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The best things to do in the D.C. area the week of Dec. 8-14

The Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show has moved to Arena Stage this year, which means even more families will get to see one of the area’s most beloved holiday productions. (Jati Lindsay/Step Afrika!)

Thursday, Dec. 8

German Military Christmas Market at the German Military in Reston: Most people commuting along Sunrise Valley Drive through Reston probably don’t realize that one of the seemingly anonymous office parks there is home to the German armed forces command — except in December, when the German military hosts a Christmas market with German food and drink, music, vendors, and activities for children. All proceeds benefit the Friends of Reston and the German Service Relief Association. 4 to 9 p.m. $5-$10 (cash only).

A holiday-by-day guide to festive fun in D.C.

ChurchKey Holiday Soiree: For more than a decade, ChurchKey has held a holiday beer tasting that doubles as a fundraiser for local nonprofit Martha’s Table. This year, the event includes a dozen seasonal beers on tap, including Prairie’s Christmas Bomb imperial stout, 3 Floyds’ Alpha Klaus porter and Evil Twin’s Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room: Royal Suite Edition imperial stout. Bring a canned good to donate to Martha’s Table and trade it for a 4-ounce pour of any holiday beer priced at $5 or less. It’s a way to help others while enjoying a taste of something new. 4 p.m. Beer prices vary.

Toy drive and fundraiser at Boundary Stone: The Bloomingdale pub’s annual fundraiser with Atlas Brew Works takes a two-pronged approach. Bring the kids to get a picture with Santa between 4 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and include hot chocolate and holiday crafts. All proceeds benefit the pediatric cancer foundation St. Baldrick’s. Don’t need photos? Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to charity between 5 and 9 p.m. and receive a free pint of Atlas beer. 4 to 9 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 9

‘Entertainment Nation’ Opening Festival at the National Museum of American History: The National Museum of American History’s “Entertainment Nation” exhibit, which opens Friday, tells the story of American culture and change through the use of objects as diverse as the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” Prince’s guitar and the original Muppets. To celebrate, the museum is throwing a 10-day festival with daily activities like curator talks, pop-up concerts, crafts for kids, and photo opportunities with famous characters from television and movies. A few events require advance registration, including a chat with “Sesame Street” insiders on Saturday, a discussion about the career of pioneering Chinese American actor Anna May Wong on Sunday, and screenings of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Batman.” Through Dec. 18. Most events free; some require advance registration.

Look What You Made Me Do: The Taylor Swift Dance Party at Howard Theatre: To the despair of Swifties in the DMV, Taylor Swift’s upcoming nationwide stadium tour doesn’t include a stop in the D.C. area. Maybe the best way to shake it off would be snagging tickets to this edition of Look What You Made Me Do: The Taylor Swift Dance Party. Not only will there undoubtedly be new material on the set list, thanks to Swift’s chart-topping “Midnights” album, but the popular dance night is being held at the Howard Theatre, which has room for more fans than Union Stage, which hosted previous engagements of the party. 9 p.m. $20-$50.

Taylor Swift vs. Olivia Rodrigo vs. the world: Why dance nights are serving up instant nostalgia

Foehammer at Slash Run: The Foehammer story begins in the autumn of 2013 with the DMV metal band’s founder, Jay Cardinell, casually assembling some friends to play Black Sabbath covers for kicks, until, over time, their efforts start to feel vaguely bandlike. “I had wanted to do something heavy for a long time, but as much as we worship at the altar of Sabbath — as everybody should — I didn’t want to do blues-based, doom rock,” Cardinell says. “There’s plenty of that. I wanted to do something a little more avant, heavier, more bleak, really funereal. Something that sounded like molasses or magma.” Named after a sword in “The Lord of the Rings,” Foehammer eventually dropped its debut album, “Second Sight,” in 2018, and after some lineup shuffling, its follow-up, “Monumentum,” materialized last month. Now, as a duo, the band somehow sounds more colossal and severe than ever, with drummer Ben Price setting the tempos as if pushing boulders while Cardinell uses an arsenal of pedals and amps to broaden the roar of his guitar into something massive and molten. 9 p.m. $10.

Interview: Foehammer wants to make metal sound more like magma

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.

