November 30, 2010

LRW Presents: Advent Ideas for Christmas in Seattle

In our family, we have a tradition. We celebrate the countdown to Christmas, or Advent, by doing something special each day and then closing our day by reading a verse of scripture about the life of Jesus Christ by candlelight. There are so many aspects to this season - from Santa and the secular to the real reason for the season, the remembrance and celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which is much more sacred and holy. I love all the parts! My hope by doing something fun and also refocusing on the more spiritual aspect each day is that my children will grow up with many fond memories of holiday traditions we enjoy together as well as other real lessons that fortify their faith in our Savior along the way.

Over the past few years I have compiled a list of activities we have done or would like to do. Some things are very simple, others more extravagant. Most are free. A few cost something and a very few cost a lot. My hope in sharing this list with you is that if you are looking for a way to infuse some holiday cheer into this season, you might have somewhere to start.

I work with so many families and children, I felt like this was the least I could do to help spread just a bit of holiday cheer. So, whether new in town or Seattle-born-and-bred, please enjoy this list of ideas and activities and please don't hesitate to send me a note if you have any questions or if you have any ideas to add to the list. I am sure there are many other activities within each neighborhood community.

I will tell you the outings that are totally worth it each year and that I wouldn't want to miss out on: Figgy Pudding Caroling (LOVE it! LOVE the LLEW CREW!), Winterfest at the Seattle Center - just SO much to see and do and almost all free! Also, the Christmas Ships, and the Greenlake Pathway of Lights. Those are the things we never miss. I hope some of you are able to get in on some of this Holiday fun this year!

Let the Countdown Begin!

Above Image taken at the Seattle Center Winterfest Carousel, December 2009

Activity Ideas:
Deck the Halls - put up a tree and decorate for Christmas!
Do a Holiday Craft (here's a few fun ones I found):
3-D Paper Snowflakes, or simple, beautiful, 6-sided ones
Edible Snowmen
or download, cut, paste, and gaze at these cute Christmas Creatures from Mibo Studios (cost is $5.80 from their Etsy shop)
Send out Christmas Cards
Call someone special to wish them a Merry Christmas
Write a Holiday Newsletter - recap the year
Bake goodies for friends and neighbors
Drink some egg nog - or try it homemade this year!
Have a Christmas Cookie Exchange
Go to a Christmas Party - or host one yourself!
Go Christmas Caroling (extra cheer: if you ask in advance a lot of hospitals and nursing homes will allow small groups to carol to their patients)
Listen to your favorite Christmas Songs
Attend a Holiday Worship service at a local church
Have a Christmas Movie night
Research and learn about the symbolism of some of our current Christmas Traditions
Learn about Christmas traditions in other countries and cultures
Pick a name from a "giving tree" and shop for someone less fortunate
Donate food to the local food bank
Make gingerbread (or graham cracker) houses
Do some community service or volunteer work
Have a hot chocolate party (have you ever tried it a la mode with seasonal peppermint ice- cream? it's one of our favorite treats!)
Wrap presents - or volunteer to wrap for a good cause
Read favorite Christmas Stories
Read THE Christmas Story, or watch it.
Play in the snow - sledding, ski/snowboarding, or snow shoeing
Have a Twinkle Party - turn off all the lights except Christmas ones and enjoy
Go see a Light Display - one we like is Ravenna's Candycane Lane
See a Live Nativity - or create your own
Write a letter to Santa - or pay him a visit
Enjoy walking, caroling and luminaries at (D-foodbank) Greenlake Pathway of Lights
Attend a local Holiday Event (see below - a great range from free to pricey)

Local Events:
-There's always something happening Downtown
-Seattle Center Winterfest: includes free and affordable Live Christmas Music, Christmas Carousel, Bonfires, Ice-sculpting, Train Village, Ice-Skating ($) and more
-Argosy Christmas Ships and Choirs at local Beaches
-Waterfront Park's Toyland Village
-Sheraton Hotel's Gingerbread Village
-Swanson's Nursery - reindeer, camel, donkey, and train village
-($$)PNB Nutcracker
-($$) Seattle Symphony: A lot to listen to including Handel's Messiah and A Charlie Brown Christmas
-($$) Intiman Theatre's The Black Nativity
-($$) Local Productions: ACT's A Christmas Carol, Greenlake Bathhouse Theatre: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, 5th Avenue Theatre: A Christmas Story: The Musical!, etc.
-See the beautiful trees (or buy one($$$$) for a good cause) at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel's Festival of Trees

Nearby Events (30-60 min. drive):
-($)Point Defiance Zoolights (South/Tacoma)
-(D)Bellevue Botanical Garden D'Lights (Eastside/Bellevue)
-See snow fall at Snowflake Lane (Eastside/Bellevue)
-($$)Ride the Santa Train at the Northwest Railway Museum (North Bend)
-($$)The Lights of Christmas Festival (North/Stanwood)

D=donation appreciated
$=under $10


kerri said...

I always love your advent list & seeing pics from what you end up doing! I've never had the organization or energy to try mimicking you from here... We are so rural, there is just a couple small community activities to enjoy! BUT, it still inspires me to do more to provide lots of holiday cheer and memory-making moments for my kids. Thank you! (Oh and bonus thank you for the etsy link - the perfect little present for my nephew who is crazy about paper crafts.)

rachel @ blackeiffel said...

Tysha -- YOU ARE AMAZING! This is such a fantastic list. Thanks for the inspiration :)