From Monday, Jan. 3 through Friday, Jan. 14, residents can place trees at their curb for pickup. The trees should be curbside “no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day after removing ALL decorations, nails, stands. Do not place trees in plastic bags,” according to the county.
Trees collected these two weeks will be turned into free mulch that locals can pick up from the Solid Waste Bureau’s Earth Products Yard in Shirlington (4300 29th Street S.) or at the corner of 26th Street N. and Yorktown Blvd.
“Make sure the tree is bare and ready for composting,” the county says. “Trees over 8 feet long will need to be dismantled.”
After Friday, Jan. 14, Christmas trees can be put on the curb as part of the county’s year-round yard waste collection.
Arlington residents who don’t have regular curbside pickup — including folks who live in townhomes, apartments and condominiums — can bring their live Christmas trees to the Earth Products Yard in Shirlington.
The county asks those looking to drop off their trees to call (703) 228-5000 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule a weekday appointment. Proof of residence in Arlington is required for drop off.
DES also has a guide for reducing holiday waste, including how to dispose of tissue paper and bows and what Christmas decor can’t go into blue bins.
Nearly all county operations and services, including COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine clinics, are set to be closed during the Christmas and New Years holidays.
County government offices, courts, community centers, and libraries, will all be closed on Friday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve), Saturday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day), Friday, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve), and Saturday, Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day).
The new Long Bridge Aquatics Center will reopen on Sunday, Jan. 2, though other community centers will remain closed that day.
For those looking for a booster shoot, county COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be closed Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 3.
The three Curative testing sites in Arlington will also be closed Dec. 24, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1 — and will close early at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31, even as lines to get tested remain long amid the current surger in Covid cases.
The sites will be open normal hours (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, however.
Arlington Public Schools closed on Monday, Dec. 20 for the winter holiday break. The school system is currently set to reopen for classes Monday, Jan 3.
Trash, recycling, and yard waste collection will happen as scheduled on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31,
As for some good news, parking meters will not be enforced on Dec. 24, Dec. 25, Dec. 31, and Jan. 1.
WMATA and ART buses are also revising schedules for the holidays. On Christmas Eve, Metrorail is operating from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., scaling back by three hours from a normal Friday. Metrobus will be operating on a Sunday schedule. Metrorail is reducing service by an hour on Christmas Day while keeping a normal Saturday schedule.
A select number of ART bus routes will operate on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Day, with the rest not operating.
New Year’s Eve will be different than in years past, with Metrorail staying open only until 1 a.m. as opposed to 2 a.m. Metrobus will operate on a Sunday schedule on that day and, on New Year’s Day, Metrorail will close an hour earlier than a normal Saturday.
ART buses will run its normal route schedule on New Year’s Eve, but a Sunday schedule on New Year’s Day.
With just five days until Christmas, Arlington homes are decking the halls with boughs of holly — and then some.
Dazzling light displays and head-turning inflatable menageries can be found throughout the county.
Here’s a collection of some homes bringing holiday cheer to neighborhood kids and adults, with Santas, illuminated trees, snowmen and Buddy the Elf.
Know of any other elaborate holiday displays around town? Post some photos in the comments.
(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) The annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery is set to take place this weekend.
The event is taking place on Saturday, Dec. 18. It will look a little different due to the pandemic, according to Wreaths Across America, the organization that puts it on.
Volunteers who wish to help place wreaths on the gravestones of fallen military servicemembers are required to register in advance. They will then show their email confirmation and a photo ID to participate, the event’s website says. Face coverings are required in any indoor part of the cemetery.
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of all those that want to participate, and as such, will have designated entry gates and times for a limited number of registered volunteers to enter,” Wreaths Across America said.
COVID-19 almost halted the event last year, as it was initially canceled but later reinstated — as former President Donald Trump rushed to take credit for the reversal. Last year, 1.7 million wreaths from Maine were placed on gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 2,800 other locations nationwide.
“As one of the largest veteran cemeteries in the United States, the goal of placing a wreath on every marker is lofty,” the nonprofit said. “Our volunteers are committed to Remembering and Honoring our nation’s veterans through the laying of wreaths on the graves of our country’s fallen heroes and the act of saying the name of each veteran aloud.”
This past Sunday, family pass holders had the opportunity to lay wreaths at their loved ones’ graves prior to public access.
Wreaths Across America is also accepting individual wreath sponsorships. In the past, the nonprofit has been the subject of scrutiny for its close ties to a Maine wreath manufacturer, both of which are run by the same family.
