guides

100+ Ways to Enjoy the Holiday Season in (and Around) Westminster

By Ashley Fisher November 10, 2020

A huge thank you to Holly Hills Country Club for their generous sponsorship of this guide! Holly Hills is conveniently located near downtown Frederick and a short drive from both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Nestled in the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains, the club offers members and guests a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the essence of a private club with scenic views, a challenging 18 hole golf course, swimming pool and pool house, tennis courts, activities field, summer camp for kids and an elegant clubhouse in a family friendly environment.


FIRST THINGS FIRST

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FEELING FESTIVE?

Holiday Activities:

  • Head to the Union Mills Homestead for a German-style Christmas Mart on November 21st. Food and drinks will be available to purchase, along with a variety of hand-crafted and unique gifts from vendors in the Grist Mill and Tannery. A portion of the historic Homestead will be decorated and open for you to visit!
  • The Hill Y in Westminster is holding a S’mores and Family Night Hike event on November 27th. They will have a campfire complete with S'mores and good company. Attendees will enjoy a sensory night hike after s'mores!
  • A holiday storytime and socially distanced photo opportunity will be held at the Townmall of Westminster with the characters of the hit PBS show Arthur! The storytimes will be held on November 27th, 28th, December 4th, and December 12th. 
  • It doesn’t feel like the holidays without the city’s Electric Holiday Parade! The parade will still be held this year on November 28th, but it will look a little different. It will be a “reverse” parade so spectators can drive along the Wakefield Valley Trail in the safety of their cars and see the floats and holiday scenes! 
  • Join the Carroll County Farm Museum for a delightful “Winter Wonderland” Holiday Tour from December 1 through December 20!
  • Kick off the holiday season with the Carroll County Farm Museum’s popular Holiday Encampment. Reenactors camp on the grounds and illustrate how troops celebrated the holidays during the Civil War including a pay muster, mail call, drills and skirmish. Children can decorate the camp Christmas tree. Be sure to visit Santa and take a tour of the decorated Farmhouse. Light refreshments for sale in the Sug,mnsimon
  • Get ready for a Christmas Extravaganza! Enjoy a train garden, nativity scene, crafts, quilt raffle and food for NCCP at Miller's Christmas Extravaganza on December 5th. 
  •  Macaroni Kid will be holding our Christmas in the Country event! This year’s event will include free pictures with Santa, musical performance by Mr. Jon, an ornament making station and more! December 12th from 9AM - 12:30PM. Damascus Road Community Church (12826 Old National Pike, Mt. Airy). Event will take place outdoors. 
  •  Take a walk around downtown Westminster with a warm cup of hot chocolate from Birdie’s Cafe
  • Looking to find a local church for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Service? Check out this local directory of churches in the area!


Santa Sightings:

  • Santa returns from the North Pole to the Townmall of Westminster on November 27th! He will remain there at center court in the mall until December 24th. CDC recommended safety measures will be practiced. Make your reservation on the mall’s website today!
  • Want the Santa experience but not the crowds? Have your child call the North Pole and speak to the man himself on December 10th! This is a free program from Carroll County Recreation & Parks for the children of Carroll County, ages 3-8 (K-2nd grade). North Pole operators place the call to your home and transfers it to Santa in his workshop.  If your child would like to talk to Santa this year, sign-up by Monday, November 23!
  • On Saturday, December 5th is “Support Small Business Day” at the Carroll County Farmer’s Market. Information to come if Santa will be able to visit So bring your cameras for a free photo opportunity! 
  • Catch a Holiday Show:
  • Buy your tickets today and enjoy Century Drama Opening Knights' first ever virtual livestream performance of The Quarantine Cabaret! November 14th & 21st. 
  • The 3rd Annual Nutcracker Tea with the Contempic School of Ballet will be held on December 13th.  The Nutcracker Tea is an excerpt of the traditional Nutcracker Ballet performed by students of all ages. This year, the event will be adjusted to meet the guidelines set for social distancing. All guests must wear masks upon arrival and length of performance. The "Tea" treats will be distributed as a packaged gift to all attending guests.


