Ideas for enjoying the real life of Seattle (that often cost little or nothing).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Very Seattle Christmas

Like most towns, Seattle has some holiday traditions that are unique and/or flavored heavily by its culture. A few of my low-cost (most are free) favorites are listed below. Visiting the Emerald City during the season of lights? Check a few of these out!

The Figgy Pudding Caroling Contest is a fabulous happening on the streets of downtown Seattle. A fundraiser for the Pike Place Market Senior Center, caroling groups pay a fee to claim a street corner and sing their hearts out. Funny or sublime, mild or raucous, talented or no, they compete for prizes based on your votes. This year it happens on December 1st.

Visiting Pike Place Market all dressed up in lights and trees. The lighting ceremony is on November 25th.

The Christmas Ships are an everchanging flotilla of private and commercial boats that dress up in lights and parade through the waters around Seattle after dark. Led by one of the Argosy ships that each night has a choir on board, they make a few stops in different areas (usually lake- or sound-side parks) for a brief concert. I recommend one of the locations that has a bonfire or other special lighting, such as Madrona Park or Seward Park (get schedule info on the link).

The Caroling Kayakers. These guys are hardy! Another fabulous fundraiser, the carolers pay for the privelege of paddling around Lake Union with Santa in decorated kayaks to carol at houseboats and other shoreline spots.

Greenlake "Pathway of Lights" is a lovely luminaria event at one of the most popular city parks.

The Jinglebell Run. Yet another fabulous, brave-the-cold-and-rain fundraisers (we are a city of do-gooders!), thousands of runners tie bells to their shoes, many dress in costume, and prance a 5k route through downtown, including a tunnel (imagine the acoustics!)

The Volunteer Park Conservatory on Capitol Hill is a great place to shake of the winter chills. This year, on a few choice afternoons (December 10, 17 and 24, 1pm - 2pm) there will be a free harp recital.

Saturday, December 2 , 1:00 PM
Each year, Town Hall sponsors a free holiday concert. This year it celebrates those people who live and work by the sea and will be held on December 2nd.

A few other more generic but noteworthy activities:

Westlake Center - tree & carousel & minorah The tree lighting celebration is November 24th.

The Holiday Parade, also on November 24th.

Winterfest at Seattle Center on lower Queen Anne Hill (where the Space Needle is)

Candy Cane Lane in the Ravenna neighborhood starting December 9th.

Happy Wasseling!

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