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Martin Luther King Jr. (photo via National Park Service/Flickr)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is just around the corner, which means holiday closures and changes are planned around the city.

All City of Alexandria government offices will be closed on MLK day — Monday, Jan. 15 — as will Alexandria City Public Schools.

On Monday, DASH buses will operate on a Saturday Schedule. The King Street Trolley will run from the King Street Metro to City Hall every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. with adoptions beginning at noon.

A reflection on King’s life and legacy is scheduled for Monday from 4-6 p.m. at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial (101 Callahan Drive).

Photo via National Park Service/Flickr

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First Night in Alexandria (via Visit Alexandria)

Sunday isn’t just New Year’s Eve in Alexandria; the city has its own special celebration called First Night Alexandria.

The event returns at various venues across Old Town starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, and running to midnight.

Tickets are available for the event online, but those not attending should still be aware of road closures caused by the event this weekend.

According to a release from the city:

On Sunday, December 31, 2023, the following road closures will be in effect for First Night Alexandria. Please plan your travel route accordingly and drive alert and aware of heavy pedestrian traffic in the Old Town area.

Road closures for December 31, 2023, in the Old Town area include:

  • 100 block N. Royal Street – closed from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • 200 and 300 block of King Street – closed from 3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • 100 block of N. Fairfax Street – closed from 3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Union Street between Duke and Prince – closed between 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.
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SoberRide program advertisement (image via WRAP)

Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is offering its SoberRide program again this year to offer an alternative to drinking and driving.

Anyone in the region out late on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day in need of a ride home can get one through the 2023 Holiday SoberRide program. The program runs from 10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31 to 4 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1.

According to a release:

During this six-hour period, area residents ages 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download the Lyft app to their phones then enter the SoberRide code in the app’s ‘Payment’ tab (under the ‘Add Lyft Pass’ option) to receive their no-cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. A separate Holiday SoberRide promo code will be posted at 9:00 p.m. Sunday, December 31 on SoberRide

WRAP said in the release that 907 people used the program last New Year’s at an alternative to driving home impaired. The program is offered across the D.C. region.

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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)
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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.

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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!

Cheers,

The ALXnow Team

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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)

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.”

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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.

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The King Street Trolley (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Grinches be warned, the King Street Trolley through Old Town will be more festive than usual this Friday.

DASH said this Friday, trolley 405 will feature musical performances by Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students.

The trolley is free and runs from King Street Metro station to City Hall.

DASH said the performances will run from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22.

Those with a special affection for the trolley can also snag a King Street Trolley Christmas Tree ornament at the Visitor’s Center (221 King Street) in Old Town.

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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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