Find the Perfect Tree:


Festive Road Trips

  • Drive over to Valley View Farms in Cockeysville for their Christmas/Holiday sights! From early November Valley View Farms has an outdoor Christmas light display that  illuminates the night sky with over 100,000 lights.  The entire valley is set aglow with a sea of twinkling star-like lights that dazzle the mind’s eye with inspiration. Head home with a beautiful Christmas ornament that you find in their shop!
  • From November 25th-January 2nd, head to the Merriweather Symphony of Lights to see beautiful holidays lights on a drive-thru or  walkthrough route!
  • The shops at Kenilworth are home to several holiday treasures, such as their amazing train display and also their visits with Santa! Grab some hot chocolate to go and take the worthwhile trip!


GET CRAFTY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

  • The City of Westminster Recreation and Parks Department continues their FREE drive-thru kids craft kits through the holiday season on Tuesdays from 11:30-12:30. On November 17th, they can make a Pilgrim Hat! November 24th is a Turkey Wreath. Keep checking their Facebook page as they add new crafts each month! 
  • Relax for the holidays and learn a new art technique with Magnolia House’s Zentangle on Zoom event on November 14th. The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. The process of creating a Zentangle® is a form of “artistic meditation” as one becomes completely engrossed in making each pattern, deliberately focusing on every stroke.
  • Wanting some good holiday energy? On November 15th, Magnolia House is hosting a Crystal Grids workshop. Crystal Grids are a laying out of crystals, placed in such a way with intention to help ground, move, or expand energy, prayers, intentions & affirmations. Learn a simple technique guided by your own intuition to make this art and practice yours.
  • Paint your own holiday-themed Welcome Sign at Floodzone Brewery on November 19th!
  • Magnolia House will host another Zentangle on Zoom event on November 21st! This time, you will be exploring the use of color in the art project! This could make a great holiday gift for a loved one. 
  • Make a personalized Holiday gift at RePinned on November 22nd at their Boho Macrame Earrings workshop.  In this class you will make 2 pairs -one for yourself and one to make as a gift (or keep both for yourself)!
  • Magnolia House Studios is holding a Dream Catcher Workshop on December 6th. Come and learn the art of weaving and creating your own personal dream catcher for you or for a holiday gift for a loved one!
  • Can’t commit to a specific date but still want to get crafty? Drop in at COB 51 or Firehouse Pottery to paint some festive ceramics!

 

WORK OFF THOSE CHRISTMAS COOKIES

  • Holidays have you feeling stressed? The South Carroll Swim Club is holding a 6 week Holiday De-Stress series from November 10th through December 22nd.  This hatha yoga series will include postures to align, strengthen and promote flexibility in the body for all levels. Full-body balance and relaxation are the goals.
  • Take part in the virtual Piney Run Park Fall Colors 5K Fun Run on November 15th. Enjoy a beautiful run/walk through scenic Piney Run Park while tracking your progress in your favorite fitness app on your phone.
  • Take a Morning Bird Walk on November 19th at Piney Run Park with Dave and Maureen Harvey of the Carroll County Bird Club. Search for the many different types of songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, and woodpeckers that inhabit Piney Run Park.
  • Don’t miss this year’s virtual Turkey Trot! The Virtual Fun Run: Stayin’ Alive Turkey Trot runs from November 2nd through November 20th. Pick your goal of a 5K, 10K, Half, or Full marathon.
  • Sign up for classes at TriStar Martial Arts Westminster for you, your child, or both! No matter the weather, you can stay fit and train with the best! You can start with a 6 week trial. 
  • Look into a membership at the Family Fitness Center in downtown Westminster! With new classes, like Group Power and Aerial Yoga, you are sure to find something you love. 

