In actuality, the Saturday before Christmas is usually the biggest shopping day of the year. And with Cyber Monday and e-commerce encouraging online shopping, and Small Business Saturday encouraging shoppers to support local businesses, Black Friday may be losing its luster.
We wanted to check with those who are actually heading out to the malls and shopping centers today: how big are the crowds?
Alternatively, if you had to head into work today instead of shopping — like us — there’s an option for you.
School Board Compromise on Stratford History — While opposing efforts to designate the former Stratford Junior High a historic district, the Arlington School Board has adopted a renovation plan that keeps its facade intact and has set aside $250,000 for commemorative artwork and educational displays. Currently the home of the H-B Woodlawn secondary program, the school — which was the first in Virginia to integrate — is slated to become a new neighborhood middle school. [Washington Post]
Arlington Reservist Suing Benghazi Committee — Arlington resident Bradley Podliska is suing his former employer, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, claiming he was wrongly forced out of his job and then was defamed on national TV by the committee’s chair. Podliska, an Air Force reservist, says the committee was too hyper-focused on pinning blame on Hillary Clinton. At the same time, he says he was reprimanded for looking into the post-Benghazi talking points of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. [Courthouse News Service]
APS to Hold Community Budget Meetings — Arlington Public Schools will be holding three community meetings in December to gather public feedback ahead of the creation of its proposed FY 2017 budget. [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington’s Secret Santa Program — Arlington County is again organizing a Secret Santa program, which will distribute gifts to more than 1,000 needy individuals in the Arlington community this holiday season. Residents, churches and school groups who’d like to participate are encouraged to donate $25 gift cards to local grocery, drug, and clothing stores. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
From grocery stores to community organizations, Arlington residents have a number of options for finding the right tree.
Local Christmas tree sales aren’t particularly well-publicized online, so for many residents the strategy is to go to where they bought their tree last year.
Here are some places in Arlington County that have been reliable vendors over the years from which to pick up your annual fir.
- The Optimist Club of Arlington, 2213 N. Glebe Road
The annual tree sale in the Wells Fargo Bank lot along Lee Highway will open this Saturday. Its hours are from 2-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12-8 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 830 23rd Street S.
The Knights of Columbus will sell trees at this church near Crystal City from 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends. An opening date wasn’t specified, but the sale will run through Dec. 20 or until the trees are gone, whichever comes first.
- Cathedral of St. Thomas More, 3901 N. Cathedral Lane
Another local Knights of Columbus organization will be selling trees in Arlington this season. Signs for the sale are up along Glebe Road, across from the Mr. Wash car wash. Last year, the sale was open seven days a week, from 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends.
- Boy Scout Troop 162, 6000 Wilson Blvd
In previous years, this sale began during the first week of December and sold out in less than two weeks. The troop’s sale does have a Facebook page to follow for updates.
- Food Star parking lot, 950 S. George Mason Drive
The Arlington South Lions Club has sold Christmas trees here for years, typically from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.
- Unleashed by Petco parking lot, 5400 Lee Highway
Christmas trees are sold from this lot along N. Harrison Street, along with other seasonal items, like fireworks around the Fourth of July and pumpkins around Halloween.
- Whole Foods, 2700 Wilson Blvd
If you’re in Clarendon or Courthouse and on the car-free diet, this is the place to go. The trees tend to be on the smaller side, which presumably makes carrying them home easier.
- Local farmers markets
Local farmers markets often stock Christmas trees, some of which are grown right here in Virginia. Here’s a list of farmers markets in Arlington.
Other popular locations just outside of Arlington include the Home Depot in Falls Church, Greenstreet Gardens on W. Braddock Road near Fairlington and Merrifield Garden Center on Lee Highway in Fairfax County.
Know of any other Christmas tree sales in the area? Let us know in the comments.
A photo went viral this week, showing a sign at a Nordstrom store.
