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Yes, boredom fosters creativity, but sometimes we need to kick start the creative engine with some fun ideas. Here are some fun family-friendly ideas for ways to explore, create and play in and around Frederick.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Check the Macaroni Kid Calendar for free and low-cost things to do in our area. Not a subscriber? Sign up and you’ll get the goods each week directly in your email in-box. It’s free. No sales. No gimmicks. Just plain fun.
LIGHTS, SIGHTS, SMELLS, AND SOUNDS
ICE! Featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas is an amazing winter wonderland carved out of more than 2 million pounds of ice. Bring a coat and take the kids down slippery slides November 16-January 1.
Marvel at over two million twinkling lights, amazing nightly indoor snowfall, carols synchronized to a fountain light show, gingerbread decorating, and more at Christmas on the Potomac. National Harbor November 16 - January 1
Enjoy skating on an iceless Ice Rink, costumed characters for photos, plus music and dance performances. The festivities culminate at dusk with a tree lighting ceremony at Westview Promenade on November 17, from 3:00-6:00pm.
For the more creative holiday revelers, the Holiday Art Competition will provide plenty of inspiration on November 28.
Vote (or compete) on gingerbread and floral creations in the Scents & Sweets Competition and Auction on November 29.
Learn about and get a photo with Belsnickel, a German version of Santa who brought treats to good kids and punished naughty ones at A Traditional Village Christmas with Catoctin Furnace Historical Society on December 1.
The Wesley Chapel Methodist Church sponsors a free live nativity (even a camel) and refreshments that takes place at the Urbana Volunteer Fire and Rescue on December 2. Shows at 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm.
Walk through Bethlehem on November 30, December 1, and December 2 on an outdoor walking adventure.
Tour historic churches, museums by candlelight, and the inside of elaborately decorated homes in Historic Frederick on several days in December.
The Festival of Lights on December 14 celebrates the true meaning of the season with holiday music offerings, carols, an inspirational message, and candle-lighting ceremony that lights the City Hall Courtyard.
Brighten your holiday with a Yule Log lighting and historic candy making demonstrations at the Annual Harpers Ferry Olde Tyme Christmas Festival starting November 30.
Brighten your season with the Henleyville Christmas Village for an interactive walking light display tour.
500,000 LED lights will transform the National Zoo into a winter wonderland set to music at its annual Zoolights celebration.
Listen to a Winter Jubilee of seasonal songs from The Choral Arts Society and the FCC Choir on November 30-December 1.
Have a plush snowball fight and decorate cookies at the Winter Wonderfest in Annapolis on December 1.
Light the Night with music, cocoa, and cookies at the Villages of Urbana.
CATCH A HOLIDAY SHOW
Your favorite classic TV special comes to life on stage at the Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre and Children’s Theatre in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Or go on a holiday journey with The Great Elf Adventure, December 1-29.
Sing a long with a feisty first grader in Junie B Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells on November 24-December 23.
Other Voices Theatre presents a family favorite holiday story with Frosty The Snowman.
Watch the Mystery of the Christmas Star at the Earth, Science, and Space Lab in December 11-20. This modern retelling of the Christmas story journeys back over 2000 years to Bethlehem in search of a scientific explanation for the star the wise men followed to find the baby Jesus.
Catch a glimpse of Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre November 16-January 6.
Get your holiday glow on at Lightwire Theater: A Very Eclectic Christmas at the Weinberg. Brassy bold music will be bring a blast to your holiday live via 80 tuba players at Tuba Christmas free with a canned gift donation on November 24. Later that day you can participate in a caroling sing-along and watch a silent film at the Weinberg Winterfest.
The Weinberg boasts even more seasonal shows including The Nutcracker presented by the Maryland Regional Ballet, December 7-9. Or go retro and watch It’s a Wonderful Life and hear bells ring.
If you’re looking for a more spiritual experience, catch the Annual Messiah Sing Along or get your old country Christmas vibes going on December 23 with Cherish the Ladies: A Celtic Christmas.
A traditional retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol performs at the Weinberg, December 11-13 and December 14-16.
Have fun seeing the sea life and starting November 9, catch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the National Aquarium in unforgettable 4-D!
