A short, plastic visitor with blue eyes, a red suit and a long white beard has been popping up on porches around the county.
The Arlington, VA Traveling Santa began his journey shortly after Thanksgiving. Since then, he’s been visiting families throughout the county, showing up on their doorsteps unannounced. Similar to a holiday chain letter, Santa is trying to make as many stops as he can before Christmas Day.
There are rules when Santa visits, but they’re simple: he can only stay at a house one night before he must move on to visit someone else. His next destination is chosen by whomever hosted him the previous night.
Santa’s hosts are encouraged to take photos of his visit before posting them to the Facebook page where his travels are being tracked.
However, Traveling Santa isn’t just something fun for the holidays. The coordinators of the campaign — who couldn’t be reached for comment — are also asking those who interact with Santa to donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
A representative for AFAC confirmed the organizers created a personal fundraising page for the cause. On Facebook, they’ve pledged to donate $1 for every “like” the page gets by Christmas — the count was nearing 200 Wednesday morning — and have agreed to match all donations made via the page.
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.
Arlington residents took a walk to La Tagliatella (2950 Clarendon Blvd) Saturday afternoon to get their furry friends’ picture taken with a white-bearded friend from the North Pole.
About 30 dogs got their photo taken with Santa Claus over the course of two hours. Santa, looking young for his years, dutifully posed with the pooches on the restaurant’s outdoor patio.
Each photo cost the humans $10, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, which rescues dogs from high-kill shelters, as strays or from owners who can no longer care for them and finds them new families.
Add in the restaurant’s $1 sangria and spiked cider special, and the event raised more than $300.
Photos courtesy La Tagliatella
The Linden Resources “Miracle on 23rd Street Celebration” will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Linden office at 750 23rd Street S.
The event is free and open to the public, will include a Christmas tree lighting, a brass band and children’s activities, including photos with Santa.
The event will kick off with a vendor gift fair from local businesses and will feature “local dignitaries,” according to a press release.
Linden Resources, a company devoted to helping those with disabilities find employment opportunities, will also collect donations for its “Vets Ready2Work” program that helps place military veterans with disabilities with jobs.
Thieves Steal Wheels from Hotel — Two suspects were seen stealing tires and rims from two vehicles parked at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) early Thursday morning. A security guard tried to intervene but the suspects fled. Arlington, particularly south Arlington, has seen an apparent uptick in wheel thefts recently. [NBC Washington]
Santa Coming to Clarendon Saturday — Santa Claus will be coming to Clarendon on Saturday evening. The Jolly Old Elf will arrive at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) on a “big red sleigh,” otherwise known as an Arlington County fire truck, at 4:00 p.m. He will be on hand for photos until 7:00 p.m. There will also be strolling carolers and other family-friendly entertainment. It’s the shopping center’s 12th annual “Winter Wonderland” event. [Market Common Clarendon]
Last Westover Farmers Market of 2012 — The new Westover Farmers Market will hold its last market of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The market, located at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road, will go on a holiday hiatus before returning on Jan. 13, 2013. The market’s winter hours run through April. [Westover Farmers Market]
Brink Commends Funding for Blind Students — Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington) is praising Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for his proposal to add $4.9 million in funding for blind and visually impaired students to the upcoming Virginia budget. The funds will help localities cover the cost of teachers, teacher’s aides and staff for blind and visually impaired students. [Alexandria News]
Bike Advocates Call For Plowed Trails — Bicyclists are calling on Arlington County to start plowing snow from bike and pedestrian trails. “By failing to plow the trails, [Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services] puts more people onto the streets in cars,” said one bicycle advocate during yesterday’s county-organized online snow chat. “Is that really what you want, during a snow event?” [Along the Pike]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
From gift wrapping to assisting Santa, volunteers are needed to help with a number of upcoming holiday events. More information about the items listed below, as well as other volunteer opportunities, can be found online.
- The Holiday Project of the National Capital Area seeks volunteers for one-on-one visits with local nursing home residents on Christmas Day. Many of the residents will not have any other visitors during the holidays, so they consider this time a special treat. Children are welcome and pets are welcome with advance notice. For information or to sign up, contact Robin Wiley at 703-370-0370.
- Deliver gifts to local children with incarcerated parents as part of Offender Aid Restoration‘s annual Project Christmas Angel program. Volunteers pick up the gifts on Thursday, December 13 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. and deliver them from December 14 through December 23. Each child receives a gift with a personalized note from their parent. Volunteers must have a car and a valid driver’s license. A partner is suggested (though not required) because parking in some neighborhoods can be a challenge. Contact Emily Freeman at 703-228-7031.
- The Civitan Club of Arlington needs help at the Photos with Santa booth at the Ballston Mall. Volunteers are needed from now through December 24 and must be at least 15-years-old. Helpers will perform various tasks including processing orders, taking photos, printing photos and directing people through the process. Contact Leandra Finder at 703-473-7245.
- The Reading Connection (TRC) seeks “Gift Wrap for Reading” volunteers for various shifts from December 8-24. Volunteers will gift wrap purchases at the Clarendon Barnes & Noble in return for donations to TRC. Contact Stephanie Berman at 703-528-8317 x10 or sign up online.
Everybody’s talking about Sandy, but another big arrival is coming to town soon: Santa.
Simon Malls says photos with Santa will begin two weeks from today, on Friday, Nov. 9, at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (1100 S. Hayes Street).
The Jolly Old Elf will be available for photos at Pentagon City mall through Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. He’ll also be present for a special holiday shopping night from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, and available for photos with pets (no exotic pets, please) from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Nov. 25 through Dec. 2.
St. Nick’s arrival in Arlington is a bit earlier than last year. His appearances at Pentagon City mall last year started on Nov. 12, 2011. No word on when Santa will be coming to Ballston Common Mall, but last year his first appearance in Ballston was scheduled for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
As mentioned in our Morning Poll, your shopping days before Christmas are dwindling.
Maybe you need some help scrambling to pick up those last minute presents. If so, never fear, because Santa has apparently set up a mailbox on a utility pole in North Arlington, near George Mason Drive and 26th St. N.
We’re not sure how often elves are collecting the letters, but we’re told neighborhood children have been frequenting the mailbox.