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Pajamas collected for Friends of Guest House residents (courtesy photo)

Friends of Guest House residents were greeted with the gift of pajamas and cozy socks on Christmas morning. Alexandria realtor Maureen Clyne ended up exceeding her goal of 100 pairs of pajamas and socks by collecting 140 pairs.

“The generosity of the Alexandria community never ceases to amaze me,” said Clyne. “I want to give a special shout out to Margaret Ticer Janowsky of Del Ray Cafe who donated 40 pairs and my colleagues at Coldwell Banker Realty in Old Town who also donated.”

Friends of Guest House serves 60 women every year in its residential program, and has helped more than 4,000 women transition from incarceration since it was founded in 1974.

“What an incredible gift that will impact many, many women and make them not only feel warm, but very welcome,” former Friends of Guest House Executive Director Kari Galloway said.

Friends of Guest House Executive Director Katie Shapiro with pajama donations for residents (courtesy photo)
Christmas tree at ALXnow editor’s new apartment (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Your Christmas tree is beautiful and it can stay up for a few more days, but as it starts getting closer to January, it might be time to start thinking about how to get rid of it.

Tree removal is usually a touchy subject in Alexandria, but Christmas tree removal is fortunately a little easier for anyone in Alexandria that gets trash removal via the city.

According to the city’s website:

Christmas trees can be recycled curbside by residents who receive trash collection services from the City. Trees should be set at your regular yard waste collection point, on your trash collection day. Trees collected during this time will be ground into mulch and available to residents in the spring.

To prepare trees for collection, the city said to:

  • Remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, and stands
  • Do not place in plastic bags
  • Place the tree at your regular yard waste collection point by 6:00 a.m. on your trash collection day

The tree collection program runs from Tuesday, Jan. 2 to Wednesday, Jan. 31 — so don’t set those trees out just yet.

Most Alexandrians are renters, however, not homeowners. There: it’s trickier, and the city said the property’s owner should have more information on where to dispose of trees.

“If you or your building uses a private trash services, please check with your trash hauler for instructions on disposal of natural and artificial Christmas trees,” the city’s website said.

If that doesn’t work, ALXnow cannot recommend leaving your Christmas tree at a property where refuse is being collected that day.


Merry Christmas from ALXnow

Christmas tree at ALXnow editor’s new apartment (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Christmas is just around the corner and ALXnow will be taking a couple of days off to celebrate.

Like our mothership, ARLnow, we wanted to wish our readers — YIMBYs, NIMBYs and NIMPYs all — happy holidays!

The regularly scheduled programming will kick off again on Tuesday, Dec. 26. We look forward to returning after the holidays.

In the meantime, relax, enjoy time with your loved ones, and check out the best Christmas movie of all time: Tokyo Godfathers. We’ll see you all next week!


The ALXnow Team

Santa Claus waves at the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Christmas is right around the corner and with that comes closures and changes to service schedules around the city.

Here’s a look at what’s open, closed, or has an altered schedule thanks to the upcoming holidays:

  • As parents hopefully know, all Alexandria City Public Schools are closed this week and next week, returning on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
  • Alexandria’s DASH but network will be operating on a Sunday schedule on Christmas (Monday, Dec. 25) and New Year’s Day (Monday, Jan. 1).
  • The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will be open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Christmas Eve (Sunday, Dec. 24)  and New Year’s Eve (Sunday, Dec. 31) but closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • The DMV will also be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • All Alexandria libraries will be closed from Sunday, Dec. 24, through Tuesday, Dec. 26, as well as New Year’s Day.

The Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces and residential permit parking districts from Christmas through Tuesday, Dec. 26, as well as on New Year’s Day.

“This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces and does not permit parking in any normally prohibited location,” the police department warned. “Temporary no-parking signs will be enforced.”

Waterskiing Santa is returning to Alexandria on Christmas Eve (via Facebook)

Santa Claus will visit Alexandria for some waterskiing on the Potomac River on Christmas Eve (Sunday, Dec. 24), just hours before taking his round-the-world trip to deliver presents.

You can catch Santa at around 12:45 p.m. traveling up and down the Potomac, and rumor has it that the Grinch will try to steal the show with an appearance.