The Kris Kringle Procession downtown is a free festive parade that culminates in the lighting of the City Tree and ceremony afterward at the Baker Park Band shell. December 7 from 6:30-7:30pm.
A Main Street Christmas Parade makes its way through Downtown Mount Airy on December 1.
Eat breakfast with Santa at Adventure Park USA on December 15 from 8-10am or enjoy breakfast with Santa at Way Off Broadway Dinner Theater December 22-24. You can also have brunch with Santa at the historic Braddock Inn.
Meet Santa Claus; create your own holiday decorations and more at Holiday Magic at Rose Hill Manor on December 1.
At Santafest at the FSK Mall, you can get a photo with St. Nick at the on November 10.
Enjoy a tree lighting celebration with free ice-skating on November 17, or give to Toys for Tots and snap a photo with Santa in front of the tree at Westview Promenade on December 8.
Let the kids get the wiggles out with live music and snag a Santa photo opportunity at “Live Music & Santa, Oh My!” on December 15 at the National Harbor.
Ice-skate, ride the Christmas Carousel, and take photos with Santa at the National Harbor on November 16-December 1.
See Santa, Turbo the Flying Dog, and check out airplanes on November 17, at Paws & Planes: Holiday at the Airport.
Enjoy a day-long celebration of the holiday season in downtown Brunswick with activities for everyone including carriage rides, a Santa visit, and crafts during Hometown Holidays on December 8.
Breakfast and Santa Train Ride. Enjoy a delicious pancake buffet, photos with Santa, the indoor carousel ride, model train layouts then "all aboard" for an exclusive train ride with Mr. Claus on December 1, 2, 8, and 9.
RUN, RUN, RUDOLPH
Register for the 5k or 1k fun runs in Baker Park for the fourth annual Candy Cane Dash on December 1. Costumes are encouraged in this fundraiser for the Girls on the Run program.
YMCA of Frederick County sponsors the Santa Run 5K on December 8 for all ages. Prizes for best dressed and best decorated stroller, and more. Babies/toddlers in strollers are free. Sorry, no pets or reindeer allowed.
Donate to the food bank during the Jingle Bell Run/Santa Stroll fun-run. Wear costumes, sip cocoa, and make an ornament to hang on the tree during the tree lighting ceremony on December 1.
HOLIDAY CRAFTS AND CLASSES
Ages 8 and up can learn the basics of wreath-making and use natural materials from pine to holly to make their own wreaths to take home at Rose Hill Manor Park on November 24. Or enjoy light holiday fare while learning to make festive wreaths in Westminster on December 3.
Learn to make a mini stocking ornament on November 27, at the Delaplaine Art Center.
Kids can make a gift and even wrap it, while parents shop at the Super Secret Elf Workshop at the Delaplaine Arts Center on December 1.
Make homemade cards, gifts, gift bags and more with Frederick Public Libraries Hello Holidays events in November and December.
Learn how to make a holiday greenery basket and other décor on December 1.
Learn how to bake gingerbread from scratch in this class while competing for the Gingerbread Dream House Competition on December 15. Winning Gingerbread House will receive a $34 gift certificate for another Parks & Recreation cooking class.
The Maryland Christmas Show at the Frederick Fairgrounds offers seven buildings and a big top tent of fine artisans and merchants for all of your holiday shopping needs on November 16-25.
November 23 kicks off the holiday season downtown with longer shopping hours, The Festival of Trees 10 am-4pm, and enjoy a Frosty Friday carriage ride while shopping for those local goodies.
Enjoy fantastic downtown Frederick shopping with free carriage rides, movie showings, live music, character sightings, fine dining, and plenty of free parking at Everedy Square and Shab Row. The Holiday Open House starts November 3.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of a German marketplace at Chriskindlmarkt on December 1.
Homemade one-of-a-kind items will be featured at the Christmas in the Country Holiday Arts & Crafts Festival in Liberytown, November 10.
Glittering gifts and seasonal decor are waiting at the 12th Annual Gifts and Greens Sale on November 29.
A Handmade Christmas in Shepherdstown promises small, local, unique gift ideas for the whole family.