“We won’t be decking our halls until Friday, November 27,” the sign said. “Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”
Never mind that the photo was from 2009, it brings up a discussion-worthy point: has Christmas creep gone too far? Should other retailers hold off until after Thanksgiving to start putting up Christmas decorations?
Over at the Nordstrom store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City yesterday, there were no signs of Christmas decorations — and no signs of explanatory signs — inside. Outside of the department store was another story: the future home of the mall’s Santa Claus already had decorated trees along with red carpets and rope lines, waiting for Saint Nick to arrive along with adoring throngs of youngsters and parents.
So which would you prefer? A holly, jolly November, or some holiday restraint?
Now that the Christmas season is over, Arlington is once again offering residents a chance to turn their trees into mulch.
Starting Monday, Jan. 5, those with curbside trash collection can set their coniferous trees on the curb next to their trash can to be picked up. The trees will be picked up on the regular trash day until Jan. 16, after which they will still be picked up, just not recycled.
All trees must be cleared of lights, ornaments and all other decorations, as well as taken out of their stands, before being placed on the curb by 6:00 a.m. on trash day.
Those without curbside trash pickup can call (703) 228-6570 to schedule an appointment to bring their trees to the Solid Waste Bureau, along with proof or Arlington residence.
The trees will be recycled and turned into mulch, which is available for free for Arlington residents.
It’s Christmas Eve, and very little is stirring in Arlington, as 2 in 5 are out of town and very few of those remaining are at work.
Most of the activity around town can be found at the mall, as procrastinators wrap up their Christmas shopping.
On this Dec. 24, ARLnow.com again wishes you and yours a happy and peaceful holiday. This has been a volatile year of change in Arlington, but regardless of your stance on those changes, Christmas is a time we can come together and be thankful for the the great community we have.
We’ll see you back here on Friday as we shake off the eggnog hangover and get back to work.
Four out of ten D.C. area residents — nearly 2.5 million people — are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the 13-day holiday travel period around Christmas and New Year’s, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
That’s up 3.3 percent from 2013.
Most of those travelers will be taking to the roads — 91 percent — while 5 percent will be flying and 4 percent will be traveling via other modes of transportation, AAA said. The busiest day on the roads: today, Dec. 23.
The weather is already making travel more difficult. Departure delays ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, due to fog, are being reported for flights going to eastern seaboard cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
While the 24th and 25th are expected to be lighter travel days, it’s yet to be seen what impacts the expected wind and rain may have.
Locally, forecasters say to expect the fog to linger through this evening. From the National Weather Service:
… PATCHY DENSE FOG INTO EARLY AFTERNOON…
PATCHY DENSE FOG WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP ACROSS PORTIONS OF EASTERN AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA LATE THIS MORNING. LOW CLOUDS ACROSS THE AREA WILL CONTINUE TO LOWER IN HEIGHT TOWARD THE SURFACE… REDUCING VISIBILITIES TO NEAR OR BELOW A QUARTER MILE IN LOCALIZED AREAS.
IF TRAVELING… USE EXTRA CAUTION AND BE PREPARED FOR QUICKLY REDUCED VISIBILITIES IN FOG.
Photo courtesy @SBDSLLC
All of the courts in the Arlington County Justice Center will be closed tomorrow, Dec. 24, and the DMV select will close tomorrow at noon.
Arlington Public Schools will also be closed on Dec. 24, and students won’t return to school until Monday, Jan. 5.
All county community centers and recreational classes are cancelled for Christmas and the day after, but parks grounds remain open at normal hours.
Parking will not be enforced on Dec. 25 or Dec. 26.
Those with Thursday trash and recycling collection will have their scheduled pushed back a day, and should put their cans on the side of the road by 6:00 a.m. on Friday. Those with Friday pickup will be on their normal schedule in all likelihood — because of the added workload, some houses might not see their trash picked up until 5:00 p.m. Saturday, according to the county.
Only ART buses 41 and 51 will be operating on Christmas Day, on their Sunday schedules. Along with 41 and 51, routes 51, 77 and 87 will also operate on Sunday schedules on friday.
