Yes, it's true that much is closed on the 2 days mentioned, but we had a
good time anyway. The metro and regular bus systems don't run, there are
special buses (few and far between) that run. You have to walk to the
closest stop in your neighborhood. We enjoyed the lack of traffic in the
city - it was fun to walk around the quiet streets with no cars, buses, etc.
in between us and the famous sights, with lots of other tourists, by the
way, as well. There were many more restaurants open than we had heard, and
we had no trouble finding a good celebratory meal.
The abundance of concerts and special events before and after the 25th and
26th are certainly worth being in town for. We totally enjoyed Christmas eve
services and concerts at several churches.
So yes, it'd be best to be at a country estate for Christmas day, but spend
some time in the city as well.
Anne in VA