Holiday decorations, Christmas tree, cookies, Christmas market, mulled wine, Christmas songs, Advents calendar, Christmas lights... it's not Christmas without any of these! To be honest, the most wonderful time of the year for me is the prep work: the decorating, the baking, the perfect gift hunting, the parties, the ugly sweaters (and pretty ones, too), the music, and all the Holiday festivities.
In Silver Spring, MD and beyond there's no shortage of Holiday activities, beginning just around Thanksgiving and lasting until the New Year... from Holly Jolly Food Truck Festivals to Tree lighting ceremonies; from Holiday Open Houses to Santa's workshops; from Holiday performances to ice-skating; from Christmas tree farms to Holiday trains & trams; from Holiday themed Happy Hours to Festival of Lights.
Visiting one or more Festival of Lights has become one of the annual must-do activities for my little family... especially when the weather is perfect (read: a just-cold-enough-winter's-eve that makes it seem like the stars are an extension of the Holiday lights), and we have a cup of hot cocoa warming our hands and bellies.
There are a quite a few Festivals/light displays that we have admired over the years (Downtown Columbia, Wheaton Botanical Garden, Sandy State Park, Zoo Lights, Ocean City Beach Lights ....), and among our favorites is the Festival of Lights at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Kensington, MD. Now in its 42nd year, the Festival has become a DC area attraction. More than 400,000 in all colors imaginable light up the temple grounds and create one spectacular display. There are also nightly musical performances in the theater, internationally themed Christmas trees, and a life-sized outdoor nativity scene.
The Festival, exhibit, performances are free to attend.. but advanced ticket registration for the theater is recommended. There's some limited free parking - due to construction this year, you may be better off arriving via alternate mode of transportation.
The Temple is located at 9900 Stoneybrook Dr. in Kensington, MD 20895.
The Festival of Lights at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is open to the public and a free event for all (including performances) until January 4th, 2020.
If you and/or your children believe in the magic of the season, and believe that it's just not Christmas without lights, then you must make plans to visit this spectacular Festival of Lights.
*Bonus: if you have children, then they surely know of "Cinderella's castle" that sits high atop the beltway. The "castle" is, of course, the Temple, and the Festival of Lights one chance to see it up close.