Six holiday movie events to put on your calendar

The Greeting Committee at the Black Cat: The Greeting Committee is the longest relationship that singer Addie Sartino has ever had. For the last third of her life, she has fronted the indie rock group, which formed when its members met as high-schoolers in the Kansas City area. That coming-of-age story permeates its discography: teenage angst, wistful love, first heartbreak. But Sartino, now 24, is chasing a more mature sound. “Growing up, I thought I had to be locked into this sort of sadness,” she says over Zoom from her girlfriend’s house in Reston, Va. “A lot of indie music is this tortured artist type of stereotype, and I didn’t want to be part of that anymore. I really wanted to prioritize my happiness.” It’s that newfound joy that seeps into recent single “Hopscotch,” an upbeat pop spin for a band that’s used to leaning on strings, which lets Sartino’s rich vocals shine. “I was dedicated to annihilation of self in consumption of spoon-fed nothing,” she sings. “If I get happy, will you forgive me?” 7 p.m. (doors open). $20-$25.

Interview: The Greeting Committee is finding peace in growing up

AceMo at a ‘secret warehouse’: Hast Du Feuer — roughly translated from German as that old nightlife koan “do you have a light?” — is the newest collective laser-focused on celebrating dance music in the District. Since its launch earlier this year, the crew’s lineups have featured the best D.C. has to offer (Beautiful Swimmers, Rush Plus) and leading names in underground dance music (Ron Morelli, Physical Therapy, Eris Drew and Octo Octa). Its “District Drift” party features both, including New York star AceMo and D.C. trio Black Rave Culture — two acts that are bringing house and techno back to the future with their experimental spirits and commitment to dance as enlightenment. 10 p.m. at a “secret warehouse” (location announced with ticket purchase). $35.

‘Romeo and Juliet’-themed National Philharmonic concert: Shakespeare’s tale of love and loss has been interpreted by great composers throughout history. Joined by violinist Sarah Chang, the National Philharmonic brings a three-part collection of those musical retellings, with both Tchaikovsky’s and Prokofiev’s versions of “Romeo and Juliet” and Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story Suite.” 8 p.m. $19-$69; free for kids.

Saturday, Dec. 10

Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Annapolis’s favorite holiday tradition: boats covered in holiday light displays sailing around Annapolis Harbor and Spa Creek while crowds watch from docks and the Eastport bridge. Close to 30 boats are registered to participate, with themes including “Jolly Roger Christmas” and “Octoclaus Is Coming to Town,” as well as boats celebrating “A Christmas Story” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Arrive early for the best viewing locations; see the Yacht Club’s website for maps and essential info. 6 to 8 p.m. Free.

Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show at Arena Stage: After a sold-out run of shows at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in 2021, Step Afrika’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is moving to Arena Stage’s Fichandler Stage, as part of Arena’s new multiyear partnership with the company. This means even more families will get to see one of the area’s most beloved holiday productions, which features elves and nutcrackers stepping and stomping their way across the stage to the beat of drums, stamping feet and, in one memorable performance, scraping snow shovels. Without giving too much away, kids might want to wear their dancing shoes. Performances through Dec. 18; Dec. 9 is sold out. 1101 Sixth St. SW. $56-$95.

Friends of the National Arboretum Winter Festival: Looking for a one-stop shop that will entertain the kids and let you browse for gifts and pick up a Christmas tree, or just a wreath for the front door? Welcome to FONA’s Winter Festival, which has two dozen vendors, a selection of food trucks, holiday-themed family activities and the aforementioned tree sale. While at the Arboretum, don’t forget to browse the conifer collection, which always looks magical at this time of year. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free; registration requested.

Krampus is coming: In German folklore, Krampus is a horned, devil-like creature who travels with Santa Claus. While Santa gives presents to good children, Krampus gives them coal, or hits them with birch rods. While Krampus has been celebrated by D.C. revelers for almost a decade, this year brings a full day of festivities. The party starts at DC Brau from noon to 4 p.m., where Krampustag (literally “Krampus Day”) features family-friendly crafts and coloring, music, and a costume contest for children. (Noon to 4 p.m., $15 suggest donation for adults, free for ages 12 and younger.) Later, the Krampusnacht party moves to Wunder Garten, with a DJ, live entertainment, an adult Krampus costume contest, raffles and surprises. (7 to 11 p.m., free.) Proceeds from the events benefit the Wanda Alston Foundation, which offers services to homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth.

