'Tis the season for Christmas celebrations and hoppin' holiday festivals! I've got so much cinnamon spice tea running through my veins and glitter in my hair that I decided I needed to share my holiday cheer w/ the all the inter-webs!
Every October I start a list on my calendar at home of all the "holiday festivus activities" I know to be going on around town. You see, I'm a bit of a "planner." So much so -- I consider the best part of January 1st the fact that I get to break in my new year's calendar. The sweet smell of plastic...the look of fresh paper....the feel of crisp monthly tabs...OH MY. But I digress. This post is about celebrating CHRISTMAS, silly!
So, here is my list of the most awesome 2015 Holiday Festivities You Should Check Out In and Around the Greater Seattle Area.....
With celebration comes gratitude. Along with providing holiday meals, coats and toys for families in needs, I have listed a few activities and organizations that can may overlooked during the busy holiday season. Share in your gifts and service!
- Donate blood, plasma and platelets. So this sounds weird -- donating blood is fun. You get free snacks and beverages, you get to lay down on extremely comfortable chairs (some even have their own ipads), and you get to relax for as long as you want. If there was a way to combine the blood donation center with a pedicure spa, I would sign up for a membership. And, no it doesn't hurt. It's basically a couch potato's volunteer dream come true. Historically, blood donations drop dramatically during the holiday season. If you are eligible to donate, right now is the best time to give. You can even make your appointment online (no waiting) by clicking here.
- Join the national bone marrow registry. If you, or anyone you've known has ever been stricken with a blood cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma, you know marrow donations save lives. According to Be The Match, 70% of patients rely upon non-family donors for a transplant. Joining the national bone marrow registry (which connects donors with patients) and becoming a potential donor, is as simple as taking a cheek swab at home and mailing it back. There is no better gift than to give life to another person. More info at: https://bethematch.org/
- Become a family to those who may not have one near. This may include volunteering at your local hospital or long term care facility. Martha & Mary in Poulsbo welcomes volunteers and KIDDOS!! to come and visit their residents. Click here for volunteer information.
- Volunteer your talents. Each of us are blessed with gifts and strengths that are uniquely our own. There are organizations in your community who would love for you to share your talents with them!
DECK THE HALLS (W/ CRAFTS).
- NOV 28, DEC 6, 12, 13, 19, 20. Gingerbread House Party at Farm Kitchen. Poulsbo, WA. The Farm Kitchen provides you a made-from-scratch house and decor pieces...you provide the creativity and fun. Another great holiday tradition you can start with your family and friends! Note: this event does sell out, so be sure to book your reservations online as early as possible! Reservations can be made on their website.
- DEC 12: Kitsap Mosaics (Christmas class). Downtown Poulsbo, WA. Kitsap Mosaics is open daily and very family-friendly. Saturday, December 12th they will be offering a Christmas-themed activity for ages 3 and up. (They also offer "Mommy & Me Mosaics" once a month). You can sign up through the Parks and Registration site online (or call ahead).
- (Daily): Dancing Brush. Downtown Poulsbo, WA. A venerable tradition in my family, painting ornaments or a special holiday platter at the Dancing Brush is a must. Stop by Sluy's, get yourself a viking doughnut, grab coffee at Hot Shots then walk on down to the Dancing Brush, find a seat, and have yourself a great ol' time. You'll thank me later. Hours and info: http://www.dancingbrushstudio.com/DB-ballard/index-ballard.html
SUGAR PLUMS DANCED IN THEIR HEADS.
- NOV 5-22: "Mary Poppins." Kitsap Children's Musical Theater. Poulsbo, WA. So, technically this is not a Christmas show. However, know that any show produced by the crew and all-youth cast of KCMT will be MAGICAL and family-friendly! Tickets can be purchased online.
- NOV 5 - DEC 27: "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Seattle Children's Theater. Also, not Christmas-specific, but an outing to the Children Theater and the Seattle Center is always a treat. Click here for tickets and info.
- NOV 27 - DEC 28: PNW Ballet's "The Nutcracker." Seattle, WA. The venerable classic that makes for a perfect outing to downtown Seattle and McCaw Hall. Tickets and info located at: https://www.pnb.org/season/15-16/nutcracker/
- DEC 4-6: Peninsula Dance Theater's "The Nutcracker." Bremerton, WA. Bremerton High School Performance Center. For those who want to be able to see a great performance of The Nutcracker but don't wan't to travel to Seattle or Tacoma, check out PDT's Nutcracker the first weekend in December. You can even purchase tickets to a "Nutcracker Tea Party" to be held December 6! Click here for tickets and info.
- DEC 6: "Hear the Bells Rings!" Concert by the Bainbridge Youth Chorale. Bainbridge Island, WA. This FREE family concert led by the youth chorale will get everyone in your family in the spirit of the Christmas season. More info online.
- DEC 12-13 "Sing Noel!" Concert by the Bainbridge Chorale. (A personal fav of mine :). If you love live chorale music, you won't want to miss the Christmas concert by the talented members of the Bainbridge Chorale. This year's concerts will even include songs from "Frozen!" More details at their website.