Arlington County police are planning a number of road closures in the area, associated with the wreath-laying event. More from ACPD:
The annual Wreaths Across America escort of handmade, balsam wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery will begin arriving in Arlington County on Friday, December 17th. The annual convoy of wreaths, originating in Maine and ending at Arlington National Cemetery, includes over 75 tractor trailers and numerous support vehicles that will reach the Cemetery at various times throughout the day.
On Saturday, December 18th, several thousand volunteers will descend upon the Cemetery and help lay wreaths on every gravesite throughout the property beginning at 8:00 a.m. The public can anticipate large crowds and heavy pedestrian traffic related to the event. Traffic is expected to be impacted in and around the immediate area and motorists are advised to allow for extended travel times and seek alternate routes to reduce road congestion.
Longtime Local Business Leader Dies — “Longtime Arlington Chamber of Commerce president and civic leader Rich Doud passed away Dec. 9 at Virginia Hospital Center, the chamber announced Friday. Doud served as president of the Chamber for 23 years before retiring in May 2014. Among his many accomplishments were the creation of the Arlington Business Hall of Fame — to which he was enshrined in 2017 — and the Community Action Committee, and the establishment of Leadership Arlington, now known as Leadership Center for Excellence.” [InsideNova, Sun Gazette]
Televised Tree Lighting in Rosslyn — “The Rosslyn tree lighting was live on 7News Thursday evening with live music. Rosslyn Cheer 2021 includes the tree lighting, a holiday market at Central Place Plaza, raffles, and other giveaways.” [WJLA]
Former County Board Member Dies — “[Roye] Lowry, who served a four-year term on the Arlington County Board in the early 1960s (chairing it for a year) and later was active in a host of civic affairs, died Dec. 4, Goodwin House officials confirmed to the Sun Gazette. He was 103 years old – probably the longest lived of any person who has served on the County Board since it was established in the early 1930s.” [Sun Gazette]
Top Brunch Spots in Arlington — “Everyone knows that weekends are better with brunch, and in our area, it’s easy to find a spread to suit just about any taste or budget. Check this list of local brunch spots in Arlington to satisfy that midday hankering for dishes ranging from corned beef hash to waffles stuffed with apples, plus coffee, cocktails and other requisite hangover cures.” [Arlington Magazine]
It’s Monday — Today will be clear throughout the day, with a low of 38 and a high of 54. Sunrise at 7:18 a.m., sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tuesday will be mostly cloudy, with a low of 38 and a high of 55.
Flickr pool photo by Cyrus.W
The holiday spirit is alive and well in Arlington, with a number of markets and events planned over the next couple of weeks.
First up is Rosslyn’s holiday market, set for this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 10-11) at 1800 N. Lynn Street. Friday night will feature a celebration for the dogs of Rosslyn, including giveaways for the pups as well as a chance for your canine to take photos with Santa Claus. Saturday will feature a family-friendly performance at Synetic Theater and photos with Santa Claus.
There will also be food, free hot chocolate, and a dozen vendors.
After that, the first annual Ballston Holiday Wreath Market is taking place next Friday and Saturday (Dec. 17-18) at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Stuart Street.
Organized by the Ballston BID, the two-day event will include a pop-up outdoor bar, live music from the Arlington Children’s Chorus, a cello performance from local TikTok personality Andrew Savoia, a light art projection from Robin Bell, Santa Claus selfies, and holiday wreaths for sale.
Proceeds from the wreath sales will go towards local nonprofits including Bridges to Independence, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, Culpepper Garden, Doorways for Women and Families, and The Sycamore School. Wreaths can be ordered in advance online for pick-up at the market.
Arlington County Police Department’s toy-collecting cruiser will also be there on Saturday, ready to receive wrapped gifts that will be donated to area kids.
Performing at 5 p.m. on Friday, 25-year-old Ballston resident Andrew Savoia became gained social media notability last year with his cello covers of modern pop songs. Washingtonian described his music as “Cardi B meets Beethoven.”
Robin Bell’s light art show will be projected onto the Ballston Macy’s storefront, described as a “celebration of holidays around the world.” Bell is known for sometimes politically charged and profound art projections. He previously projected a beach scene in Ballston in 2020. Bell’s holiday illumination will be displayed from 7-9 p.m. each night.
The outdoor bar will include warm beverages, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic hot chocolate, a “mistletoe spice cocktail,” beer, and wine. The hope is that the Ballston Wreath Market will become an annual Arlington tradition, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.