‘Reggae Sunsplash’ screening at Busboys and Poets: This weekend could bring showers and temperatures in the 40s, so it might be easier to pretend you’re somewhere warmer — like Montego Bay, Jamaica, for example, where it’s forecast to be in the mid-80s on Saturday. While we wait for Filmfest DC to return in spring 2023, the festival hosts pop-up events around town, including Saturday night’s screening of “Reggae Sunsplash,” a new cut of the film documenting the 1979 music festival featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear and Third World. No reservations needed — seating is first-come, first-served. 6 p.m. Free.

Scythian Ugly Christmas Sweater Show at Union Stage: Once a year, the musicians of Scythian don their ugliest knitwear for a very special show. Yes, the once-local band plays the same infectious blend of up-tempo, fiddle-driven Americana and Irish folk that’s led to prime slots at MerleFest, DelFest and ShamrockFest, but it’s the hilarious extended medley of holiday tunes, blending “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with songs by the Kinks, the Pogues, Wham and Adam Sandler, among others, that really rings in the season. This year’s event doubles as a release party for “Christmas Out at Sea,” a new album featuring Christmas carols and sea shanties. Reminder: Terrible holiday outfits are encouraged for the audience, too, and could be worth a prize. 8 p.m. $25-$45.

Columbia Heights Tree Lighting: The less-than-robust Christmas tree in Columbia Heights’ Civic Plaza has come in for some less-than-kind comments since it was unveiled last week. But, as DCist reported, organizers are leaning into the display, dubbing the tree “Tiny Timber.” Judge for yourself when the tree is officially lit Saturday evening, alongside live music, an artisan market and photos with Santa. 5 to 8 p.m. Free.

Leesburg Holiday Parade: An annual tradition in Leesburg, this small-town parade includes marching bands, floats from local businesses, decorated firetrucks and an appearance by Santa. The parade begins at Ida Lee Park at 6 p.m. before heading to the historic downtown. The after-concert at the Tally-Ho Theater is sold out, so head for a local bar, like MacDowell’s, which has “A Rowdy Country Christmas” with live music, or grab a drink at Tuscarora Mill, which has a fruitcake-themed cocktail as well as bourbon infused with apple and cinnamon.

Rosslyn Holiday Market: Free hot chocolate and photos with Santa await visitors at Rosslyn’s fair. Check a name off your gift list with handmade jewelry, organic chocolates or hand-poured candles from local vendors, all eligible for complimentary gift wrapping. Kids can enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus while live carolers perform throughout the day. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free.

Holiday markets: This weekend is another huge one for holiday shopping. Among Saturday’s most intriguing options: Vendors take over a historic barn at Loudoun County’s Wheatland Spring brewing to sell wares including clothes, books and cheese, but On the Lager Day of Christmas also features a lineup of lager beers (including guest offerings from the stellar Suarez Family and Fox Farm), glühwein, and an auction and raffle to raise money for Inova Children’s Hospital. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free.) Back in D.C., Hellbender Brewing hosts a market of artists, makers, bakers and authors at its upper Northwest taproom. Santa is making an appearance, along with adoptable kittens. (1 to 7 p.m., free.) The Victura Park Holiday Market returns to the Kennedy Center for a third straight year, beginning this weekend. Up to 14 local makers and vendors are slated to appear each day. Beyond shopping, the event offers s’mores stations, hot chocolate, spiked cider and seating areas warmed by heaters. (Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., free.) Dozens of stalls at the Herndon WinterMarkt offer the feel of a traditional German-style holiday market, selling bread and charcuterie, candles and ornaments, while visitors stroll, sip mulled wine and listen to German music. (Noon to 7 p.m., free.)

‘Between a Rock and a Soft Place’ opening at Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art: A new exhibition at the Reston-based Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art reframes rest as a practice that is more than a reward for work. Running through February, the show brings the works of five artists together to explore what it means to live a life of ease. Opening night includes artist talks, which are also available over Zoom. 5 to 7 p.m. Free.

Sunday, Dec. 11

‘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. 3 p.m. Free.

Washington Ballet ‘Nutcracker’ Family Day at the Warner Theatre: The Washington Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker,” set in Georgetown and starring George Washington as the heroic titular character, has become a local institution. So, too, have the related events, such as the Nutcracker Tea Party and Family Day. Held before the matinee performance, Family Day includes craft projects, games and photo ops with costumed dancers for the littlest ballet fans. 11:30 a.m.; performance begins at 1 p.m. $49-$145.

