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That’s the Spirit

If you’re not yet feeling in the mood for the holidays, may I suggest wrapping yourself in a strand of tiny twinkle lights and singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer until you’re sufficiently festive?

If that option isn’t appealing for some reason, then get yourself out the door: there’s a lot of festive stuff going on out there.

I’m a bit spoiled for riches here in Washington DC. There are of course plenty of big-ticket events, such as the Nutcracker or – new this year to the District – a light maze constructed on the Washington Nationals’ baseball diamond (the closest I’ll ever get to a sports field). But inevitably I tend to be partial to the less-heralded, free-for-the-viewing decorations that have popped up all over the city: a giant Christmas tree in the main hall of Union Station, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the lawn of the Capitol, the small-but-jolly Christmas market downtown. Restaurants and fancy hotels are also good spots to enjoy some holiday buzz. The Willard hotel decks its halls with abandon and then hosts free Christmas-caroling concerts every evening (though the cocktails from the hotel bar are very not free).

This year I also discovered a marvelous display at the US Botanic Garden: models of DC monuments and iconic buildings constructed entirely out of all-natural plant materials, such as twigs and bark and acorns. More intricate than any gingerbread house I’ve ever seen (and hopefully more durable), they were a pleasant surprise nestled among dozens of poinsettias.

Even if you’re not in DC, and even if you can’t travel to a place like Germany for the ultimate Christmas immersion, every town gets into the spirit one way or the other. Wherever you live, December is the perfect month to Live Like a Tourist and soak up the holiday cheer around you. Ho ho ho!

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