Let the family-owned, battery-free downtown toy store help you shop for the little ones in your life. Browse Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts and attend fun events during store hours. Kids will enjoy their holiday market where they can buy fair trade gifts for the grown-ups in their lives and even have help with giftwrapping.
Take a tour of local art, country roads, wine, restaurants and shopping on the Catoctin Holiday Art Tour on November 10 & 11.
Eat, drink, and shop local artisans at A Handmade Christmas in Shepherdstown on November 24 and December 15.
DO GOOD, BE KIND
Give on “Giving Tuesday,” November 27 . Give a gift online or sign up to volunteer to make a difference in the lives of children, teens, and adults in Frederick County.
Donate traditional menu items or your time to the Frederick Rescue Mission, or send someone in need of a good meal.
Volunteer with The Frederick Soup Kitchen Program, which provides a full evening meal, seven nights a week from 5:30 to 6:30 pm to anyone in need of a hot, nutritious meal.
Donate to Heartly House, which provides services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.
Donate food or cash or even volunteer to participate in Annapurna’s Kitchen “Pay As You Can Cafe” that serves a monthly meal based on pantry contributions, volunteers, and donations. Come serve and/or enjoy a meal…and maybe pay one forward!
Take a Santa "Selfie", sip hot cocoa, eat cookies, and tour the museum at the Walkersville Southern Railroad and ride the Santa Train.
Let the kids push your buttons... And make the trains move at the Roads and Rails Museum or visit the model trains at Brunswick Heritage Museum.
December 1 and 2 is the B&O Railroad North Pole Adventures Weekend, featuring train rides with Frosty and Santa, a workshop to build a rocket-powered sleigh, indoor carousel rides, model train layouts, and free parking.
All aboard Candyland Adventures and Winterfest Wonderland on the B&O Railroad Museum on December 15 and 16, and 17-31 for a magical holiday train ride your family will cherish forever!
Frosty Fest Weekend on December 8 and 9 offers photos, visits, and B&O train rides with Frosty the Snowman AND Santa, live musical performances, model train layouts, holiday kid zone workshop where elves help kids make a 3-D pop-up card, indoor carousel rides, and free parking.
Enjoy a Roundhouse Breakfast Buffet on December 1, 2, 8, and 9. It’s a delicious feast, exclusive train ride with Santa including photos, carousel rides, and model train layouts.
SOAK UP THE SUN
Take a hike! Bring the baby with Hike it Baby.
Observe the natural beauty of Sugarloaf Mountain
Or the Appalachian Trail
Or hike, bike, or camp at the C&O Canal.
Step back in time with a visit to historic Harper’s Ferry.
Paintball Sportsland is open year round if you do want to brave an exhilarating game outside.
BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, SO WARM UP INSIDE
Jump around at Pump It Up of Frederick or Paradise of Fun.
Bounce your heart out at Backyard Inflatables.
Take ice-skating or hockey lessons, or enjoy public skate times at Skate Frederick. Or go retro and roller-skate at Starland Roller Rink.
Go bowling at Terrace Lanes or duckpin bowling at Mt. Airy Bowling Lanes.
Catch a seasonal movie at the Westview Theaters or watch a flick for a bargain at Holiday Cinemas.
The FSK Mall has a children’s play area, train table and children’s programs at Barnes & Noble, and Shadowland for laser-tag fun.
The Original Playhouse Children’s Museum is a wonderful shoes-off playhouse to explore.
And there’s always Chuck E. Cheese
RING IN THE NEW YEAR
Take the plunge or sponsor someone else’s in the Annual Freezin' For a Reason event on January 1. Costumed participants jump into the cold Potomac and proceeds go to help the Brunswick Food Bank.
Looking for a Family New Year’s Celebration? Ring in 2019 with a light meal and inside attractions from 9pm to 12:30am at Adventure Park USA.
After the holidays, continue enjoying winter with a full day of planetarium Winterfest showings at the Earth, Space, and Science Lab on January 28.
Been dreaming of that Masquerade Ball since you were a kid? Here’s your chance at the Midwinter Night’s Dream Masquerade Ball. Come in costume and see belly dancers, boogie to a DJ, compete for prizes and more on January 19-20.
Warm up with belly laughs at Cartoonfest 2019, on January 5.