November-December 2020

Best bets

Our picks for things to do and see in November and December

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What’s Your Special-tea?

November through December

The Mansion at Strathmore is open for teatime with socially distanced seating and special health and safety protocols in place. Holiday-themed specialty teatimes are scheduled throughout the season. Each specialty teatime features live music and has a different theme with corresponding teas and treats, such as a Scottish Christmas tea with Celtic music, and a Charles Dickens Victorian-era tea. Other highlights include a Thanksgiving tea with appropriate fare and seasonal music, and the Mrs. Claus tea with kid-friendly snacks and a story time. Prepaid nonrefundable reservations are required. Check website for specific dates.

1 p.m. (Mrs. Claus tea on Dec. 12 also has 10:30 a.m. seating), $29 for Specialty Teas, The Mansion at Strathmore, North Bethesda, 301-581-5108,

Feathered Friend

Nov. 8

It’s possible you could see a turkey near Black Hill Nature Programs visitor center nearly any time of the year—the range for the eastern wild turkey includes almost all of the eastern United States. But on Nov. 8, catching sight of the feathered Thanksgiving symbol is a sure thing—at least a craft version of the bird. Stop by the visitor center to pick up a Take & Make It: Turkeys take-home craft kit, which includes supplies and instructions needed to create your own turkey craft at home. Online registration required.

Take & Make It pick up 2-4 p.m., $2, Black Hill Visitor Center, Boyds, register at

Photo by City of Gaithersburg/Marleen Van Den Neste

Light the Way

Nov. 27 through Dec. 31

For the ultimate socially distanced holiday activity, grab a thermos of hot chocolate, put some Christmas music on the radio and pile into the car for a drive through Gaithersburg’s Winter Lights Festival in Seneca Creek State Park. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event, a 3.5-mile drive through the park’s seasonal lights display, featuring twinkling trees, prancing reindeer, joyful teddy bears, playful penguins and other holiday scenes. Attendees are strongly advised to purchase tickets online in advance.

6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Dec. 25; $12-$30, Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg,

Books for Cooks

Dec. 3, 10

Kids can learn about celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa by engaging all five senses with Tasty Books Kits from the Casey Community Center in Gaithersburg. Each take-home kit is based on a different theme and contains a book, along with a related craft, recipe and cooking accessory. A Hanukkah kit that includes the book How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? by Jane Yolen, a latke recipe and cooking tool, and a Hanukkah craft is available for pickup at the Casey Farmers Market at the community center on Dec. 3. The Kwanzaa kit, available on Dec. 10, contains the book Kevin’s Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard, a recipe for fried bananas and cooking tool, and a Kwanzaa craft. Register online to purchase kits.

1-4 p.m., $12, Casey Community Center, Gaithersburg,

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So Fresh and So Green

Dec. 8-9

Learn how to make festive holiday decorations using fresh seasonal greenery at Brookside Gardens’ two-day Festive Fresh Greens workshop. At Tuesday’s class, learn to make an evergreen wreath with bow and pine cone accents. Wednesday’s session features a holiday table-worthy centerpiece that includes a candle and seasonal decorations. Classes are on-site and include all materials. Ages 18 and older. Registration required.

10-11:30 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m., $50, Brookside Gardens, Wheaton,

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Yule Be Home for Christmas

Dec. 12

Ready to take your pandemic baking hobby to the next level? Pastry chef Maris Mokey leads a virtual cooking class, showing how to make the classic French holiday dessert buche de Noel, or Yule log, in your own kitchen. After a step-by-step demonstration, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions. The class, part of Gaithersburg’s Casey Community Center Let’s Cook@Casey virtual cooking class series, is conducted via Zoom, and all recipes, prep instructions and ingredient lists will be sent to participants via email one week before the class.

10:30 a.m. to noon, $25, online,

Caroling from the Couch

Dec. 18-20

While gathering at a concert hall isn’t an option this season, you can still celebrate through song with The Washington Chorus’ annual Candlelight Christmas concert via livestream. Without leaving home, viewers can see a prerecorded, socially distanced performance by The Washington Chorus at the Music Center at Strathmore featuring organ and handbells, with additional virtual performances by guest soloists, the high school chorus from Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and carol sing-alongs.

Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.; $15, online,