There will be no parking enforcement on either day. Regular services and schedules resume on Saturday, and offices will reopen on Monday.
Flickr pool photo by Desiree L.C.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd) is holding a service this Sunday for those who experience what the church calls “the dark side of the holidays.”
“This time of year can be a stressful time for most, but it can be especially difficult for people who may have suffered a major loss or have had a major life-changing experience in the past year,” the church wrote in an email. “Even happy memories can bring pain during the holidays. And, today’s commercialization and idealized images of what our holidays should be like are standards and expectations enough to stress the most ardent among us.”
The service will be on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all, but is not appropriate for young children, the church said. The service, called “Standing Outside the Season,” will be hosted by Rev. Aaron McEmrys. Childcare will be provided.
SoberRide, the local anti-drunk driving program that offers free cab rides during certain festive occasions, has launched for the entire holiday season.
The program started up Friday night and will run through New Year’s Day.
Every night through Jan. 1, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., those in the D.C. area who have been drinking and need a lift home can call 1-800-200-TAXI for a free cab ride up to a $30 fare.
Arlington’s Red Top Cab is among the local D.C. area cab companies participating. Organizers say SoberRide saves lives.
“Last December, nearly 1,900 (1,877) Greater Washington residents did the right thing and availed themselves of this lifesaving service rather than possibly driving home impaired,” said Kurt Erickson, president of the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), which runs SoberRide. “For SoberRide’s hours of operation during just last New Year’s Eve, such ridership (463) translated into the removal of a would-be drunk driver from our shared roadways every 62-seconds.”
WRAP and the Arlington County Police Department unveiled a half-cab, half-police cruiser (pictured) in 2012 to help promote the SoberRide program.
More than 25,000 volunteers are expected to flock to Arlington National Cemetery tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 13) to place wreaths on the graves of hundreds of thousands of veterans for the holidays.
The group Wreaths Across America, now in its 23rd year, hopes to place wreaths on all 230,000 graves in the cemetery this year.
An opening ceremony will be held at 9:00 a.m. at the McClellan Arch, and volunteers will begin laying wreaths at 9:30 a.m. Separate wreath laying ceremonies are planned at the President Kennedy gravesite, the USS Maine Mast and the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Instructions on how to volunteer and how to get to the cemetery (take Metro, don’t drive) are available on the Wreaths Across America website and in the video above.
Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money
Fmr. Pentagon Police Chief Dies — Richard Keevill, the former chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, died Saturday. Keevill served as chief of the Pentagon police agency from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, he served with the Marines in Vietnam and later was the 1st Sergeant in charge of the Virginia State Police station on Columbia Pike. On Sept. 11, 2001, he ran into the still-burning Pentagon several times to search for survivors. Keevill died of natural causes. His funeral is planned for Saturday. [Facebook]
Redevelopment May Close Carpool — Developer Penzance and real estate investor Lionstone are working to close a deal to acquire and redevelop the Carpool property in Ballston. The long-time Arlington bar was previously slated to be redeveloped eight years ago but those plans fell through in part due to the recession. [Washington Business Journal]
Another Landlord Spat for Ray’s Owner — Ray’s Hell Burger Michael Landrum has gotten into another landlord-tenant dispute, this time with the owner of a building in D.C. that’s set to house his new restaurant, tentatively called Steaks in the City. Landrum was kicked out of his Ray’s Hell Burger locations in Rosslyn in 2013 following a dispute with his then-landlord. [Eater]
Christmas Beer Event in Courthouse — Fire Works Pizza (2350 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse will be hosting a tap takeover dubbed the 12 Beers of Christmas tonight. Starting at 5:00 p.m., the restaurant will offer holiday beers from St. Bernardus, Port City, Great Lakes and other brewers. The event is open to the public. [Fire Works Pizza]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber. Disclosure: Fire Works Pizza is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
The Optimist Club of Arlington‘s annual Christmas tree sale started this past weekend, giving Arlington residents the chance to stop by the Wells Fargo parking lot at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road to pick out this year’s symbolic evergreen.
