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The Del Ray Christmas tree and menorah lighting, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

In case you missed it, the lighting of the Del Ray Christmas and menorah was packed on Sunday.

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

NBC$ Washington reporter Pat Collins made the countdown to light the 30-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.

“Who wants snow for Christmas? Collins said, and started to chant, “We want snow, we want snow!”

Collins said he’d see what he could do, and brought along the official Pat Collins Snow Measuring Stick for publicity photos.

“Who wants snow for Christmas? Collins said, and started to chant, “We want snow, we want snow!”

Collins said he’d see what he could do, and brought along the official Pat Collins Snow Measuring Stick for publicity photos.

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More than 450 families in Alexandria have signed up for this year’s Holiday Sharing Program with the Fund for Alexandria’s Child.

The annual program provides gift cards to low-income families, children in foster care, older adults and residents with disabilities.

“The generosity of our community helps ensure that no Alexandrians are left without during the holidays,” the city’s Department of Community and Human Service said in a release.

Eligible families are receiving services from DCHS because they are facing severe economic conditions.

“They are eligible because they are experiencing serious economic, medical or psychological distress,” DCHS said in a release. “Sometimes the only support system they have is a network of government agencies. Sometimes they have never sought assistance from others. As a member of the Alexandria community, YOU are reaching out to extend a hand to them, as they face a variety of crises and traumas.”

The deadline to sponsor a family is Dec. 5, and all donations are tax deductible. So far, about 150 families have been matched with sponsors.

Donations can also be directly made out to the Fund for Alexandria’s Child, or to the DCHS Senior Fund, and sent to:

Holiday Sharing Program
2525 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301

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The Del Ray Christmas Tree will be lit on Dec. 4, 2022 (via Facebook)

The Del Ray Menorah and Christmas tree lightings are back on Sunday.

Holiday carols will bring Santa Claus back to the neighborhood for the event, which starts at 6 p.m. at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square. The Avenue will also be lined with luminaries to honor the late Nancy Dunning.

It’s the 12th straight year that Homegrown Restaurant Group selected and cut down the tree at the Naughty Pines Nursery in Maryland, and last week it was picked up and given to the Del Ray Business Association. BMC Smoot provided the flatbed truck and a driver to haul the 30-foot-tall tree to Del Ray, and Mike Dameron of Windmill Hill donated his cherry picker crane to put it in place.

“Participants are urged to bring toiletries for Carpenter’s Shelter,” DRBA said.

Additionally, the Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl is happening in Del Ray on Saturday, Dec. 10. The event will provide donations for Mount Vernon Community School’s Blessings in a Backpack program.

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Hundreds of people turned out for the lighting of the menorah and Christmas tree at Pat Miller Square in Del Ray on Sunday night, December 5.

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

Retiring Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne made the countdown to light the 30-foot-tall tree.

“Thank you for 43 years of supporting me,” Lawhorne said. “I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Last year’s public tree lighting was canceled by the pandemic, and the event was a little smaller than in years past. Santa Claus, for instance, made a drive-by appearance, but was unable to stop for photos due to his busy schedule.

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The Del Ray Menorah and Christmas tree lightings are happening this Sunday (Dec. 5) night on Mount Vernon Avenue, but Santa Claus won’t be making an appearance due to COVID-19.

It’s the 11th straight year that Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group selected and cut down the tree at the Naughty Pines Nursery in Maryland, and donated it to the Del Ray Business Association. Additionally, BMC Smoot donated a flatbed truck and a driver to haul the 30-foot-tall tree to Del Ray, and Mike Dameron of Windmill Hill donated his cherrypicker crane to put it in place on Tuesday (Nov. 30).

Over the weekend, volunteers also decorated street signs and poles with pine and jingle balls on Mount Vernon Avenue.

“Mike and I are big into traditions,” Blackburn told ALXnow. “It’s really fun to see del ray transform into the holiday season, and it’s all done privately by volunteers, businesses and citizens. There’s no bid or city dollars spent on decorations.”

The Menorah and tree lighting is free to attend, and will includes holiday caroling. It will be at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the Pat Miller Neighborhood Square. The Avenue will also be lined with luminarias to honor the late Nancy Dunning.

Additionally, the Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl, which raises funds for Neighborhood Health, is on December 10.

Via Facebook

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Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts are more are planned for a Hanukkah ceremony in Alexandria tonight (Tuesday) scheduled to culminate with lighting candles on six-foot-tall menorah outside the Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street).

“Experience the festival of lights,” said host Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington on Facebook. “Come and share in the spirit and Joy of Chanukah at The Grand Chanukah Menorah Lighting in Old Town Alexandria at The Lyceum.”

The program is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

The program will include live music and a free light stick for every child. Pre-packaged potato latkes will be offered, along with hot cocoa, donuts, chocolate gelt and dreidels.

Capacity for the ceremony is limited so earlier registration is required. Masks and social distancing will also be required.

“We have a maximum amount of spaces available for this event,” Chabad Lubavitch said. “We will close reservations once we are full. All attendees must maintain mandatory 6 foot distancing between family units and wear appropriate face masks (when not eating). Do not attend if you have been exhibiting or exposed to someone with any COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test.”

Photo via Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington/Facebook

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Morning Notes

‘Legendary’ Local Merchant Family Retiring — “When members of the Dove family first started bringing their produce and flowers to Alexandria’s Market Square at 301 King Street, the clippity clop of their horses’ hooves provided the soundtrack on the trip to and fro… Saturday, December 21, 2019 was the end of the era. The Dove Family retired, selling their last boxwood tree and bits of seasonal holly at the Old Town Farmers Market on a sunny morning [after] nearly 200 years of entrepreneurship.” [Zebra]

Christmas Tree Safety Reminder from AFD — “Unattended Christmas trees can become a fire hazard if not watered regularly. @NFPA reports that each year, an average of 160 home fires start with Christmas trees. Show your tree a little love to prevent fires this holiday season.” [Twitter]

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from ALXnow — We wish all of our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah. ALXnow’s staff will be taking this afternoon and Christmas Day off. We’ll be back Thursday with more local news coverage.

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