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National Cathedral Christmas Events 2013

Concerts, Tours, Workshops, and Services

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National Cathedral Christmas Events 2013 Photo © Washington National Cathedral

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC is a special place to enjoy Christmas events. Throughout the holiday season, you can take a guided tour, hear festive music, make Christmas decorations, or attend a religious service. Plan to visit the National Cathedral this Christmas season and make some memories that will last a lifetime.

National Cathedral Christmas Concerts

Handel's Messiah - December 6-8, 2013, Friday 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m. The Cathedral's combined choirs, Baroque-period orchestra, and guest soloists perform this essential Christmas music experience under the direction of Canon Michael McCarthy. Tickets: $29-$85. Call (202) 537-2228 or order online.

Joy of Christmas - December 14-15, 2013. A perennial Washington holiday favorite from the opening procession of the advent wreath to the final note of the last beloved carol, this festive concert has long been a family Christmas tradition. This festive holiday concert includes favorite carols performed by the Madrigal Singers of St. Albans and National Cathedral Schools and the world premiere of a Christmas carol by renowned American composer Lee Hoiby.  Tickets: $20-$80. A special family matinee will be held on Saturday, December 14 at noon. All seats are general admission. Order tickets online.

Children's Christmas Pageant - December 21, 2013, 2 p.m. This joyous event is designed for children and welcomes the birth of the baby Jesus. Free and open to the public; Call (202) 537-6200.

Carols by Candlelight - December 22-24, 2013, 6 p.m. Passes are required for the event on Saturday. Favorite carols, beautiful Christmas music, and lit candles help to tell again the ancient story of the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Christmas Day Organ Recital - December 25, 2013, 5:15 p.m. Featuring Cathedral organists Scott Dettra and Jeremy Filsell. All are welcome.

National Cathedral Tours, Exhibits & Family Programs

Annual Crèche Exhibit - “What Child Is This?"  - November 25, 2013 – January 12, 2014. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., lower level of the Cathedral. See an exhibition of nativity scenes from around the world.

The Holy Family: Close-up TourDecember 1, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. and December 5, 2013 at 3 p.m. These tours offer an in-depth look at aspects of Cathedral artisanship for visitors aged 10 and older. The tour meets at the docent station, nave level, just inside the visitor entrance. For more information call (202) 537-6200; reservations not required. $10 per person.

Tour and Tea - Most Tuesdays & Wednesdays in November and December; 1:30 pm. Enjoy an in-depth Cathedral tour followed by tea with a scenic view of Washington. The tour begins inside the nave, and tea follows at 3 pm in the Pilgrim Observation Gallery. Special tour topics include stained glass, wrought iron, and needlework. $30 per person. Reservations required, make an online reservation or call (202) 537-8993.

National Cathedral Christmas Services

Christmas Eve Services - December 24, 2013, 6 pm and 10 pm; passes are required for both services; a $2 service charge is required, and all passes are mailed (no will call window); for more information, call (877) 537-2228 or order passes online after November 7. 6 pm. The Christmas Day service is nationally telecast; check local listings for stations.

National Cathedral Holiday Shopping

You can find unique holiday gifts at the National Cathedral Greenhouse, Herb Cottage and Museum Store. The Greenhouse offers a wide selection of herbs, foliage, plants, gifts and Christmas decorations. Books, music, statues, jewelry and other gifts can be found in the Museum Store. The Herb Cottage is a gift shop featuring a variety of home and garden accessories, dried herbs and specialty teas and foods.

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