on a consistent basis, City Winery, welcomes Backyard Band for a spirited holiday show right before Christmas. 11:30 p.m. $30.
Holy Slizz 5 Holiday Party at U Street Music Hall: Slizzatrism isn’t a fad, it’s a mantra that Ethiopian-American rapper Ras Nebyu poetically describes as “the art of finessing good energy to work in one’s favor via pure intent, meditation and the acknowledgment of the ancestors.” And at U Street Music Hall, Nebyu and the Washington Slizzards bring those positive vibes to their annual holiday party, which is now going five years strong. Joining the stage with Nebyu are several stars in the world of R&B and hip-hop that include the soulful sounds of Alabama’s Mereba, the resilient rhymes of Prince George’s County native O-Slice, and the angelic trip-hop of New York-by-way-of-D.C. emcee Haile Supreme. 9 p.m. $15-$20.
— Hau Chu, Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin and Stephanie Williams