Updated for 2023 

As the weather turns brisk and the holidays creep closer, something magical happens in Fairfax County! Brilliant light displays illuminate the night sky, local restaurants serve up comfort food favorites, outdoor winter activities and ice skating rinks open for the season, and a variety of festive shows fill our event calendar. Make your days merry and bright with these local holiday and Christmas performances that even Scrooge himself would love. 


1. Fairfax Ballet Company's "The Nutcracker"
November 25-26, 2023

Nutcracker Fairfax Ballet CompanyPhoto courtesy of The Fairfax Ballet Company

Experience this timeless holiday classic as The Fairfax Ballet Company performs The Nutcracker. Enjoy a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes, sugar plum fairies, and epic battles between heroic toy soldiers and mischievous mice. This special performance taking place at Fairfax High School features guest artists from the acclaimed Russell School of Ballet and other special guest artists. 


2.  A Chanticleer Christmas
November 25, 2023

Chanticleer at George Mason Center for the Arts

Photo courtesy of George Mason University's Center for the Arts/Facebook

The GRAMMY Award-winning vocal ensemble is bringing the holiday spirit to George Mason University's Center for the Arts! The Chanticleer Christmas performance features a far-ranging repertoire full of new a cappella arrangements of well-known tunes, which will include Christmas carols from various cultures and tunes from the "Great American Songbook". Chanticleer will serenade the season with 12 captivating voices, covering soprano to bass that will all come together to create a perfect melody. You absolutely can't afford to miss the opportunity to be a part of the audience.


3.  A Christmas Carol: A One-Man Show
December 2- 3, 2023

A Christmas Carol at Workhouse Art Center
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Theatre/Facebook

Get ready to be entertained because John Hardy has prepared an extraordinary one-man show of this beloved holiday tale by Charles Dickens. In a career spanning three decades, John Hardy, a nationally renowned actor, director, and playwright, is bringing his talent to the Workhouse Arts Center. With over 40 characters brilliantly portrayed by John, he brings the spirit of the Christmas Carol to life like never before. The Albuquerque Journal's review raves that this show is "a stunning work of theatrical virtuosity. Run to see this; take the whole family. You will be transfixed from the first moment…." This is an absolute must-see!


4.  A Steampunk Christmas Carol
December 2-17, 2023

Christmas Carol at NextStop Theatre
Photo courtesy of 
NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook

One can never have too many Christmas Carol shows and since Ebenezer Scrooge is a holiday season icon, here's another must-watch this year. The NextStop Theatre Company puts another twist on a holiday classic. Ebenezer Scrooge comes to life in Herndon, VA as well as his three phantasmagorical spirits to spread holiday joy on stage. NextStop Theatre marks a decade-long tradition of presenting holiday productions, in a "By-Kids-For-Kids” way so that all families can enjoy. Come and witness another reimagined, timeless, and cherished holiday tale, A Steampunk Christmas Carol.


5. "Nutcracker! Magic of Christmas Ballet"
December 3, 2023

Nutcracker! Magic of Christmas Ballet

This Christmas, the beloved family tradition is back: NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet! The acclaimed holiday tradition is LIVE in theaters once again at Capital One Hall. Gather friends and family to re-live your fondest childhood dreams, overflowing with larger-than-life puppets, breathtaking acrobatics, and dazzling costumes. Experience the exquisite artistry of the international cast, featuring stars of Ukraine ballet, performing at the highest level of classical technique. Share in the message of Peace and Harmony and get tickets now! 


6. American Festival Pops Orchestra: Songs of the Season
December 9, 2023

American Festival Pops Orchestra - Peter Wilson

Ding-dong, ding-dong, Christmas bells are ringing! Gather with the American Festival Pops Orchestra and special guests for its annual Holiday Pops concert at George Mason University's Center for the Arts, which is sure to make spirits bright! A beloved tradition, this heartwarming evening of holiday favorites includes a festive audience sing-along. Join us in welcoming Artistic Director and Conductor Peter Wilson back for his second season, as he returns to the stage alongside both familiar and fresh faces to craft an enchanting evening.


7. Encore Theatrical Arts Project presents "Santa's Special Delivery"
December 9- 17, 2023

Encore Theatrical Arts Project presents an original Broadway-style holiday musical, "Santa's Special Delivery," taking place at Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center. The tale begins at The Kringle Corporation, recently crowned the #1 Christmas Company in the world! But the bigwig owner of Holidash has other plans to dethrone Kringle from the top spot. Mr. Price embarks on a mission to undermine Santa and the elves, but will his trustworthy assistant follow through with the plan or take a different path? Get your tickets now to see how the story unfolds. "Santa's Special Delivery" is a glamorous and dazzling holiday musical appropriate for audiences of all ages! It features over 30 performers, creative choreography, elaborate sets, stunning costumes, and over 20 musical numbers!


8. Cirque Musica Holiday Wonderland
December 14, 2023

Cirque Musica Holiday WonderlandPhoto courtesy of Cirque Musica/Facebook

Bringing joy and wonder to Capital One Hall, Cirque Musica Holiday Wonderland is taking the audience to a brand-new musical adventure filled with acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hijinks, and holiday cheer. Depart to an enchanting wonderland showcasing the exceptionally talented cast of Cirque Musica, ensuring an unforgettable journey for all. The show has the best of both worlds with world-class circus experience and holiday favorites. 


9. The Barter Players: Frosty
December 19, 2023

The Barter Players: Frosty

A young orphan named Billy discovers magic in a stolen hat, and when he places the hat on a snowman’s head, that snowman comes to life! Can Frosty help Billy find his real family in time for Christmas? Join them on a thrilling quest through New York City as they discover that the real magic of the season is love with "Frosty" performed by The Barter Players at The Alden Theatre.


10. Handel's Messiah
December 20, 2023

Handel's Messiah Capital One Hall

Mark the most wonderful time of the year as the National Philharmonic presents Handel’s Messiah at Capital One Hall. Since the resounding success of its Dublin premiere in 1742, Messiah has been performed thousands of times, in multiple languages, all around the world. NatPhil has redesigned Handel’s creation with all-star soloists soprano Aundi Marie Moore, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford, tenor Norman Shankle, and baritone Jorell Williams, under the direction of Maestro Piotr Gajewski. Join a time-honored tradition that offers the occasion for the community to come together and embrace the comfort and joy this holiday classic unfailingly brings every year. 


From classic and beloved tales to musical ensembles, there's no shortage of holiday cheer in Fairfax County's local theaters and performance venues. Which shows will you attend? Be sure to tag us in your holiday adventures using #FXVA and @VisitFairfax so we can see all of the fun you have with your loved ones!

Plus, For all Nutcracker Fanatics: