13 reasons to attend our Holiday Festival on December 6 and 7

Business Program Manager Kathy Sklar doesn't want you to miss the museum's holiday festivities. Here's why.

1. Free screenings of The Muppet Christmas Carol Movie, followed by a talk by Curator Dwight Blocker Bowers who will be accompanied by his Muppet friends, Kermit, Fozi Bear, Swedish Chef, and Elmo. (Three shows per day. See showtimes here.)

2. Performances by the U.S. Air Force Silver Wings Band. They'll go caroling, too. See performance times on our calendar.

3. Simulator rides. Use your Groupon and ride our simulators. (It's a great deal: up to ten IMAX movies and simulator rides for just $25.

4. A chance to meet fabulous authors and buy personally signed books! Todd Gray of Equinox Restaurant will have samples from The New Jewish Table, and Elaine Eff will showcase her fabulous Painted Screens of Baltimore. We'll even have painted screens from our collection out of storage for you to see. You can also try out a real stereoscope and meet Paula Fleming, author of Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell.

5. Jewelry and clothing trunk shows. Buy fabulous gifts from the artisans themselves.

6. Free gift wrapping. 

7. Free shuttle buses among the museums around the National Mall (so you can experience their terrific holiday festival events as well).

8. Current exhibitions include American StoriesFOOD: Transforming the American Table, and the First Ladies gowns. This time of year, you won't be competing with tourists to see Julia Child's kitchen or snap a selfie with the Ruby Slippers. 

9. Our cafes are serving delectable holiday treats, like cookies and hot chocolate.

10. Using authentic colonial tools, American Heritage™ Chocolate ambassadors will demonstrate how drinking chocolate was made, and offer samples in our Bean to Beverage: American Heritage Chocolate Demonstrations. 

A little holiday cheer from our Archives Center's Warshaw Collection: a trade card advertising N.K. Fairbank Company soap. 

11. Write a letter to the troops. In partnership with the National Postal Museum and Operation Gratitude, share some holiday cheer with military personnel. 

12. Our stores have a fabulous selection of ornaments, calendars, books, jewelry, home accessories, toys, and clothing. Unique gifts for all! Your purchase supports the educational mission of the Smithsonian.

13. Create a holiday memory at the Sharp Shooter Photo Booth. You and your family can pose for a photo with our most precious objects, and take the photo home as a souvenir.

Kathy Sklar is the museum's business program manager.