I’m trying hard to wrap my head around Christmas at home. I’ve been in warmer climates at Christmas for the last 8 years, but this year we’re here. Bah humbug. No, no, noooo. Wrong attitude. I just received a wonderful invitation for a Christmas party in Prince George’s County and I’m so looking forward to that. In the meantime, I need to make a run to HomeGoods and Target for some white lights to make our home a little more festive. Saturday I’m going to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on the campus of the
University of Maryland for the Christmas production from Nolan Williams Jr., “Christmas Gift!” The performances start tonight. This is a full scale family-friendly production filled with narrative, poetry, songs and dance that celebrates this season through a story of love and selfless giving . There is a storied history behind the “Christmas Gift!/Gif!” tradition that dates back to days of slavery in the United States. There are a limited number of tickets left and the sold out sticker is close to being stamped on these performances. Youth/student tickets are $10, Adult tickets are $35. A great deal for an outing with the family. Make it a tradition. Buy tickets and read more about the production HERE. [button link=”http://claricesmithcenter.umd.edu/events/2013/nolan-williams-jrs-christmas-gift#quicktabs-event_tabs=0″ newwindow=”yes”] Christmas Gift! Tickets[/button]
Certainly there are Christmassy events going on throughout the county. National Harbor is the big draw with it’s huge Christmas tree, Friday night fireworks, Holiday Market, and Carousel Ride with Santa. See the calendar of events for details.
Evangel Cathedral is having their annual Christmas Celebration featuring basically every gospel artist in the world. Ha! No seriously: Mary Mary, The Commissioned Reunion (is Michael Brooks going to be there?), Cece, Bebe, Marvin and Carvin Winans (I LUV Marvin Winans!!!), Israel Houghton, Marvin Sapp, Tamala Mann, and Fred (his name is Fred Hammond but we’ve been listening to his music so long we just call him Fred), and Ledisi will also be getting a check from this gig. Come one, come all. To purchase tickets to the remaining performances (Dec. 14, 15, 22, 22), you do it the old fashioned way: PHONE CALL! Call (301) 249-9400, Monday thru Friday, between the hours of 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM and have your credit card and expiration number ready. Exclusive tickets are $85, VIP $65, Individual $65. See information HERE on what artists are performing when and the particulars on group rates.
Jazzy’s Lounge in Bowie (12500B Fairway Parkway – Fairwood Shopping Center) features the Capitol City Voices jazz choir along with Wayne Wilentz Trio for a holiday concert on Sunday December 15th. Pianist and vocal coach Wayne Wilentz will lead the program, backed by Frank Russo on drums and Jeff Antoniuk on saxophone. Straight-ahead jazz hits by Duke Ellington and Horace Silver, among others, will blend with beloved holiday favorites such as “Deck the Halls,” Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here,” and many more. The concert will culminate with an audience sing-along. Admission is $15. For more reservations, visit the website quickly www.jazzyslounge.com. This is not a large venue.
From now until January 1st, Watkins Regional Park, 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro 20774, is host to the Winter Festival of Lights. I’m told it is quite the Christmas tradition in Prince George’s County. That park is a jewel on it’s on so I can’t wait to see the light show. Prince George’s Parks and Recreation asks that you please bring a canned good to donate to local food banks. Cost: $5/cars & vans; $15/mini-buses & limos; $25/buses; $10/multi-visit passes for cars & vans. The festival is FREE on Dec. 25. Great for all ages! There is also a HAYRIDE through the Festival of Lights. YEES!! Take a hayride through the Winter Festival of Lights, then warm up by the fireplace with cider; meet live animals in the nature center. 7-8:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, through Dec. 28, Old Maryland Farm, 301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro. $5, reservations required. 301-249-7077.
Pick up an original Christmas ornament at Laurel’s Holiday Ornament Emporium. Happening December 9th-23rd, 11 am-4 pm (closed Wednesdays). Come by an choose from one-of-a-kind ornaments in a traditional holiday setting at the Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, 9650 Muirkirk Road, Laurel 20708. You will also find books, tea items, old-fashioned toys, Montpelier memorabilia and more. Admission is free the ornaments are not. Support our local artists!! Contact: 301-377-7817; TTY 301-699-254 for more information.
Laurel is the hotspot for another unique event: Holiday House Tour in Laurel December 14. A haunted farmhouse which is regularly closed to the public, and an historic home filled with exquisite historic memorabilia, and historic St. Marks United Methodist Church are just three of the sites on the December 14th Laurel Holiday House Tour. Tickets: $18 the day of the tour at the Laurel Museum, 817 Main St., Laurel. Note: Tickets sold only at the museum the day of the tour. For more information contact 301-725-7975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured on the Holiday House Tour in Laurel is historic St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, which was established in 1890. Wow. To think that Black people were making a life for themselves in Laurel in 1890. Fascinating. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church has played an important role for Laurel’s African American community since its founding. To commemorate the church’s history, a Christmas ornament is now available for $18 from St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, located at 601 8th Street in Laurel’s historic Grove Community, and the Laurel Historic Society. This would make for a good keepsake to put up every year on the family tree.
Two more local events that look like good times: Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Rd., Landover is having an event called Santa’s Little Helper’s Workshop that’s for the lil shopper in your life. Children can shop from the Kiddies Corner Store and have their items wrapped. Kids enjoy a catered lunch, live performance, holiday crafts and stories, and pictures with Santa (additional fee), Saturday Dec. 14th Noon-3 p.m. Adults $10, children $7. 301-583-2400. For more information: 301-583-2582; TTY 301-583-2483
Temple Hills Community Center, 5300 Temple Hill Rd., Temple Hills, is having a holiday bazaar where you can shop holiday gift items. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.. Call for more information 301-894-6616.