Gingerbread Design Challenge Teams of up to four engage in a friendly competition to build the best gingerbread house; refreshments provided. 6-8 p.m. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. 202-272-2448. www.nbm.org. $45 per house, additional $15 per person.
NSO Pops: Diana Ross “All the Best of Times” Ross sings her hits with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops, conducted by Emil de Cou. Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. 202-467-4600. www.kennedy-center.org. $59-$179.
Washington Ballet: “The Nutcracker” This version is set in Georgetown and includes historic figures such as George Washington. Thursday at 7 p.m., continues Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m. (with Family Day activities starting at 11:30 a.m.), Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. (Tuesday is Military Appreciation Night, with doors at 5 p.m. for a military greeting and peek backstage; 15 percent military discount). Through Dec. 24. Warner Theatre, 13th and E streets NW. 202-362-3606. www.washingtonballet.org. $30-$130.
Arturo Sandoval The Latin jazz trumpeter was a protege of Dizzy Gillespie. Thursday, Friday and Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m., Saturday at 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-337-4141. www.bluesalley.com.
Christkindlmarkt More than 40 vendors set up shop at this outdoor holiday artisan market, combined with self-guided tours of the seasonally decorated house. Friday 4-9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Heurich House Museum, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. 202-429-1894. www.heurichchristmas.org. $10, ages 2-12 $2.
Dark Star Orchestra The Grateful Dead cover band performs. Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. $29.
“A Classic Brass Christmas” Choralis performs Bob Chilcott’s “Wenceslas” with the Classical Brass Quintet and baritone James Shaffran. The program includes a carol singalong and conducting raffle. Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW. 703-237-2499. www.choralis.org. $40-$50, ages 23-29 $20; ages 13-22 $5, children free.
Smithsonian Holiday Festival The National Museum of American History offers musical performances, book signings, screenings, children’s activities and gift-wrapping. A Circulator bus will transport visitors to the other participating locations around the Mall, where visitors can see jewelry trunk shows, sample astronaut foods, view exhibits and more. Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-633-1000. www.si.edu. Free.
MetroCooking DC The two-day food festival features demos by chefs Tom Colicchio, Caitlin Dysart, Peter Chang, Duff Goldman and others, plus cooking classes, workshops, a marketplace, samples from more than 50 local restaurants, a barbecue bash, and a beer, wine and spirits garden. Saturday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW. 866-840-8822. www.metrocookingdc.com. $21.50, ages 4-12 $10, age 3 and younger free, special events and packages $35-$70.
“Six Degrees of Separation” Keegan Theatre mounts John Guare’s play, inspired by real-life events about a con man who claimed to be the son of actor Sidney Poitier. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. Closes Saturday. Andrew Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. 202-265-3767. www.keegantheatre.com. $45, seniors $40, age 25 and younger $35.
TamalFest DC Hola Cultura presents a community cooking contest with tastings of differently prepared tamales (meat or vegetables, spiced and wrapped in cornmeal, rice or potato). 1-5 p.m. Bell Multicultural High School, 3101 16th St. NW. 202-722-0335. bit.ly/tamalfest. $15, in advance $12.
Attacca Quartet Washington Performing Arts presents the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s former quartet in residence. 4 p.m. University of the District of Columbia, Auditorium, Building 46-West, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-785-9727. www.washingtonperformingarts.org. $35.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club The experimental Colorado rock band with a scary backwoods vibe released its latest album this year, “The Commandments According to SCAC.” 8 p.m. Hill Country, 410 Seventh St. NW. 202-556-2050. www.hillcountrywdc.com. $15, in advance $12.
Downtown Holiday Market The 12th annual outdoor event is rated one of USA Today’s 10 best holiday markets in the nation, with 150 juried exhibitors, live music, festive lighting, food and hot drinks. Eighth and F streets NW. Continues daily noon-8 p.m. Through Dec. 23. 202-215-6993. www.downtownholidaymarket.com. Free.
Michael Chabon The Pulitzer Prize-winning author reads from his latest novel, “Moonglow.” 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. 202-408-3100. www.sixthandi.org. Two tickets and a book $30.
Winternational Embassies showcase their countries at this lunchtime festival with visual art, food, crafts and travel exhibits. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-312-1300. www.itcdc.com/winternational. Free, registration required.
DAR Christmas Open House The annual event features holiday music, cookies, a children’s book drive, 31 decorated rooms, a period costume display, door prizes and a visit from Santa, across the street from the National Christmas Tree. 5:30-8 p.m. DAR Memorial Continental Hall, 17th and D streets NW. 202-572-0563. www.dar.org/openhouse. Free.
“Goyescas” The In Series presents Enrique Granados’s opera-ballet about honor betrayed, inspired by the paintings of Francisco de Goya and adapted by playwright Elizabeth Pringle. In Spanish with English supertitles. Opens Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Through Dec. 18. Gala Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. 202-204-7763. www.inseries.org. $46, seniors $43, students and youth $23.
— Compiled by