We’re coming up on an unusual Christmas at the end of 2020.
Alexandria Health Director Dr. Stephen Haering urged locals not to travel for the holidays if they could avoid it.
“Traveling for celebrations is a hallmark of these holidays but is especially risky with the COVID-19 increases across the country,” Haering said. “If you can’t avoid traveling, know your travel risk and consider getting tested both before and after traveling, particularly if you are visiting or returning home to someone at high risk of severe illness. Keep in mind that the virus can take between 2-14 days to incubate. AHD recommends that you wait about 7-10 days after a gathering or travel to get tested.”
Even distanced, the CDC warned that gathering with friends or family who do not live with you can increase your chance of spreading COVID-19.
Are you risking that to gather with family or are you planning something smaller with the folks you live with. Sound off in the comments if you have other plans.
Animals need their stockings stuffed too.
The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) is inviting supporters out on Thursday, Dec. 24, to donate to cats, dogs, and other pets at the facility.
“You can participate in person or remain physically distant while helping to fill the AWLA van with holiday goodies that will keep homeless animals entertained all year long!” the AWLA said.
Items can be delivered to the AWLA from an online list, which will be used to stuff the van. Participants can also sign up “in-pawson” for a 10 minute window to stuff the van full of goodies.
“Sign up for a 10-minute window during which you and your ‘family group’ can come by the AWLA to stuff the van with the help of an ‘AWLA elf’ and meet an adoptable animal who will benefit from your generous holiday donations,” the AWLA said. “All activities will be held outside the AWLA in our parking lot, and all participants must wear masks. (Please note that for safety reasons, participants will not be able to enter the building). Two different family groups will have time to visit with an adoptable animal and stuff the van during each 10-minute window, all while staying at a safe physical distance from each other.”
Image via AWLA/Facebook
Christmas tree looking a little sparse? The Alexandria Commons Shopping Center at 3233 Duke Street is hosting a pop-up on Saturday (Dec. 19) that will include a free ornament decorating kit.
“Celebrate the holidays by decorating your own holiday ornament!” the center said on its Facebook page.
The pop-up is scheduled to run from noon to 2 p.m.
“Your kit will include all supplies needed to decorate your ornament, fun holiday giveaways and a few surprises from Alexandria Commons Shopping Center merchants,” the shopping center said. “Once your ornament is complete share with your family and friends via Facebook to be entered into our contest to win a $50 gift card to an Alexandria Commons Shopping Center merchant of your choice.”
There will be 300 kits available given away one per person on a first come, first serve basis. The center noted on the event page that social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions will be enforced.
(Updated 4:25 p.m.) Alexandrians are being urged not to travel or gather in groups for the holidays, so Alexandria Restaurant Partners is putting together a series of specials to diners to take home and enjoy in 2-4 sized groups.
“Always committed to providing a total guest experience, this year’s ARP Christmas menus feature a la carte, Prix fixe, and packaged to-go menu options highlighting innovative twists on classic holiday dishes,” a spokesperson for the restaurant group said.
Alexandria Restaurant Partners owns Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Vola’s Dockside Grill, Riverside Taco Company, Joe Theismann’s Restaurant, Palette 22 and The Majestic — with Ada’s on the River and Barca Pier and Wine Bar coming soon.
“For only $29/person, readers will be impressed with Mia’s Italian Kitchen’s affordable and delicious 3-course prix-fixe featuring starters like Pei Mussels, or Crispy Fried Artichokes, a choice of 2 entrees Frutti Di Mare, or Slow Cooked Prime Beef Ragu and a choice between two decadent desserts,:Chocolate Covered Cannoli or Chocolate Panna Cotta,” the press release said.
The family packages were $119 for a group of four or $69 for two. The packages include five dishes served cold with reheating instructions.
There are similar packages available at
- Theismann’s — $139 for a serving of 4-6 with the option of doubling the sides for an additional $60.
- The Majestic — $159 to-go dinner
- Palette 22 — small plates ranging from $16-$5
- Riverside Taco Company — $29 for two starters and entrees
- Vola’s Dockside Grill — dishes serve 6-8 and range from $75 cheesecake to $59 crab mac and cheese
“All ARP Christmas To-Go menus can be placed directly through the desired restaurant’s website or by phone through December 21st,” according to the press release. “Order pickups will be available on Dec. 24 or Dec. 25th, 12-6 p.m.”
Also, buying a gift card of $100 value will come with a bonus $20 gift card.
Staff photo by James Cullum
Alexandria is famous for celebrating the holiday season, and there are still a couple of in-person and virtual performances to help get into the spirit of things.
Tickets are still available for the Little Theatre of Alexandria‘s in-person rendition of A Christmas Carol, which runs until Dec. 19. The theatre has limited capacity to 46 guests, and seating is spaced out so that only up to groups of three people from the same group can watch the show together.
A Christmas Carol is being performed by just five actors, as opposed to the annual sold-out production with dozens of actors. It has been adapted for the times and directed by Emmy-winning journalist and actor Michael J Baker, Jr., who also stars as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Tickets cost $20 apiece and the remaining performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Dec. 16, 17, 18 and 19.
On Dec. 26 and 27, more than 90 students from the Metropolitan School of the Arts will perform six separate virtual renditions of The Nutcracker ballet at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Each show will be performed by three casts at the school.