- DEC 12-13 & 19-20: Tacoma City Ballet's "The Nutcracker & the Tale of the Hard Nut." Tacoma, WA. If you can't get enough nutcracker, Tacoma ballet has their own performances! Click here for info and tickets.
- DEC 19: Ice Skating Show. Bremerton Ice Center. Watch local skaters travel through time in a unique holiday show. Children 5 and under are FREE! More details available on the Ice Center's Facebook page.
DESTINATION: WINTER WONDERLAND.
- DEC 5: Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K. Port Orchard, WA. Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces and raise funds to help find a cure for arthritis. More info and sign-ups available here.
- DEC 5: Festival of Chimes & Lights. Port Orchard, WA. After the Jingle Bell Run, be sure to stay at City Hall for the arrival of Santa, hay rides, a pet parade and a FREE movie at Dragonfly Cinema. Visit their website for more info.
- DEC 5: Scandinavian Bazaar and Jule Fest. Poulsbo, WA. Come visit Poulsbo for the annual Norwegian celebration of Christmas! Activities include a holiday bazaar at the Sons of Norway in the afternoon, followed by FREE horse drawn carriage rides through downtown, singing, dancing, the arrival of Lucia Bride by boat with the Vikings and lighting of the Christmas tree by Lucia Bride and Father Christmas. More info at: http://www.visitpoulsbo.com/events/2015-12-05/.
- DEC 12-13: Country Christmas. Port Gamble, WA. Saturday afternoon is the best time to visit. You can stop by Santa's workshop, enjoy a hayride through town, then stay for the tree lighting and fireworks show! More info at: http://portgamble.wix.com/countrychristmas
- DEC 19, 22 & 23: Jingle Jam. Newlife (throughout Kitsap). Newlife always knows how to put on a great celebration. This FREE event will includes lots of games, Christmas songs, inflatables and plenty of cheer for your kiddos and entire family. Be sure to check their website for schedule and locations: http://www.newlife.tv/events/2015/12/jinglejam2015/.
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT.
- NOV 27 - JAN 3: Zoolights. Pt. Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Tacoma, WA. Another great annual tradition that will get you into the holiday fun. Be sure to plan ahead and visit the Zoo's website.
- NOV 27 - JAN 3: WildLights. Woodland Park Zoo. Seattle, WA. We have not been to WildLights, but I've heard great things about the Woodland Zoo's holiday lights showing. You can purchase tickets and find more online: http://www.zoo.org/wildlights
- DEC 12: Lighted Boat Parades. Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Gig Harbor and Port Orchard. If you and your kiddos love boat parades, you will definitely be able to get your fix the evening of December 12th! Downtown Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard and Gig Harbor are each hosting their own lighted parades. Check out Macaroni Kid for details about each parade.
- DEC 12 - JAN 3: Holiday Village at Bloedel Reserve. Bainbridge Island, WA. Bloedel Reserve transforms their visitor center into a miniature holiday village complete w/ hand-painted buildings, electric trains and cider for the kiddos. While there be sure to take a walk through the gorgeous gardens. More info: http://www.bloedelreserve.org/.
TRAINS TO THE NORTH POLE
- NOV 27-29, DEC 4-6, 11-13, 17-19. Polar Express. Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum. Chehalis, WA. Another great all-day steam train adventure. The Chehalis Railroad offers two separate train excursions -- the Polar Express and the Santa Steam Train. Note: this event will sell out, so be sure to get your tickets! More info: http://steamtrainride.com/holiday_trains/
- NOV 28-29, DEC 5-6, 12-13, 18-19. Santa Train. NW Railway Museum. North Bend, WA. This is definitely an all-day excursion and a great experience for little kiddos (and big kids who appreciate steam trains). You travel by train from North Bend to the museum at Snoqualmie where you get to take pictures with Santa and enjoy cookies and cocoa in the refreshment car. Note: this event sells out every year. Be sure to check availability and purchase your tickets online by visiting here.
SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN.
- There are LOTS of opportunities to see Santa and have your photo taken with him this Christmas season. FREE options include photo ops at Play Kitsap, the Log Cabin Museum, Sylvan Way library, Alderbrook Resort, downtown Winslow, pet photos at Bainbridge Hay and Feed and with Nordic Father Christmas in downtown Poulsbo. I recommend visiting the calendar page at Macaroni Kid for a thorough listing.
Many thanks to all the online resources and compiling offered by Macaroni Kid!
- Macaroni Kid (Kitsap): http://kitsap.macaronikid.com/
- Macaroni Kid (Gig Harbor): http://gigharbor.macaronikid.com/
- Red Tricycle (family events around Seattle): http://redtri.com/seattle-kids/
Do you have recommendations of other holiday activities to include on this list? I'd love your feedback and input! Feel free to comment on this blog or email me directly with your suggestions. Thanks and good cheer to you!