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Six holiday movie events to put on your calendar

From Hallmark movies to horror, there’s a holiday screening to suit every taste

The art house Suns Cinema screens a different kind of holiday movie this season, with murderous Santas and seasonal rampages. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

When it’s time to choose holiday entertainment, many people default to familiar carols or theater — that’s why the calendar is full of them. But sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a seasonal movie. We’re not suggesting you just zone out in front of a screen, though: These events include interactive date nights as well as family activities.

Hallmark Movie Sew Days at Three Little Birds: While it’s fun to get lost in the familiar plot of a holiday movie — oh, look, a busy big-city business executive has to return to her tiny hometown and save a beloved inn/bakery/tree farm — those storylines also make excellent background noise while working on other activities. Three Little Birds, a sewing studio in Hyattsville, knows and appreciates this. The Hallmark Movie Sew Days allow anyone to use the shop’s sewing machines, cutting tables and tools for a three-hour block while watching Hallmark movies and sipping hot cocoa. Bring a personal project or pick up a new embroidery piece at the store. Friday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. $20.

Holiday Movie Pajama Party at the Boro: This family-friendly screening at the Showplace Icon Theatre in Tysons has a bonus for frazzled parents: no need to convince the kids to change out of their pajamas! Tickets include a choice of three films at the high-end theater — “Arthur Christmas,” “The Polar Express” or “Elf” — and a small popcorn and apple juice, followed by an after-party in the lobby with music, crafts and a photo booth. Saturday. Films begin at 9:45, 10 and 10:15 a.m. $8.

‘Elf’ Movie Parties at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear — or going to one of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s interactive screenings of “Elf,” where the audience members don elf hats and jingle bells, recite favorite lines with the characters, and join in a chorus of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Screenings take place at both the Bryant Street NE and Crystal City locations. Saturday through Monday. Times vary by location. $16-$17.

Christmas horror films at Suns Cinema: Feel-good movies are a staple at this time of year, but some of us will happily trade saccharine sweetness for blood and gore. Mount Pleasant art house Suns Cinema has some unusual presents lurking among “Gremlins” and “Die Hard,” including the cult French film “Dial Code Santa Claus” (think “Home Alone” with a kid fighting off a murderous Saint Nick); the self-explanatory “Silent Night, Deadly Night”; and “Don’t Open Till Christmas,” a 1984 slasher film marketed with the tag line “’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring — they were all dead!” Various dates and times. $12.

‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’ at the Kennedy Center: Thirty years after its theatrical release, “A Muppet Christmas Carol” is still a family favorite. English actor Michael Caine, better known for playing spies and gangsters, plays a not-quite-cruel Scrooge in this musical version, while Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit and Gonzo portrays Charles Dickens, the narrator, accompanied by Rizzo the Rat. The screening takes place in the Justice Forum auditorium at the Reach, and while the Kennedy Center’s website says advance tickets are sold out, same-day tickets will be available at the Hall of States Box Office. Sunday at 3 p.m. Free.

Spoons, Toons and Booze Christmas Special at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse: Charlie Brown and the Grinch get all the love at this time of year, but back in the 1980s and 1990s, it seemed like every Saturday morning cartoon franchise had a Very Special Holiday Episode, from He-Man and the Smurfs to the X-Men and Robotech. The annual Spoons, Toons and Booze screening brings them all together for a morning of classic cartoons, plus an all-you-can-eat “sugary cereal bar,” cereal-inspired cocktails, an ugly sweater competition and more holiday fun. Dec. 17 and 18 at noon. $15.