It’s the 38th year in a row that he’s visited Alexandria for the event. Afterward, Santa, Mrs. Claus and a crew of their helpers will dock at Waterfront Park (1 King Street) to visit with families.

Image via Facebook

A holiday wreath on a front door in Old Town. (staff photo by James Cullum)

You’re probably sick of hearing this, but: Alexandria is a great place to spend the holidays.

Yet another online list ranked Alexandria at the top of “23 US Cities That Go All Out for Christmas,” this one from Condé Nast Traveler.

According to the article:

Located about 20 minutes south of Washington, DC, Alexandria is a picture-perfect place to spend the holiday season. The Old Town’s row houses and centuries-old brick streets look even more charming when adorned with snow and Christmas wreaths, and you can expect a ton of seasonal activities.

It isn’t the first, or even second, time Alexandria’s been noted in publications as a particularly great holiday destination.

Old Town is getting a little more festive on Friday with a ‘Holiday Trolley‘ while a mailbox in Warwick Village is also delivering letters to Santa.

A mailbox for Santa Claus letters at 3103 Russell Road in the Warwick Village neighborhood of Alexandria (courtesy photo)

Got a list for Santa? There’s a Christmas-red mailbox in Alexandria that sends letters to the North Pole, and Santa is responding.

It’s the second straight year that Bill and Stephanie Pastewait have used their influence with Jolly Old Saint Nick by planting the mailbox in front of their home at 3103 Russell Road in Warwick Village. Bill said that about 50 kids posted letters last year.

“We really enjoy forwarding these letters to Santa,” Bill said. “The more the better.”

So far, about 15 kids have sent in letters, and Bill says that good girls and boys should put their letters in the mailbox with their name and return address by Monday, Dec. 18 — just enough time for Santa to respond before embarking on yet another round-the-world trip on Christmas Eve.

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Santa Claus waves at the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated 3:20 p.m.) Alexandria has nabbed a top spot on another holiday-focused tour list, this time on holiday gift website Mixbook.

The website’s list “America’s Favorite ‘Christmassy’ Towns 2023” ranked Alexandria at number five — though unlike AARP, Mixbook fails to note that Alexandria is a city, not a town.

“Alexandria, Virginia, voted as America’s fifth most Christmassy town, embodies the spirit of the holiday season with its unique blend of history and festive charm,” Mixbook wrote. “The town’s picturesque streets, lined with historic brick buildings, are transformed into a winter wonderland adorned with twinkling lights and holiday decorations.”

Like the AARP list, the Mixbook list praises the city’s candlelight tours and the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade hosted this past weekend.

According to the website:

Alexandria’s rich colonial history adds to its allure, offering a nostalgic backdrop to modern holiday celebrations. The town hosts a variety of seasonal events, such as traditional candlelight tours, and the iconic Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, showcasing its vibrant community spirit. The bustling holiday markets, local artisan shops, and cozy cafes create an inviting atmosphere, drawing visitors from near and far. Alexandria’s blend of historic ambience, community festivities, and warm, welcoming spirit make it a quintessential destination for experiencing the magic of Christmas.

While the highlight on the list of towns is nice, the distinction between cities, towns and counties is substantial in Virginia.

In Virginia, cities are independent of counties. City residents pay city taxes, elect city officials, and run their own school systems, etc. Towns, like Vienna and Herndon, are not separate from their counties — in those cases, Fairfax County.

Cities can also annex territories from counties, as Alexandria did when it took the West End from Fairfax County and as it should do with Shirlington.


(Updated 9:35 p.m.) It was overcast and cool — the perfect weather for the Campagna Center’s 52nd Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

The parade is one of the most popular events in the city, bringing thousands of participants, including Irish dancers, historic reenactors and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums. It is considered the highlight of a weekend full of events.

This year’s grand marshals were Congressman Don Beyer (D-8th) and his wife, Megan.

Enjoy the photos!

The Del Ray Christmas tree and menorah lighting on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

In case you missed it, the lighting of the Del Ray Christmas tree and menorah was packed last night.

The evening was full of families and friends caroling with hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Former Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille made the countdown to light the 32-foot-tall tree at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square, along with Santa Claus, Kate Moran of the Rainbow Rock Band and members of the City Council. Santa Claus was escorted to the event by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office.


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