“We knew performing the Nutcracker this year was going to be a challenge, but we also wanted the show to go on,” said Jacqueline Doherty, the show’s artistic director. “We’re so proud of the students’ commitment and passion to make this ballet come to life, despite the COVID restrictions. They were dedicated to making this show happen.”
The shows will broadcast on the Metropolitan School of the Arts’ YouTube channel, and tickets range from $40-$80.
Photos via LTA and Metropolitan School of the Arts
Where to Get the COVID Vaccine in Alexandria — “In early 2021, when more vaccine doses are available, people who are in essential and critical industries (including first responders) will receive vaccinations — some through their workplace, and others through doctors offices and local hospitals.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Christmas Restaurant Round-Up — “Below we’ve rounded up some options for meals around Alexandria. Some will offer special holiday menus, while others will be open for their usual dine-in and takeout menus.” [Patch]
Famous Alexandria Christmas Yard Goes Dark — “All of these details are important for you to know to understand why, when Vaughan recently found himself lying face down in a small creek in front of his house, unable to move his left leg, he cried. The tears weren’t for the pain of falling off a 16-foot ladder. That would hit him later. They were for the realization that the lights wouldn’t come on this year.” [Washington Post]
Jaguar Land Rover Dealership Announces Huge New Van Dorn Location — “For a long time, the Land Rover dealership on Duke Street has been bursting at its fence lines, and they are finally getting new digs on a six-acre parcel of land fronting Van Dorn Street in Alexandria, Virginia.” [Patch]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Experts Predict Alexandria Economic Recovery by 2022 — “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have dominated the economy here in Alexandria, but the region may not see a full recovery until 2022.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Alexandria Refreshes Bid for Fiber Network — “The City of Alexandria last week issued an invitation to bid (ITB) for the construction of a City-owned fiber network to support broadband services among the City’s public institutions.” [Broadband Communities]
A History of Alexandria Christmases — “While Christmas has been part of Alexandria’s history since the beginning, did you know that our current traditions, including Santa Claus, were adapted more recently?” [Zebra]
Alexandria Restaurant Partners Install UVC Lights — “As colder temperatures force many dining patrons indoors throughout the Commonwealth, Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) has announced that they are stepping up their sanitization efforts.” [Alexandria Restaurant Partners]
Alexandria Sixth Most Charitable City in America — “Today, GoFundMe, the world’s leading fundraising platform, released its annual Giving Report which includes a list of the most generous states and cities in America. Alexandria is the sixth most generous city for supporting individuals, causes and organizations this year.” [Zebra]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
While holiday festivities like the Scottish Christmas Parade are being cancelled around town due to coronavirus concerns, the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is still planning to go forward with the organization’s 10th annual Alexandria Holiday Lights Ride and Walk.
The annual ride takes cyclists and pedestrians on a tour of the best of Del Ray’s lights. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12, from 5:30-7 p.m.
“The residents of lovely Del Ray put on a great holiday light show every year, and we plan to see it on bike or on foot!” BPAC said in an event listing. “Please register on Eventbrite if you’re joining us.”
The tour will start at the south end of Main Line Blvd near the Potomac Yard trail. The route is around five miles through flat neighborhood streets.
“Small, socially-distanced groups of people biking will leave at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m. each evening,” BPAC said. “Small, socially-distanced groups of people walking will leave at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. each evening.”
All ages and abilities are welcome, the group said, but children under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Participants over five must also have a face covering. For those biking, helmets and lights are required, with “bonus points” for decorating bikes with holiday lights.
Groups will be broken into no more than 10 people and participants should register in advance for a time slot.
Photo via BPAC/Facebook
This weekend, the Old Town Business Association is planning to install a holiday update to Alexandria’s street lamps.
“Starting today, the art is being installed on the selected lamp posts in Old Town,” the Old Town Business Association said in a press release. “The arts are alive in Old Town this holiday season with the debut of its first-holiday art walk.”
Several lamp posts in Old Town will feature new art from 25 artists from The Art League. The majority of the art will be located along the 100-1800 blocks of King Street, with a few on select side streets.
“Old Town Business collaborated with 25 artists from The Art League to create holiday-themed lamp post art pieces along King Street and select side streets,” the Old Town Business Association said. “A map of the artwork will be created so folks can stroll the art walk at their own leisure.”
Photo courtesy Old Town Business Association
Historic Old Town Home Uprooted and Relocated — “If you were driving down Washington Street Wednesday, you may have noticed a historic brick townhouse being moved on beams and dollies.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Duke Street’s Transit Focused Redesign Starts — “In early 2021, city staff will begin collecting community input for the future of the Duke Street Corridor from Landmark Mall to the King Street Metro Station.” [Alexandria Times]
Best Places for Christmas Lights Around Alexandria — “An increasing number of cars are driving around with Christmas trees on top and slowly but surely, homeowners are decking their homes with lights and holiday displays. Here are a few places to see the region’s best holiday displays.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Local Salvation Army Handles Decreased Giving but Increased Demand — “At the same time, the organization is seeing an increase in demand. Already serving more than 23 million Americans each year, the Salvation Army expects to help an additional 6.5 million people this holiday season.” [Alexandria Gazette]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott