From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

So. Much. Christmas.

By Lani Gering

So. Much. Christmas.

Those of you who have followed this column know that I go a little nutty with the holiday happenings in the Harbor and especially those at the Gaylord. It was a very sad holiday last year for me without the Resort being open so I am very happy they are going all out this year. While many of you have asked me what the theme for ICE is this year, I am sad to say it isn’t coming back. But, the new theme – “So. Much. Christmas.” – is literally that! I can’t believe all of the new activities that have been added.

I contacted Patrice Clayton, the GNR PR Guru, for some detailed info and she was at the ready.  The newly added experiences include holiday cooking classes, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar, a festive desserts shop and ice bumper cars and a snow ball making and tossing experience. In addition, Gaylord National will feature several suites decked out in holiday décor for a home-for-the-holidays feel. These new experiences perfectly complement the resort’s other fan-favorite Christmas attractions and its new Gaylord Hotels original production, I Love Christmas Movies ™.

Visitors can enjoy the following newly announced experiences:

Overnight guests can leave Christmas tree-decorating to the experts and book one of the resort’s Christmas Dreams Suites complete with garland, wreaths, lights and even holiday stockings. This home away from home includes a one-hour professional photo shoot in the resort creating the perfect setting for family Christmas pictures or even a sweet holiday proposal.

The Christmas Tree Lot is reminiscent of the time-old tradition of selecting the perfect Christmas tree. This “instagrammable” pop-up bar will bring visitors together over spirited holiday cocktails and fun photo opportunities.

For guests looking to impress at the next holiday gathering, Gaylord National’s Resort Chef will lead a Holiday Hosting 101 cooking class. Participants can expect to enjoy a festive libation and learn how to prepare three popular holiday hors d’oeuvres. This hands-on, interactive class is fun and tasty.

Gaylord National’s hit 80’s themed pop-up bar, Replay Rooftop, will take visitors back to the 80’s holiday-style. Now serving up holiday milkshakes and cocktails with the well-known instagrammable moments, spectacular views and retro arcade games visitors know and love!

Holiday sweets and tasty treats are on the menu at the Holiday Sweet Shoppe. Guests can visit the Holiday Sweet Shoppe for a delicious hot chocolate or eggnog and check out the impressive selection of chef-prepared desserts to take home and enjoy with family.

The beloved and larger-than-life Gingerbread display is back this year! Visitors will experience an Old English village with over 15 homes, churches and more created from more than 300 lbs. of baked gingerbread, 400 lbs. of royal icing and 100 lbs. of chocolate. The 200 sq. ft. village was concepted and constructed by a team of 9 pastry chefs, led by Executive Chef Mohan De Silva.

To experience it all, visitors can choose to stay overnight. Overnight visitors will have an extra sweet treat with the exclusive Sugary Sweet Storytime performancecomplimentary to hotel guestsThis whimsical and interactive sing-a-long features the Sugar Plum Fairy and The Nutcracker Prince joyfully telling the story of The Nutcracker.

In addition to the holiday fun, Gaylord National’s Old Hickory Steakhouse, revered for decadent premium beef, will be offering a four-course seasonal prix fixe menu as well as a special holiday version for Christmas on December 24 and 25.

Along with the newly announced activities, Gaylord National will be debuting the Gaylord Hotels’ original production, I Love Christmas MoviesTMThe guided experience allows guests to walk through the most iconic scenes from classic Christmas movies! Guests will enjoy moments with the sets they know and love while interacting with more than 13 fully immersive scenes complete with replicas of film props, audio, and more. I Love Christmas MoviesTM will feature five beloved films, including: The Polar Express™, Elf™, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation™, A Christmas Story™, and The Year Without A Santa Claus™.

With more than a dozen different experiences taking place throughout the resort, and holiday lights at every turn, visitors will find it easy to get into the holiday spirit. From the beloved Peanuts classic, A Charlie Brown ChristmasMerry Snoopy Christmas Scavenger Hunt promises to keep the fun moving as sleuths explore the 19-story atrium in search of hidden holiday clues. Storytime with Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions is going to be a perfect respite to enjoy T’was the Night Before Christmas and share Santa’s favorite, Christmas cookies.

Snow is guaranteed to be in the forecast at the Snow Factory with the new Snowball Build and Blast attraction where guests will build and toss real snowballs or take a thrilling slide down the frozen hill at Snow Flow Mountain. Ice Skating with views of the Potomac River is back but now you can take a spin in the new Ice Bumper Cars in the newly located Winter Square! While I will miss the 2 story ICE slide of years past, I plan on taking advantage of every one of these activities! Watch the Old Town Crier Facebook page for photos and videos of me in action in the next couple of weeks!

With more than 155,000 square feet of magical holiday décor, 2 million twinkling Christmas lights and So. Much. Christmas. at every turn, Christmas at Gaylord National will not disappoint.

To learn more about Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center and book an overnight stay, room package, meeting, or event, visit or call 301-965-4000.

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