 

SHOP LOCAL FOR THE HOLIDAYS

  • The Carroll AG Center is hosting an indoor flea market on November 14th. Product categories include antiques, books, cds/dvds/tapes, clothing, collectibles, computer equipment, crafts, direct sales, glassware, food items, sports gear & memorabilia, toys, tools, woodworking, and much more! Please wear a mask and remember to keep social distance. 
  • The 12th Annual Gallery of Gifts will be held at the Carroll Arts Center on November 19th. This holiday season, get something for everyone on your list at their dazzling indoor art market! Featuring 30+ artists, the Tevis Gallery will be filled with handmade products like jewelry, pottery, tree ornaments, baskets, candles, woodwork, soaps, toys, and more. Support local artists this year!
  • Don’t know what to do with the kids while holiday shopping? The City Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a KIDS Night Out on November 20th. Go shopping, grab some dinner, or just go relax! Kids will play games, watch movies, do crafts, play sports, eat pizza and have a ball with our exceptionally trained staff.
  • Come out and support a local high school. On November 21st, Liberty High School in Eldersburg will be hosting their Fall Craft Sale. Find festive Fall decor and handmade crafts, enjoy some lunch, and listen to students play music while you shop from over 100 artisans, vendors and crafters!
  • On Saturday, November 28th is “Bring a Friend Day” at the Carroll County Farmer’s Market. It is also the week before Thanksgiving, so please don’t forget to place your orders with your favorite vendors.
  • On Saturday, December 5th is “Support Small Business Day” at the Carroll County Farmer’s Market. Information to come if Santa will be able to visit So bring your cameras for a free photo opportunity! 
  • Find your unique holiday gifts and support local! The Carroll County Farmer’s Market & Craft Show will hold its sixth event of the season at the Ag Center, Westminster, Maryland on December 12th. Several vendors will have beautiful fresh pine wreaths and arrangements. The Market will make every opportunity to be open during regular hours!
  • On Saturday, December 19th, the Carroll County Farmer’s Market is holding its last Christmas Market of the holiday season. This is your last chance to pick up all homemade baked goods, gourmet food items, seasonal decorations and plants, fresh wreaths, poinsettias and all handmade crafts and fine arts. They will be featuring beautiful live green arrangements from the Littlestown Garden Club.
  • Take a stroll down Westminster’s Main Street in the historic district to see the festive street lined with lighted trees and stop in stores to purchase gifts for others (or yourself)! Have any runner friends? Check out Run Moore at its new location on Main Street for some great ideas. How about the music lovers? You’re sure to find the perfect item at Coffey Music. After you’re finished shopping, stop by Jeannie Bird Bakery, Birdies Cafe, or Rare Opportunity Bakehouse for some delicious hot chocolate or coffee, and scones. If that doesn’t fill you up, a nice sandwich or panini from tCup Cafe, or Molli’s Cafe will!

 

DO GOOD. BE KIND.

  • Stop by one of the local Toys for Tots donation sites to drop off a new toy for a child this Christmas. It is a great way to get your whole family into the spirit of giving.
  • Get your kids involved in the true spirit of the holiday by taking part in a holiday toy drive. The UFMC will be holding their annual toy drive at Vanessa’s Corner Pub on November 13th. 
  • The Carroll Arts Center will be screening a documentary titled “The Biggest Little Farm” on November 20th. FLICC continues their annual tradition of screening a movie right before Thanksgiving that brings attention to hunger in our own community along with a canned food drive. Bring a non-perishable food item with you when you come!
  • On November 28th, get your free holiday photos on a beautiful farm when you bring a bag of personal care items, masks, diapers or a monetary donation to the Community Crisis Center!
  • On December 5th, The Willet Family would like to invite you to Christmas Around The World: A Global Gift Giving Experience on Willet Family Farm in Westminster, MD, benefitting ChildFund International. This FREE event will provide a global hands-on educational experience for families through a Live Animal Petting Zoo, Interactive Games for Children, International Exhibits, and a Christmas Photo Booth. As participants learn about the needs of children growing up in poverty, they will be able to make tax-deductible donations towards specific items they would like to purchase from ChildFund’s Gift Catalog, and are invited to take photos with the items.
  •  Agape Ministies will be holding a ChristmasGiftAway on December 5th. They plan to give out 300 gift bags of hats, scarves, gloves and socks to the community. Join them at 11am and receive gift bags for you and your family!
  •  December 19th marks Wreaths Across America Day. The mission is to remember and honor the fallen veterans by laying wreaths. Head to Pleasant Valley Cemetery to take part in this important event of laying of wreaths on veteran graves. 
  •  Put those elf on the shelfs to good use and have them help your children engage in kindness missions throughout the season. This is a great way to refocus on the true meaning of the holidays.
  •  Have your child make holiday cards for residents in a local assisted living facility! They might not be able to cheer them up in person, but they can certainly bring some cheer with their kind words and thoughtful pictures. 