This is the 67th year the Optimist Club — which sponsors “academic and sports activities designed to give Arlington’s youth a better chance to succeed in today’s world,” according to its website — has held its annual sale, which is one of its biggest fundraisers.
This year, the lot is open from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, from noon to 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Trees range in prices from $30 for a five-foot white pine to $230 for a 12-foot Fraser fir.
All of the trees being sold are “freshly cut” from Jefferson County, N.C., according to the Optimist Club. Garlands and wreaths are also available for purchase.
There are numerous events around the county this month, from holiday markets to ice skating “winter spectaculars.”
Here’s a selection of some of the more notable events in the area:
- Shirlie Lights Up the Village, an annual tree lighting event with live music, carriage rides and a visit from Santa Claus, will take place in Shirlington Village on Dec. 3 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
- This Friday, Dec. 5, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Miracle on 23rd Street is back for another year. At the Linden Resources at 750 23rd Street S., Santa Claus will ride through on an Arlington County Fire Department truck, kicking off an evening of children’s activities and holiday music.
- On Dec. 5 and 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the Rosslyn Business Improvement is bringing back the Rosslyn Holiday Market for another year. More than 35 vendors with products as diverse as soaps, gourmet popcorn, metalworks and French macarons will be on hand to offer shoppers heaps of gift options. After Friday’s market closes, the BID will hold a ceremony lighting up Rosslyn’s skyline.
- Pentagon Row is hosting “Let It Row,” a winter event at its ice rink, on Saturday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The event is free and features a DJ and a “s’mores bar.”
- For the first time, Penrose Square on Columbia Pike is hosting its own “Winter Wonderland” event, on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. They will have their own Santa Claus available for pictures, plus carolers, hot chocolate and cookies from Giant and ornament decoration stations. The event will close with a tree lighting ceremony in the breezeway outside Giant.
- Market Common Clarendon, at the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and N. Edgewood Street, is hosting a “Winter Wonderland,” on Saturday Dec. 13. This free event is replete with Santa Clause on a fire truck at noon, ice carvings and characters in life-size snow globes.
- The Arlington Career Center, at 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, will host this year’s Arlington Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will be pizza provided by RedRocks, more than 40 vendors, singers from the Wakefield High School choir and manicures from Career Center students.
Photo courtesy Linden Resources. Disclosure: Rosslyn BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Two of Three Dem Candidates Endorse Streetcar — Two of the three Democratic candidates for County Board — Alan Howze and Peter Fallon — have voiced support for the Columbia Pike streetcar project. The third Democratic contender — Cord Thomas — has concerns about the proposal. [Sun Gazette]
Lack of Decal in Fairfax Affects Arlington — Eight years ago Fairfax County became the lone jurisdiction in Northern Virginia to abandon car tax decals, and Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary believes that’s costing Arlington $300,000. O’Leary said it’s too labor intensive to check every single vehicle parked in Arlington without a decal to determine if the vehicle is from Fairfax or if the owner didn’t pay Arlington taxes. [Sun Gazette]
Civic Leadership Program Deadline Extended — Arlington County has extended the deadline for residents interested in signing up for the eight week Neighborhood College program. Participants will learn communication and influencing skills, how to organize for action and how to give and receive feedback, among other things. The deadline to sign up for the free series is now January 10, and classes begin February 13. [Arlington County]
Police Officer Profiled — A member of the Arlington County Police Department — Capt. Kamran Afzal — has been profiled in Asian Fortune. The Pakistani American studied economics in college before turning to a life in law enforcement. He has been with the department for 20 years. [Asian Fortune]
Christmas Tree Collection Begins — County workers began collecting discarded Christmas trees yesterday. The trees are collected curbside until January 17 and will be turned into mulch. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by wolfkann