The latte competition is taking place this Sunday morning (Dec. 12), starting at 11 a.m., outside of 2121 Crystal Drive. It will feature seasonal drinks from Commonwealth Joe, The Freshman, and Origin Coffee Lab & Kitchen. Attendees will be able to sample minty creations from each neighborhood coffee shop and vote on their favorite. The event is free.
The next weekend, on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 17-18), the BID is holding a holiday market outside of 2121 Crystal Drive, with an assortment of live music, shopping, and food.
Friday night’s market will feature music from Laygod, a self-described “cult-fiction rock n roll band,” and Nicaraguan musician Pedro Night. Playing Saturday’s market is Jerel Crockett. More than 25 vendors are expected to offer their wares.
In addition to the events, there are a number of light displays in Crystal City. At Long Bridge Park, more than 6,000 white and blue lights are twinkling along the nearly-mile walk along Long Bridge Park Esplanade overlooking the Potomac River. At Gateway Green, the former location of Summer House at 101 12th Street S., “an immersive winter lights art installation” is ongoing through the holiday season.
Can’t get enough Christmas? Other local holiday events can be found in our Arlington event calendar.
First Lady Jill Biden is planning to visit Arlington on Friday afternoon.
Biden will “travel to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia to participate in a Toys for Tots event with military families,” according to the White House.
The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. It’s not open to the general public.
Locals should expect some rolling road closures in the area for Biden’s motorcade.
A miracle is shutting down a portion of 23rd Street S. near Crystal City tonight (Friday).
The 58th edition of the holiday event “Miracle on 23rd Street” is taking place on Friday night from 7-9 p.m. at 750 23rd Street S. in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood.
The event will feature a Christmas tree lighting, hot chocolate, a “holiday-themed virtual reality experience,” music from the Bluemont Brass Quintet, and, of course, an appearance from Santa Claus, who usually arrives via fire truck. It is being put on by the local non-profit Melwood, which advocates and employs people with differing abilities.
Online registrations are being requested, though walk-up attendees will be accepted.
“Miracle on 23rd Street” will also close a one block stretch of traffic in both directions for several hours.
From 6-9 p.m., 23rd Street S. in between S. Hayes Street and S. Grant Street will be closed off to vehicular traffic, Arlington County police said.
Last year’s event was mostly virtual, though Santa did drive around the neighborhood.
TRAFFIC ALERT ⚠️: S. 23rd St. between S. Hayes St. and S. Grant St. will be closed in both directions from 6 PM to 9 PM on Friday, December 3 for the annual Miracle on 23rd Street. https://t.co/VJyo5Y8HfB
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) November 30, 2021
The lights are coming on at Shirlington next week.
On Thursday (Dec. 2), the Village at Shirlington is hosting the holiday event “Light Up the Village” from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
The event will feature a Christmas tree lighting, caroling from Bishop O’Connell students, strolling entertainment, performances from Signature Theatre, horse and carriage rides, and selfies with Santa. The evening is being emceed by NBC Channel 4’s Jummy Olabanji and will benefit event partner non-profit Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).
While horse and carriage rides are free and there’s no need to sign up in advance, donations to AFAC are welcomed.
“Donations of non-perishables and cash to benefit AFAC will be accepted from those taking a horse and carriage ride,” writes a spokesperson for Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns the retail and restaurant center, which is set for eventual redevelopment. “AFAC volunteers will be onsite at the horse and carriage rides to collect these donations.”
Attendees will be able to “sip and stroll” with an an alcoholic drink from a local, participating restaurant.
Performers and musicians from Signature Theatre’s current production of Rent will be performing about a half dozen holiday and winter songs during the event as well.
The ownership group behind the Lot, the nearby and popular outdoor beer garden, is putting together the seasonal pop-up. It will open on Friday at 8 p.m. and continue through January, a company spokesperson writes ARLnow in response to an inquiry.
“Guests can expect new holiday drinks, a totally winterized change in decor, and an awesome lineup of events in the space!,” writes the spokesperson.
Cocktails will include ones with festive names like the “Polar Express” (Grey goose, blueberry vodka, blueberry Red Bull with a “white shimmer”) and the christmas cookie-flavored “Ornament Shooters.”
“They’re also bringing back the popular “Jingle Juice Punch,” which is made with a secret recipe but includes White Claw seltzers,” notes the spokesperson.
This version will be pretty similar to last year’s winter wonderland, though it will actually be opened for the holiday season.
The 2020 version was reportedly delayed from opening due to “typical internal delays,” like equipment arriving on time. The County Board also didn’t approve the bar’s request for a live entertainment and dancing permit until mid-December. The food permit wasn’t approved until December 29.
“The winter wonderland theme received a lot of positive feedback last year! People loved the festive decorations, Christmas lights, and holiday spirit, and we’re excited to share this experience with our guests again,” Michael Bramson, co-owner of the pop-up bar, writes ARLnow. “The Winter Wonderland is quickly turning into one of our favorite holiday traditions.”
Since first popping up last year in the midst of the pandemic, Clarendon Pop-Up Bar has decked out the space at 3185 Wilson Blvd with a number of themes. Most recently, it traveled back time to the 1980s with hot pink and blue hues reminiscent of “Miami Vice.”
But the bar will be moving from the hot, sandy beaches of Miami to the cold, snowy landscape of the North Pole.
The long-time nightlife venue Clarendon Ballroom closed as its prior iteration nearly two years ago. In late December 2020, Monument Realty purchased the building at 3185 Wilson Blvd for nearly $7 million and signed a 21-month lease with the Lot’s owners to operate pop-up bars out of the space.
While there’s another nine months on that agreement, Monument Realty told Washington Business Journal that it was a possibility that the ownership group could take over the space permanently.
Another big difference compared from last year’s pop-up is that indoor capacity restrictions and mask requirements have been considerable loosened. There are no longer any capacity restrictions and masks are no longer required indoors, though they are encouraged.
Arlington has several Christmas tree sales, though that number seems to have diminished in 2021 compared to recent years. Unsurprisingly the pandemic is playing a role, but another cause is a reported tree shortage.
The Knights of Columbus Christmas tree lot at Our Lady of Lourdes, on 23rd Street S. near Crystal City, won’t be having a sale this year, after cancelling in 2020 due to Covid-related concerns. This time around, the shortage is the primary reason.
“Our supplier for the last 15 years recently informed us that he had supply chain issues and would not be able to provide us with trees this year,” a spokesperson told ARLnow. “We contacted various other farms in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia but none were able to provide trees either.”
They plan on coming back next year, however.
“We will work during the offseason to establish a relationship with a new supplier and plan on opening next year,” the group said.
The Arlington South Lions Club also won’t be having its sale near the intersection of Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run Drive in 2021, a club member said. It would have been the sale’s 59th year. The cancellation is not Covid- or shortage-related, we’re told.
Below is a list of sales that ARLnow has confirmed are happening.
- The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 75th annual sale at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Lee Highway, directly behind the Wells Fargo Bank and next to Metro 29 diner. It starts at noon on Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving. The sale will be daily until the trees are sold out. Organizers claim it to be “the LARGEST tree lot in all of Northern Virginia by volume” and sell about 2,500 trees a year. All trees are grown on the Virginia and North Carolina border and cut on Nov. 23 and Nov. 30. They recommend buying early since it’s anticipated they’ll sell out by Dec. 12. Proceeds go to youth sports programs and scholarships.
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at 4000 Lorcom Lane in Cherrydale also kicks off its sale on Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving. Two-hundred trees will from Vermont will be offered. The hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Organizers are recommending buying early since 85% of the trees were sold during the first weekend. Volunteers are needed.
- The Clarendon United Methodist Church at 606 N. Irving Street is holding its pre-sale now with tree pick-up starting on Saturday, Nov. 27. There will also be a lot set up for those who wish to come in person. However, only 200 trees are available (plus a number of wreaths) and the church expects to sell out quickly. All the trees come from Canada, cost $75, and proceeds will go to the non-profit Arlington Thrive.
- The boys and girls of Scout Troop 167 are partnering with Mount Olivet United Methodist Church at 1500 N. Glebe Road in the Ballston area this year for a Christmas tree sale. The sale will only be for three days, the weekend after Thanksgiving. It starts Friday evening and runs through Sunday afternoon. A rain date will be the following weekend. Wreaths, medium, and large trees will be available. There’ll be no small trees this year due to drought but bigger trees can be trimmed. Pre-ordering and, even, home delivery are available this year.
- Boy Scout Troop 162 is again hosting its Christmas tree sale at the Dominion Hills pool parking lot at 5960 Wilson Blvd. The sale kicks off on Friday, Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Regular hours are Monday-Friday from 4-8 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wreaths and garlands will also be sold. Cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted. “Boy Scout Troop 162 has been selling Christmas trees to their Arlington neighbors since the early 1970’s,” says the troop’s Facebook page. “We are proud to say that we have sold trees to generations of families and look forward to many more years!”
Aware of any other local Christmas tree sales? Let us know in the comments.