12 Days of Christmas at the Oval Room: From Monday to Dec. 23, the Oval Room is serving a new dish or cocktail every evening that corresponds to the lyrics of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” On Day Six, six geese a-laying translates to goose-egg ravioli and roasted wild mushrooms. On Day Eight, eight maids milking means goat’s milk panna cotta with figs and toasted almond cereal. The offerings are available only that evening, so tell the reindeer to rush. 800 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Tuesday, Dec. 12
National Menorah lighting: The gates open at 3 p.m. for the lighting ceremony of the world’s largest menorah, held across the street from the White House on the Ellipse. Refuel with hot latkes and doughnuts, pick up free dreidels and menorah kits, and take in a performance by the U.S. Air Force Band. 4 p.m. Free; tickets required.
'An American in Paris' at the Kennedy Center: After rave reviews on Broadway, “An American in Paris” makes its D.C. premiere at the Kennedy Center as part of its first national tour. Inspired by the 1951 Gene Kelly film of the same title, the Tony-winning musical tells the story of an American painter who falls for a French shopgirl he meets in Paris right after World War II. It’s an irresistible combination for musical theater lovers, pairing George and Ira Gershwin tunes (“I Got Rhythm” included) with the romance of the City of Light. Through Jan. 7. 7:30 p.m. $59-$175.
Wednesday, Dec. 13
An acoustic Christmas with Over the Rhine at the Birchmere: The husband-and-wife-duo behind the folky, Ohio-based band Over the Rhine are drawn to Christmas music: They’ve recorded three albums worth of carols and their own compositions. The band takes its act on the road each December, playing songs that capture both the joy and loneliness of this darkest time of the year. 7:30 p.m. $29.50.
Festivus at Rustico: Now in its 11th year, this “Seinfeld”-inspired party celebrates everyone’s favorite made-up holiday. On Wednesday, the Alexandria restaurant will pour 20 locally brewed, holiday ales. Snacks are also inspired by the sitcom and include calzones, paella and a black-and-white cookie. Of course, there’s a Festivus pole. Come prepared to air your grievances. 5 p.m.
Give a Can, Get a Can at Pizzeria Paradiso: This is one of the simplest and most effective holiday food drives around. Bring a canned good to Pizzeria Paradiso in Hyattesville to donate to Martha’s Table and you can trade it for a can of craft beer. Bring two cans and you’ll get two beers, and so on. (Please skip the Chef Boyardee or clam chowder: The charity asks for low-sodium vegetables, fruit, and pasta and tomato sauce.) 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free.
Thursday, Dec. 14
Handel's 'Messiah' at Kennedy Center: It wouldn’t be the season without “Messiah” — Handel’s oratorio, that is, which is de rigueur this time of year for orchestras. The National Symphony Orchestra, which offers a slightly different take every year, has entrusted it to Jeannette Sorrell, the dynamic conductor of the group Apollo’s Fire. Through Sunday. 7 p.m. $15-$89.
Friday, Dec. 15
Drink the District Wine Festival at the Park View: The holiday edition of the Drink the District festival is “Mistletoe and Merlot”-themed, with unlimited samples of more than 100 wines. Sommeliers will roam the Petworth festival answering questions, and a chef will be demonstrating food and drink pairings. While you’re tasting your way through rosés or nibbling on cheese, get some shopping done, too. There will be a Drink the District store with bottles for sale and a marketplace featuring gifts made by D.C. crafters and artisans. Through Saturday. Various times. $30-$99.
Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show at Atlas Performing Arts Center: Learn a new dance called the “Frosty Shuffle” at Step Afrika!’s family-friendly holiday step show, an annual tradition at Atlas Performing Arts Center. Before the performance by the percussive dance company begins, kids can gather in the lobby to make instruments so that they can make music, too. There will also be photo ops with furry characters and a chance for audience members to join the dance party. Through Dec. 30; some performances sold out. 7:30 p.m. $18-$45.
— Adele Chapin, Fritz Hahn, Anne Midgette, Holley Simmons, Briana Younger