Celebrating the Holidays

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by Kristina Schnack Kotlus, Contributing Writer

The holiday season is always magical around our house. We’re fortunate that we’re able to celebrate both our Christian faith and my husband’s Jewish heritage. We enjoy teaching our children that while we have a particular faith background, all win- ter holidays are really about light and hope. Miracles, whether you attribute them to God, the universe, or other people, are all around us, and especially so during the holiday season. White paper snowflakes against black construction paper remind us of the majesty of nature; bins filled with toys for donation remind us that there may be hope for the goodness of people; and lights on Christ- mas trees, Menorahs, Kinaras or Yule fires remind us of the comfort and joy our traditions provide.

Celebrating the season of lights with your children is especially fun in Prince William. With a number of secular and religious celebrations and activities in the community, families can enjoy a plethora of options for festively spending their winter days.  Here are a few highlights; look for additional ideas in the online calendar at www.princewilliamliving.com.


The Old Town Manassas Christmas Parade will take place on December 1st at 10am.  Line up along Center Street for a good view of all the entries in this annual procession. The shops in Old Town Manassas also hold an annual gingerbread house contest. Visit participating shops and vote for your favorite from December 1st to December 15th.  The Town of Dumfries holds its Annual Christmas-Holiday Parade on December 8.



The Worship Center offers a very popular Living Nativity December 13-15, at the Hylton Memorial Chapel, 14640 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge.


Tree Lightings

Old Town Manassas will hold their tree lighting November 30th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the Manassas Museum Lawn. On December 1st the Town of Haymarket will light up their tree from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a bonfire, singers, food and more.


Light Displays

Featured in last December’s Prince William Living, the Anderson family of 15611 Bushey Drive in Woodbridge again offers a free, elaborate drive-through light display daily from 5-11 p.m. until January 1st.

Carriage Rides

Old Town Manassas will offer free horse-drawn carriage rides on December 9th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Rides begin at the train depot and will showcase local decorations and lights.

Ice Skating

The Harris Pavilion in Manassas offers outdoor ice skating at a rate of $7 per adult and $6 per child.  Skate rentals are available for an additional $6. In January, Wednesday nights from 6:00

p.m. to 9:00 p.m. are free. Hours vary, check www.harrispavilion.com for details.

In Dale City, Prince William Ice Center offers indoor ice skating at a rate of $7 per adult and $6 per child, with skate rental for an additional $3. Hours vary. “Snow and Story” times are also offered, where children may play in the “snow” shavings, then hear a story and enjoy hot chocolate. Visit www.pwice.com for details.

The Haymarket IcePlex also offers public indoor skating for $7 per adult, $6 per child; $3 for skate rental. Times may vary, visit www.haymarketiceplex.com.

Musical Offerings

The Hylton Performing Arts Center will offer several seasonal concerts, including the American Festival Pops Orchestra on December 21st.

Woodbridge Community Choir will present “Sing We Now of Christmas” at the Ferlazzo Building on December 1st at 8:00 p.m. and on December 2nd at 3:00 p.m.

The New Dominion Choraliers’ “Good News!! Great Joy!!”, at Hylton Memorial Chapel, will feature a pre-show from the Prince William County Children’s Choir on December 8th at 7:30 p.m. and December 9th at 3:30 p.m.

As you can see, there are a great many things to see and do this holiday season. At the same time, some of my favorite childhood memories were the easiest. My mother used to pack up to-go mugs of hot cocoa and load us in the family van to find our favorite light displays in local neighborhoods. While gas isn’t free by any stretch, it’s a low-cost tradition that I continue with my children today. No matter how you spend this holiday season, I hope that it is warm, merry, bright and filled with joy.

Kristina Schnack Kotlus and her husband reside in Woodbridge with their three children. She is a born and raised Prince William native and the owner of www.PwcMoms.com, a resource for parents in the Prince William County area.


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