Astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman smiles next to a dreidel floating.
Did you know?
In December 1993, astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman celebrated Hanukkah on board Space Shuttle Endeavour with a dreidel and a small traveling Menorah he brought with him on STS-61. Hoffman travelled on the Space Shuttle five times, logging over 1,211 hours and 21.5 million miles in space.     Watch Hoffman Spin a Dreidel in Space
Floating above the Earth, an astronaut posts a picture of her feet in Hanukkah socks.
Holiday Socks, in Space
Astronaut Jessica Meir posted this photo with the message "Happy Hanukkah to all those who celebrate it on Earth!" Meir, together with Christina Koch, were the first women to participate in an all-female spacewalk.     More about Women in Aerospace History

Winter Solstice

What causes the solstice?
Confused about what causes the solstice? Our educators are here to help in this short video. You can learn more by exploring the night's sky, guided by our astronomy learning kit.     Our Astronomy Learning Guide

Celebrate the solstice by listening to an album unlike any other. 

Under Ancient Skies is a collaboration between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and Grammy Award-winning musician and producer Diplo, with words by the museum, music from Diplo’s album MMXX, and narration by Hrishikesh Hirway. This album explores how our understanding of the cosmos has changed (and remained the same) over space and time, as cultures across the world are connected under the same skies.

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The Best Way to Spread Holiday Cheer
Is Playing Loud for All to Hear
The United States Airforce Band has surprised visitors with a Christmas-themed flash mob. Relive the surprise with this recording of the flash mob at our National Mall location.      Then Watch the Flash Mob at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

“Is this Santa Claus?”

That wasn't the question Colonel Harry Shoup, the Director of Operations at Continental Air Defense Command was expecting when he picked up his phone.

Initially he responded gruffly, "There may be a guy called Santa Claus, at the North Pole, but he’s not the one I worry about coming from that direction." After all, there was a Cold War on. 

But Shoup's reply didn't put an end to it. Discover how one phone call helped lead to a beloved holiday tradition. 

Learn More
Celebrating the Apollo 8 Christmas Eve broadcast
Spirit of Apollo
Relive this special night at Washington National Cathedral honoring the iconic Apollo 8 Christmas Eve broadcast from space with astronaut Jim Lovell and other special guests.      Watch Now

"Please be informed there is a Santa Claus."

Astronaut Jim Lovell sent this important message to Houston on Christmas morning, 1968.

Captain Lovell, along with Commander Frank Borman, were in space as part of Apollo 8. The 1968 mission was the first manned mission beyond earth orbit and the first mission to the moon, launching December 21, orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve (December 24), and returning to Earth for a December 27 splashdown.

When Captain Lovell sent this very important communication to Earth, CAPCOM Ken Mattingly replied “That’s affirmative. You are the best ones to know.”

Discover Other Santa Sightings

New Year's Eve

The International Space Station floats above Earth
When do you ring in New Year on the International Space Station?
In 2020, the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) includes astronauts from the United States, Japan, and Russia. So how do you decide when to celebrate.  The decision is actually easy: time on the ISS follows Greenwich Mean Time, meaning the astronauts will technically ring in the new year as people in London, Reykjavik, and Dakar.      Follow Along as Victor Glover Shares His Experience on the ISS
Start the New Year Right
If you start this video exactly at 11:54:30 on New Year's Eve, the Saturn V rocket will launch into 2020 at exactly midnight.     Watch Now

Hands On Activities

Create space inspired ornaments and decorations by following these easy instructions.