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Christmas in Georgetown, "It's a Wonderful..."

If you can't "go straight to the Paris Ritz" for Christmas like the family in Woody Allen's "Everybody Says I Love You," the next best thing in my opinion is Washington, D.C. Where else but in Georgetown can we experience the special rituals and traditions that make it Christmas in the city? Everyone has his or her own, but we start by taking the family over to Visitation to pick out the tree and walk home accompanied by "Visi elves" (complete with green pointed caps) pulling our tree in a wagon (and the funds go to a good cause!). Talk about a Kodak moment. Then there's our annual visit to Santa at the Georgetown Park mall: we have a picture of my son there every year since 2003, including one where he sat in Santa's chair for the picture because Santa was on break and we couldn't wait for him. Other holiday favorites are: getting gussied up and attending the Washington Ballet's Nutcracker (where we annually add to our toy Nutcracker collection), whizzing around the ice skating rink at the National Gallery and getting hot chocolate afterward, taking a break from shopping for lunch at Clyde's with the giant toy soldiers outside, the Christmas pageant at St. John's on Christmas Eve and of course, shopping in Georgetown. My husband has a regular routine on Christmas Eve that includes (if I've been very good) Keith Lipert, Hu's shoes, and, of course, Garret's. I like to stop by Leonidis for some gourmet chocolate and we often have a Yule Log from Patisserie Poupon with Christmas dinner. Getting my gifts wrapped at Appalachian Spring and Tugooh Toys and carrying them home (along with the occasional baguette and bottle of wine) makes me feel so very "Miracle on 34th St." -ish. There are so many wonderful Christmas events in Washington that it's almost an embarrassment of riches. Some things we plan to do but can't always get to are Zoo Lights, the tree lighting ceremony, the parade of lighted boats on the Potomac, the many fabulous children's Nutcracker productions and the beautiful holiday train display at the Botanical Gardens. There's nothing prettier at Christmastime than snow on the ground as we walk the beautiful streets of Georgetown to a holiday party or for caroling (yes, we actually did that once!) Two of my favorite traditions when I'm in Washington for the holidays are to have dinner on Christmas Eve by the fire at La Chaumiere and visiting with friends at their annual Christmas Day champagne open house before everyone goes their separate ways for parties and family gatherings. Both of these occasions are an opportunity for me to stop, relax and enjoy the special moments of the holiday season and reflect on how wonderful it is to celebrate Christmas in the city.