Decking the Halls at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Each first lady puts her own spin on the White House’s holiday decorations, from the gingerbread houses to the floral arrangements to the ornaments on the trees. Designer Coleen Christian Burke, who has helped decorate the White House multiple times and is the author of “Christmas With the First Ladies,” describes how decorating the executive mansion has evolved between administrations, and what goes into the perfect display. This Smithsonian Associates program is hosted over Zoom. 1 to 4 p.m. $35.

Holiday markets: There’s even more shopping to be done on Sunday. In addition to the return of Takoma Park’s Market at the Bank, which features makers popping up in a historic bank building, Sunday brings the second and last Park View Holiday Market at Hook Hall. Browse 20 small businesses selling jewelry, stationery, skin care products and hot sauce. Bonus: Bring the kids to the Santa Sing-A-Long for some caroling fun. (4 to 7 p.m. Free; caroling $10 per group.) Vintage and Vinyl at Slash Run is just what it sounds like: Vendors selling cool used clothing, records, zines and original art at the Petworth bar and venue. (3 to 7 p.m. Free.) The main event at Flash is a deep house set by Montreal DJ Fred Everything, but the Florida Avenue club is also hosting a market with “second hand clothing, handmade jewelry, candles, tea and more,” plus holiday food and drink specials and a gift wrapping station. Attendees are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Flash’s toy drive. (4 to 8 p.m. $10-$20.)

Monday, Dec. 12

Merry Tuba Christmas at the Kennedy Center: Tuba, euphonium and sousaphone players are used to sitting in the back of an orchestra, but the Kennedy Center brings 150 of them front and center at Merry Tuba Christmas, an annual celebration of low brass power and festive tunes. In its 49th year, this free event, held in the Concert Hall, is also conducted annually in cities around the world. A limited number of advance tickets became available on the Kennedy Center’s website on Nov. 23. However, these reserved tickets must be picked up by 5:45 p.m. on the day of the performance. All other seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 6 p.m. Free.

The Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute: Emily Dickinson’s 192nd birthday is coming up, and for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual celebration, the discussion is all about cake — specifically, the poet’s handwritten Caribbean black cake recipe, included among Dickinson’s manuscripts. Canadian poet and writer M. NourbeSe Philip will live-stream from Dickinson’s home in Amherst, Mass., during this virtual event inspired by Philip’s essay “Making Black Cake in Combustible Spaces.” 7:30 p.m. Pay-what-you-wish tickets start at $5; suggested price $15.

ReHer Holiday Market at Cork: Anyone in search of a tasty holiday gift — for themselves or someone else — should head to Cork on Monday afternoon to browse food, drinks and accessories from 19 woman-owned businesses, including Hank’s Oyster Bar, Purple Patch, Ice Cream Jubilee, Teaism and Kinfood. Register in advance to win gift cards. 5 to 8 p.m. Free.

Tuesday, Dec. 13

Potomac Fever caroling at the Willard: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s holiday show wrapped up on Sunday, but that wasn’t your only chance to hear the group this season. Potomac Fever, a 14-member a cappella group that performs pop songs, Broadway tunes and festive fare, heads to the historic Willard hotel on Tuesday for an evening of caroling. The elaborately decorated lobby, with its enormous tree, is a lovely place to gather with friends — perhaps with a hot chocolate cocktail or Negroni from the Round Robin Bar — and enjoy the performance. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free.

The Museum of Illusions grand opening: The latest immersive experience/selfie playground to arrive in D.C., the Museum of Illusions at CityCenterDC allows visitors to walk through more than 50 “exhibits” that play around with optical illusions and other mind-boggling tricks. There have been Museums of Illusions in cities around the world, and in addition to setups like the Vortex Tunnel, which convinces you the room is spinning, the D.C. location will include exhibits that appeal to Washingtonians — the Reverse Room suspends visitors from the ceiling of a Blue Line Metro car. Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. $23.95; $18.95 for ages 5 to 12. Visitors 4 and younger get in free.

Foals at the Anthem: Since breaking through at the end of the aughts, Foals have pushed the anxious dance-punk of their early songs in a grander, more arena-friendly direction. At its core, the Oxford-born band makes rock music you can dance to, and has gotten mileage out of that tried-and-true formulation despite changing times, tastes and lineups. On its latest album, “Life Is Yours,” the band — which has slimmed down to a trio — takes its music in a logical direction: disco, the oft- (and wrongly) maligned sound of dance floors that every guitar-wielding act eventually tries its hand at. For their part, Foals come by it honestly. 8 p.m. $35-$55.