Just how fun is riding in a one-horse open sleigh? Not very. It’s cold, and it smells like horse. Other Christmas carol lyrics sound like more fun. We chose three events, one good deed and one traffic violation sure to raise your holiday spirits. Not on the list: gathering round virgins, yon or otherwise; and bringing expensive, impractical gifts to a baby.
“Fall on your knees!/O hear the angel voices!”
“O Holy Night” The Carols by Candlelight service at the National Cathedral may be as close to vocal heaven as you can get — plus, they have those padded kneelers, so falling on your knees isn’t so painful. Both the men’s and the girls’ choirs perform traditional Christmas carols. There’s also praying, Bible reading and candle-lighting. Granted, no one knows what angels sound like. They could have voices like Gilbert Gottfried’s.
Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW; Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m., free; 202-537-6200.
“Yuletide carols being sung by a choir/and folks dressed up like Eskimos”
“The Christmas Song” You can’t wear just any old thing to see 2 million pounds of whimsical ice sculpture. Which is why “ICE!” at the Gaylord National lends out big puffy blue coats that will keep you toasty warm as you scope out frozen characters from “Madagascar” and shoot down the slide carved from ice. The parkas boost slide speed — just make sure yours covers your heinie.
Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Md.; through Jan. 8, prices vary; 301-965-2000.
“The first noel the angels did say/was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay”
“The First Noel” It’s tough to find guys out watching their flocks by night these days, but it’s easy to find (and help) those that want nothing more than to herd stuff. The Washington Animal Rescue League is collecting donations of pet food, treats, toys and cat litter at the shelter and at various stores across town to benefit shepherds (and retrievers, and lap dogs) that are just weady to be cuddled, yes they are! If you really want to help out a poor shepherd, a number of them (like Crosby, left, a 1-year-old male shepherd mix) are awaiting permanent homes.
Washington Animal Rescue League, 71 Oglethorpe St. NW; through Jan. 3; 202-726-2556, see website for donation locations.
“Let’s take the road before us/and sing a chorus or two”
“Sleigh Ride” If you’re going to sing a chorus, make it a big one. Audience participation is encouraged — actually, it’s kind of the point — for the “Hallelujah” chorus (and the rest of Handel’s “Messiah”) at the Kennedy Center’s “Messiah” sing-along. With a nonprofessional audience, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, a 200-voice choir and professional soloists, no one cares if you’re tone-deaf or making up lyrics (“Ryyyyy-an Gosling, Ryyyyy-an Gosling, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Gosling, Ry-annn-gos-linnng”). You probably shouldn’t sing along with the soloists, though. Get in line early for the free tickets, and bring your own score.
Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW; Fri., 8 p.m., free; 202-467-4600. (Foggy Bottom)
“He led them down the streets of town/right to the traffic cop/And he only paused a moment/when he heard him holler “Stop!”
“Frosty the Snowman” Ignoring a traffic officer is a bad idea, especially if you’d rather spend $20 on presents than on a ticket. (The actual charge for Frosty’s transgression isn’t called jaywalking, by the way — it can be “failure to obey ‘don’t walk’ or wait for traffic signals,” “pedestrian walking as to create a hazard,” or “failure to obey traffic signal in crosswalk.”) The MPD did not respond to requests for comment about whether anthropomorphic snowmen wearing magical hats are exempt from the rules, so use your best judgment.