Smithsonian Associates offers plenty of ways for people to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of the holidays. A wide variety of in-person and livestreamed programs provide insights into holiday traditions, explore the classical sounds of Christmas and spotlight scrumptious desserts and cocktails from holidays celebrated worldwide. Studio arts workshops add a touch of nature to participants’ holiday décor and a reflective writing workshop presents new ways to contemplate the gifts of winter. The Discovery Theater perennial, “Seasons of Light,” offers a great reason to gather the family during the festive season.
Modern Evergreen Wreath (online)
Wednesday, Nov. 29, or Tuesday, Dec. 5; 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET
Both beginners and students with floral design experience can create a modern wreath design with fresh evergreens on a metal hoop in this online workshop.
Crepe Paper Flowers: Paperwhites (online)
Saturday, Dec. 2; 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
This online, weekend workshop is designed for students to create delicate and cheerful paperwhites from crepe paper.
’Tis the Season: An Analysis of Hallmark Channel Holiday Movies (in person and online)
Sunday, Dec. 3; 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET
Educator and lecturer Stef Woods explores why Hallmark Channel holiday movies have been hugely successful during an in-person program at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center.
Winter’s Colors: A Reflective Writing Workshop (online)
Tuesday, Dec. 5; 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. ET
Designed for writers of all levels and for the curious, this online workshop invites participants to look outwardly at art and to look inwardly through writing. Participants can explore new ways to contemplate the gifts of winter inspired by the vibrant “Winter Landscape” by Wassily Kandinsky.
Celebrating Christmas, Tudor Style (online)
Tuesday, Dec. 5; 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger provides a colorful glimpse into how members of the Tudor dynasty and their courtiers marked the festive season—as well as how the rest of the country celebrated Christmas in their homes. This program will be presented on Zoom.
Orchids for the Holidays (online)
Tuesday, Dec. 5; 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Participants can take a break from the stress of the season to enjoy an entertaining and informative evening with an orchid expert and come away with an elegant orchid centerpiece. This program will be presented on Zoom.
Cheers! A Cocktail for Every Day (in person)
Wednesday, Dec. 6; 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Writer and cocktail expert Philip Greene hosts a lively evening at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center in which he shares an array of stories, recipes and toasts to share with friends and family. Participants will enjoy light snacks and cocktail samples to complete the celebration.
Making the Holidays Beautiful at the White House (online)
Saturday, Dec. 9; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET
Coleen Christian Burke, a former White House design partner, examines how modern first ladies have combined the shimmer of holiday magic with meaningful reflection, creating a celebration narrative for all Americans. This program will be presented on Zoom.
Classical Sounds of Christmas (online)
Tuesday, Dec. 12, and Tuesday, Dec. 19; 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
In a two-session celebration of the festive season, concert pianist Rachel Franklin explores how classical Western composers created a canon of both secular and sacred experiences that are now deeply rooted in people’s collective seasonal expectations. This program will be presented on Zoom.
Holiday Desserts Around the World (in person)
Thursday, Dec. 14; 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Food historian Francine Segan explores the intriguing stories behind America’s cherished Christmas sweets and spotlights desserts from holidays celebrated worldwide. This program will be held at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center with a reception featuring an array of treats and recipes to take home.
Smithsonian Discovery Theater Presents “Seasons of Light” (in person)
Monday–Friday, Dec. 1–20 at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Additional 1 p.m. showtimes Dec. 8, 13 and 15
Recommended for ages 5–10 (K to grade 5), this show celebrates the history and customs of Diwali (Devali), Chanukah, Las Posadas, Sankta Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, Christmas and the First Nations’ tradition of the Winter Solstice in an interactive event that bridges communities and cultures. It will take place at the Discovery Theater in the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center.
For nearly 60 years, Smithsonian Associates has produced vibrant educational and cultural programming that brings the Smithsonian to life. Inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections and exhibitions, nearly 1,000 public programs spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages each year.
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