Thanksgiving is next week and I’m planning ahead to schedule our family’s favorite holiday activities. Here are 10 opportunities to celebrate the holidays near the plateau and further away that you might consider putting on your family’s holiday calendar.
Argosy Christmas Ships
My family has made so many magical memories sailing on a Christmas ship, followed by ships twinkling with lights and decorations, arriving to a beach with a bonfire on shore and listening to a live holiday music performance by a local choir. If you have little kids, riding on the Christmas Ship with Santa is worth the extra cost, as they’ll enjoy the special activities offered. The eastside departure sailings go fast, so check out this year’s schedule here and book your trip online soon.
Tree Lighting in Snoqualmie and a visit to Salish Lodge and Spa
Enjoy a magical tree lighting ceremony December 3 at 5:30 pm at Art Park in Fall City at the corner of Redmond Fall City Road and 334th. There will be hot chocolate and live music from the Sno-Valley Winds Ensemble to enjoy.
For a splurge, check into Snoqualmie’s Salish Lodge and Spa. The resort is offering holiday Breakfast in Bed overnight packages through Dec. 30, special holiday meals and spa treatment specials. And on Dec. 22, the actress Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu in It’s a Wonderful Life, will host a reading at the Salish of The Night Before Christmas. More information on all the holiday events is on the Salish’s website.
Winter Festival in Redmond
Dec. 3 from 4 pm to 8 pm, the city of Redmond celebrates Redmond Lights with a festive tree lighting at , followed by a luminary walk on the Sammamish Trail between City Hall and . When you arrive at Redmond Town center you’ll enjoy craft activities for kids, live entertainment and complimentary treats.
Hanukkah Under the Stars with the Not-Its at the Center on Mercer Island
Enjoy this family event Dec. 17 from 5:30 pm to 7 pm with a musical performance by the Seattle based rock band for kids, the Not-Its. Free admission with a donation of oil for the JFS food bank but pre-registration is required online.
U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms in Issaquah
My family loves to return year after year to cut our tree at Issaquah’s Trinity Tree Farm. We enjoy the complimentary hot chocolate as we sit around the farm’s outdoor fire. We have shot many a treasured holiday photo in front of the farm’s fire truck. The staff will help you load your tree on to your vehicle but bring what your need to tie the tree to your car or truck. The farm opens on Friday, Nov. 25 at 8 am and is open until Dec. 18 or until they sell out of trees. Another festive u-cut tree farm in Issaquah is Enchanted Winds Tree Farm.
Winterfest at Suncadia
Less than 90 minutes east of Sammamish via I-90, the mountain resort of Suncadia offers Winterfest from Nov. 24, 2011 to Jan. 1, 2012. A variety of activities are offered including a tree lighting ceremony Nov. 26, a Jack Frost Story time at the Lodge every Friday night from 8 pm to 9 pm from Nov. 26 to Dec. 16 and A New Year’s Eve Family Skate Dec. 31 from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Resort activities also include special holiday meal options and activities including inner tubing, skating and skiing. In addition to all the outdoor fun, families love the resort’s swim and fitness center, which includes two waterslides. A variety of special lodging packages are available for families including the Winter Adventure package and Family Fun package. For more information or to make a reservation, visit the resort’s website.
Celebrate the Holidays By Sharing
Every year my family chooses several organizations to support during the holidays. One of the organizations you might consider choosing to support this year is the Redmond based non-profit organization Pantry Packs, which provides food to families in need whose children attend several local public schools.
The non-profit organization is also based in Redmond and offers a variety of services to eastside families in need from several food banks to housing. A fun way to support them is to participate in the Nov. 20 Turkey Trot Fun Walk and Run in Kirkland.
The annual is underway and you can drop your donation in the collection box in front of the by 5 pm December 12.
We also like to share our holiday joy with pets in need by giving to organizations including Kirkland’s MEOW Cat Rescue which is hosting a holiday bazaar, featuring photo opps with Santa, your kids and your pets for just $5, Dec. 3 and 4 at the former Studio East building at 402 6th Street south.
Bellevue Ice Skating, Snow Flake Lane and Garden d'Lights
Bellevue is holiday magic central. With some advance planning you could in one day take your kids ice skating in the afternoon at the , admission is $10 including skate rental, then take in the amazing Bellevue Garden d’Lights at the at 5 pm. $5 per person, kids 10 and under free, purchase your tickets online. Then have dinner at and line up along Bellevue Way in time to take in the amazing, free Snowflake Lane celebration featuring snow, live entertainment and a dazzling light show.
Christmas at the Beach
Maybe your family would like to celebrate part of the holidays away from home this year, ideally somewhere festive. How about on the beach? Every year beautiful Cannon Beach, Oregon decks itself out for the holiday season with evening lamp lighting ceremonies, restaurants open holiday hours and holiday family activities. You can even rent a house for your family’s stay already decorated for Christmas, including the tree, from Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals.
Inner tubing at the Summit
My family loves to celebrate the holidays and the arrival of snow by going inner tubing at the Summit at Snoqualmie. The Summit’s Tubing Center offers an easy way to enjoy the snow together. And there is a bathroom and snacks and hot beverages available on site. The Tubing Area will be open as soon as the snow pack permits on Saturdays and Sundays. You make reservations online for a two hour session with rates varying depending on time selected from $19 to $22 for an adult, $17 to $19 for kids six to 12 and $5 for kids up to age five. Prices include the tubes and you can’t bring your own sledding equipment.
We like to get a group of 30 friends or more together to take advantage of the group rate. You can also buy out the tubing center for a group of 50 people or more for a private three hour session Monday through Thursday. Now that would be a great holiday party! More information by emailing Kim Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.