 

BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, SO WARM UP INSIDE

  • Warm up and laugh with your family playing BINGO at the Hill Y in Westminster on November 17th. 
  • Learn all about birds with the help of the captive raptors at Bear Branch on November 19th. You will figure out which birds you can find in your backyard and look at the adaptations different birds have in order to survive in a variety of niches. You will wrap up by making a bird feeder or bath made from upcycled materials for you to take home!
  • Looking for a warm, indoor activity for your 7-14 year old? Head over to the grand opening celebration at Code Ninjas on November 21st. Learn to code, build video games, play games, meet new friends, and have fun! 
  • Give your child a taste of local history with a Past Times for Children class on November 21st. The children will learn about various types of quilts and make their own! 
  • Head over to Piney Run Park for a festive Fall program for kids on November 25th. Let’s Talk Turkey will teach your kids some fun facts about our large feathered friend, the turkey! Following a brief discussion, you will take a short hike, then make a craft inspired by this big bird!
  • Players Fun Zone is open and a warm place to burn out some of the Winter energy and beat the blues!
  • Still cold with nowhere to go? Check out a movie at RC Theatres in Westminster, bounce out the kids’ energy at the Fun and Fit Factory, or head to Thunderhead Bowling!
  • Keep those kids moving and check out Carroll County Parks and Recs for indoor recreation options such as soccer, gymnastics, soccer, adaptive programs, and more. 
  • With SIX different libraries in Carroll County, you can always find a great children’s program and place to curl up with a nice book! Check out their calendar of events!

 

SOCIALLY DISTANCED HOLIDAY CHEER

  • Settle in on the couch with your family, some hot cocoa, and popcorn for a holiday movie night. Check out some of the new holiday movies coming to Netflix, such as Part Two of the Christmas Chronicles or Captain Underpants Mega Blissmas! 
  • When it snows, make the most of it and go sledding as a family! It may be chilly, but it beats being cooped up inside! 
  • Looking for a sensory-rich and festive cooking activity for the kids? Try your hand at making these yummy popcorn balls
  • Set up a Zoom game night with family and friends. A holiday-themed game of charades is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit! 
  • Can’t see Santa in person? No problem! Have your child send him a letter with their wish list instead! The Greetings from the North Pole Post Office program adds to the excitement of Christmas and is ideal for getting kids interested in letter writing, stamps and penmanship.
  • Have a family holiday Paint Nite! Spread out at the table with your paint and canvases and follow along using a free YouTube tutorial. Check on this one on how to make a Reindeer Painting!
  • Go on a drive for a holiday scavenger hunt! See if you can find everything on the list - blue lights, an inflatable Santa, decorated mailbox, tree in the window, etc.! You can make your own or check out some ideas on Etsy or Pinterest. 
  • Build a gingerbread house!
  • Work on those fine motor skills by cutting out paper snowflakes!
  • Host a virtual Christmas trivia night! Have everyone show up in their tackiest Christmas sweaters and enjoy company safely through the screen.
  • Decorate Christmas Cookies! Have a fun contest by posting the cookies on social media and having friends and family vote for their favorite design. 
  • Have a holiday music dance party! Ask Alexa or Google to play some holiday music and have some fun.
  • Head downtown in Westminster to some of the cute main street shops to see if you can find the perfect ornament for this year.
  • Socially distanced cookie swap! Bake cookies and be randomly assigned to drop the cookies on someone else’s doorstep! Everyone walks away with a sweet surprise treat.
  • Go on a Candy Cane Hunt! Hide Candy Canes around your house and have the kids collect them. Play some holiday music to add to the cheer!
  • Head to one of the branches of Carroll County Public Library and check out lots of holiday books to read together as a family!
  • Play I-Spy with the Christmas Tree ornaments! Once you have decorated the tree, take turns guessing which ornament someone spies on each turn. 
  • Hold a sibling sleepover in the living room. Combine the sleepover with some of the other activities listed here!
  • Zoom caroling! Pick some of your favorite holiday songs and call up some distant friends or relatives to bring some holiday music into their homes!