Tag Archives: lights

Local Activities After Christmas, 2018


The kids are still home from school, so why not try out some of our local holiday wonders – ones you may have missed while getting ready for the big day yesterday.

Here are some ideas:

  • Zoolights at Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma

I have it on good authority (my son and daughter-in-law) that this is spectacular and magical this year. It’s open from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. until January 6. Admissions ranges from $6-$12

Another electrical blowout event that takes you along Spanaway Lake for two miles. $14 per vehicle

  • Polar Bear Plunge

If you’re into ice cold water to remind you it’s a new year, this one’s for you.

What: Join the crowd and splash into Puget Sound on New Year’s Day

When: 11:30 a.m., Jan. 1

Where: Point Defiance boat launch, 5912 Waterfront Drive, in Point Defiance Park. Free

This week and early next is the best time to go to Seattle, before Viadoom takes over when the Viaduct closes and traffic is predicted to be catastrophic.

  • Enchant: New this year, Enchant Christmas is an immersive holiday experience with lights, a market, ice skating, entertainment, food and drink and more at Safeco Field. I’ve heard they have “pay what you can” days, but I don’t find that on their website, so you’ll need to ask. This event runs through December 30.
  • Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo. We like to illuminate our zoos around here. Open from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. through January 5. $10-$15
  • Seattle Center Winterfest, Through December 31, the Seattle Center is filled with free and affordable activities such ice sculpting and ice skating. The festival rings in the New Year with spectacular fireworks, Fountain of Light dance party and live music by premier cover band, Sway.
  • Nutcracker Ballet  Just two more days to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s rendition of the Nutcracker at McCaw Hall. But that means they have some screamin’ good deals.
  • Gingerbread Olympic
    Enjoy the wonder of  oversized gingerbread house made with more than 4,000 real gingerbread bricks. This is one of my all-time favorite charity events. Stop by and see what local architects can create from gingerbread. Open until January 1 in the lower lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

If you’re ready for a short road trip, here are my suggestions for activities beyond Seattle and Tacoma.

  •  New Year’s Eve Wildlife Viewing Cruise  with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center: Leaving from Port Townsend’s Point Hudson Marina at 1 p.m., tickets cost $55 per person. Call 360.385.5582, ext. 104, to make reservations.
  • First Night Celebration in Port Townsend: This all-ages, alcohol-fee event features live music and children’s activities. From 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • New Year’s Eve at Taps at the Guardhouse at Fort Worden: 8 p.m. -midnight. Live music and bubbly.


Let’s not forget our friends to the east. Bellevue goes all out with their fun and frolic for the holidays.


  • Garden d’Lightsat Bellevue Botanical Gardens runs through December 30. I saw this last year for the first time and was blown away by the amount of work that goes into this more-than-magnificent lighting display. Children under 10 are free, everyone else pays just $5.
  • Ice Skating at the Bellevue Downtown Park, 100 100th NE continues through January 13. Admission is $10-$15

I highly recommend calling before going to any of these events as I just discovered one big New Year’s Eve party had been “cancelled due to unforeseen events.”






Festival of Trees Captures the Art of Decorating

We took a peak at the 2010 Mary Bridge Festival of Trees over the weekend at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center and it was fantabulous. Designers decorated fir trees for Christmas that were then auctioned off to raise funds for the children served by Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center. These events raised $1.5 million last year.

Besides two days of public viewing, three other events happen during an extended weekend. Ladies Night Out, where ladies, of course, taste wine and other beverages, enjoy appetizers and shop plus also have an opportunity to marvel at the professionally decorated trees. Next comes the black-tie Gala Auction and Dinner with nearly 700 guests each year where these beautiful trees find their home for the holidays and then Jinglebell Jam gives people another chance to shop and bid on auction items. Visit www.marybridge.org/fot to find out more, but remember this year’s event is over.


I’ve always wondered if there was a right way to decorate a Christmas tree, but never really knew so I kind of just did it like my parents did. As it turns out, it’s an art, but Tammy Hall, a veteran Festival tree designer, claims novices can create a beautiful tree by following these tips that she shared with Debby Abe of the News Tribune:

  • Pick a theme and a color scheme for your tree – this year her team’s tree focused on “Just another day in paradise” and the colors used were aqua, silver, sea green and terra cotta.
  • String lots of lights, at least 100 lights per foot of the tree’s height – LED lights are more energy efficient, but also more costly, so choose between those or mini-twinkling lights.
  • Place the lights on the tree first. Hall likes to start at the top of the tree and wrap them around most branches starting from the outer tip, going toward the trunk and then back out.
  • Hang big ornaments first, then the smaller ones around them – try to bunch items in threes.
  • Put ornaments on the inside of branches, not just the tips.
  • Include ornaments that reflect light like glass ornaments and mirrored decorations – even CDs work as reflectors.
  • Choose items that fit your theme, but aren’t necessarily ornaments – butterfly net, feathers, organza, etc.
  • Find a tree topper as elegant as your tree.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment – Hall says over time she has become braver.


Do you have other tips about tree decorating? If so, please share them.