By Charlotte E. Henrichs
It’s the best time of the year in our lovely city. And this holiday season I have 12 ideas, for the Twelve Days of Christmas, of course, for how teens can enjoy the Christmas cheer and festivities.
First, bundle up, grab some friends, and take a stroll down historic King Street. Those people really know their stuff when it comes to decorating for Christmas. Bows and wreaths on the homes, and decorated storefronts that are lit up with holiday cheer, really do set the mood. The gas lanterns have a nostalgic charming effect and add to the theme.
Second on your Christmas season to-dos, especially for those who love dogs and want to see terriers and hounds dressed in Christmas apparel, is to hop down to the Scottish Christmas walk parade. You’ll see some cute dogs and plaid and indulge in the jingle of Scottish tunes.
Third on the list is a visit to a park that used to be a real war fort called Fort Ward. On Dec. 10, from noon to 4 p.m., this historic gem will host Union Santa Claus. Take my word for it since I visited him last year– it is a lot of fun. He drops in from the Civil War era to encourage little girls and boys to be good and to support President Lincoln and the Union. He isn’t the only one there, either. There are reenactors from the same era, and delicious warm cider. Fort Ward is located at 4301 West Braddock Road.
Fourth, go take in the twinkling lights on King Street from heights of the Masonic Temple. It is a great view, especially if you get there during sunset.
Fifth, partake in the entertainment for yourself and others by organizing your own Christmas caroling squad. Print off the first few verses of “Silent Night,” and “Oh Holy Night” and head into town with some friends, siblings and a cup of hot cocoa. Ring a doorbell, step back and raise your voice to spread some Christmas cheer in the neighborhood, all while making your own traditions and great memories.
Sixth, enjoy the hard work of the dancers of International Dance, as we perform many dances and mini stories in “The Christmas Spectacular: One MaDANCEical Toy Shoppe.” The performance is Dec. 17 and the tickets can be purchased at the box office. The performance will be at the George Mason University, located at 4373 Mason Pond Dr. I hope to see you there from the stage, although I will be focused on my jumps and spins, and doing my best to dazzle with all of the other local dancers.
Seventh, eat alfresco on King Street. Ever since the pandemic, there has been outdoor eating and it is one of my favorite things, so I’m so glad the restaurants kept it now that the pandemic is behind us. The lights really put you in the Christmas spirit, and if you get there in time you can pick a spot next to a heat lamp.
Eighth, grab your closest buddies, and test your selfie skills by posing with the giant Christmas tree in front of city hall.
Ninth, after your selfie, head down the street to pick up gifts at any of the classic shops. There are a variety of unique options for your teachers or relatives.
Tenth, this is a bit out of town, but I highly recommend that you don’t miss an annual stop at Mount Vernon. My family tries to get a Christmas dinner at the Inn, and when it’s cold enough, they have a crackling fire for the dinner guests. The Christmas décor, the charming historic place-settings and the delicious menu is the stuff of holiday traditions.
Eleventh, for those who are religious, the true meaning of Christmas is best celebrated in church. If you haven’t been in a while, it’s ok! Christmas time is always a good time to start. My favorite churches in the area are Immanuel Lutheran Church, located at 1801 Russell Rd. with a start time at 10 a.m., and Del Ray Baptist Church on 2405 Russell Rd. with a start time at 10:15 a.m. What could be better than reading the original Christmas story about the birth of Jesus, from the original Book, and singing classic carols in celebration?
And finally, the twelfth suggestion is to go thrifting. Living in a historic part of the country always makes for the best thrifting, and your out-oftown family will appreciate the treasures that you find in the bargain shops in our wonderful area. No matter what kind of shopping you do, definitely do it in person instead of online. It is so much more fun.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays and have a happy New Year Alexandria!
The writer is a student at Immanuel Lutheran School.