Once again, I am aghast at the prices being charged for festive holiday events in and around the Seattle area. So, as a public service (haha), I am providing this list of free and fun stuff to do with families. Enjoy!
Country Village Santa Arrival and Tree Lighting. Check out the information here. We used to go to this every year. My kids are a little old for it (and tired of it) now, but it's really fun for the little ones. Santa actually arrives from the sky! (Ignore the cable). One year, Santa crash-landed and almost fell into the pond! Another year, "Santa" was a war vet who told too many stories of his time in Vietnam. It was entertaining if not altogether confusing for the children. Seriously though, this is a fun one, and there are festive Dickens-inspired carolers, roasted chestnuts, and thousands of sparkling lights.
I haven't been to this but it sounds pretty cool - like a variety show of holiday merriment at Shorecrest Performing Arts Center. Supporting local theater is a great way to see shows for less dough, and give a nod of approval for up and coming talent. Click here for details!
Hey! Why not support your local high school? Never underestimate the magnificence of performances through the local high school. I've seen some incredible plays and musicals (and I'm not a bit biased because my kids were in them!). Now, I think I should support the music program, too! Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit like listening to holiday music, right? Bothell High School Instrumental Holiday program is Dec. 4. Click here for details. Plus, the very next night, you can hear these holiday songs sung by the BHS choir, along with a dessert auction. Perfect! Click here for details on the Bothell High School Vocal Holiday Concert.
Or, go support Woodinville High School at their Holiday Bazaar. If you like craft shows, performances, pictures with Santa, and supporting local high school students, this would be a fun one to attend. Click here for info.
Some people can't imagine Christmas without a showing of The Nutcracker. I've been to the Pacific Northwest Ballet version four times and it's just as magical each time. However, that particular one can set you back a few bucks so I searched for some other versions that wouldn't break the bank. The Emerald City Ballet is doing the Nutcracker at Northshore Performing Arts Center and it's moderately priced. Here is the information. Olympic Ballet does several Nutcracker performances in Everett - you can find out about those here.
The Bellevue Youth Theater has performances of "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Twas The Night Before Christmas" and tickets are $12/$10 or $8 if you go with a group of ten or more! Their information is here. In fact, this is part of the Bellevue Magic Season, which hosts a variety of events, including ice skating (we've been, it's fun), Garden d' Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens (definitely worth the visit!), Snowflake Lane (a holiday parade and "snow" every evening) and theatre performances at the Meydenbaur Center. You can get the scoop here.
There are a myriad of activities in downtown Seattle, most of them priced for kings and queens, but there are some fun, free things to do, like visit the Teddy Bear suite at the Fairmont Olympic hotel, or check out the AMAZING gingerbread houses (huge!) at The Sheraton (donations benefit Juvenile Diabetes research). There's even a Christmas Carnival at The Westin with a festival of trees exquisitely decorated to be auctioned off. You might not have enough money to win the Jimi Hendrix-inspired purple jeweled tree, but you can look for free! Check it out here.
If you don't want to spend a dime, but just want to be surrounded by holiday finery, don't forget about local nurseries such as Molbak's in Woodinville and Wight's in Lynnwood - both are decorated to the hilt and provide fun photo opportunities. Even the local Fred Meyer stores often have cake and cookie decorating events to get you in the spirit.
And, of course, no holiday post about free and cheap would be complete without mentioning the things you don't even need to leave home for. ABC family has "25 Days of Christmas" shows on starting November 20 (I know, that's 36 days, I don't get it either). You can buy Christmas DVDs relatively cheap (we still have the classics on VHS, rockin' it old school) and sip hot chocolate by the fire while cozying up to a favorite holiday show. Baking cookies and other goodies is also a great way to get in the spirit. Or try some old-fashioned crafting. I'm currently in that "I'm going to make EVERYTHING homemade this year" phase, which should peter out in a week or two when I end up frantically buying things I had originally intended to make, and picking up pre-decorated cookies at the bakery on the way to a holiday event. But I can dream, right? So can you.