Celebrating the Holidays Washington DC Style

I’ll be home for Christmas. That song always makes me tear up a little bit. The past couple of years I’ve been avoiding that song like the plague while I spent the holidays in Ecuador, Australia and England. I just couldn’t take it. This year however I am blasting carols and singing along like a crazy person. I can’t stop grinning, I’m SO happy to be home for the holidays.

and presents! Spending all my money on presents!

As it turns out there are cultural advantages to being in Washington DC for Christmas that I never fully realized. Maybe it’s the newfound joy of being home, or the fact that Michael is here in DC with me, but I’ve made some discoveries. In addition to tree decorating, present wrapping and cookie baking I’ve also gotten to participate in two major local events: The Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria and the White House Christmas Tree Lighting.

The Scottish Christmas Walk

The Scottish Christmas Walk takes place in Old Town, Alexandria, George Washington’s old hometown. It’s been going on for 20-some years and is a celebration of scottish heritage – picture clan after clan of Scots marching in full regalia, bagpipes blaring. At the end of the parade is Santa!

This year I got to march because as it turns out- I’m actually quite Scottish! My Dad (who is big on geneaology) is the DC commisioner of Clan Donald, the biggest Clan in the US. He invited Mike (soon to be Scottish by marriage) and I to come march in the parade and it sounded too unique to pass up.

Leader of the Scottie Dog Brigade

The Laird and Lady of Clan Donald DC Chapter (also known as my father and stepmother)

I’m glad we did, and not just because I got to see Mike in a kilt (he looked quite fetching).


Sorry ladies, no leg shots for you!

The day culminated with a Clan dinner involving much whiskey imbibing (Scottish gravy my Dad calls it) and a lovely haggis. Yes, I love haggis, why don’t you?


The White House Christmas Tree Lighting

Every year since 1923 there has been a ceremonial christmas tree lighting outside the white house with the president’s family. Despite growing up in DC I had never been. This year a friend got us tickets and I’m so glad because the host was none other then my number 1 celebrity crush Neil Patrick Harris!

The event was freezing but we managed to squeeze up close enough to see NPH in his bright red scarf, along with musical guests like Jason Mraz and James Taylor.

And of course, the beautiful first family.

It was cold as the North Pole but so much fun!

Pictured: Babyface, Santa, NPH

What are your local holiday traditions?

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10 thoughts on “Celebrating the Holidays Washington DC Style”

  1. You’re right. There’s nothing quite like being home for the holidays. I’ve spent a few Christmases out of the country, and it just wasn’t the same. Cool pics!

    I didn’t know about The Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria. I have some Scottish relatives, so I’ll have to tell them about it. Thanks!

  2. This is really nice, but Alexandria, Virgina, is in Virginia and not Washington, D.C. I really don’t see why people lump Virginia and DC together. Washington is over there in Maryland.

    1. Oh trust me I know- I was born and raised in Arlington! Perhaps I should say Washington DC Area Style, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

  3. I’m from the DC area as well and even though I’m back there almost every Christmas, I’ve never done the white house tree lighting. I’ve got to do that some day!

  4. A must-eat for this time of year is Pasta Mia’s in Adam’s Morgan. Be warned, there is a line for first-seating, but the dishes are spectacular, huge, and everything from the pasta to the sauces is home-made. It makes the holiday season feel like the holiday season.

  5. You are really fortunate to have the legacy and tradition of your Clan Donald. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate your history.
    Also, have to say I’m a bit jealous, ’cause you got to see the First Family at the tree lighting in DC. What a fabulous holiday celebration!! Congratulations and thanks for sharing the photos.
    Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ùr!
    hope I got that right 🙂

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