You've been waiting all year. You've already watched Love Actually twice, you're queuing up to rewatch The Holiday, and you've been listening to Christmas music since September.
Whenever someone complains about decorations being up at Rite Aid before Thanksgiving, you just ignore those sad grinches because nothing in this world makes you happier. It is finally time to unleash the Christmas fanatic inside and let the holiday spirit pour out of you like a fountain of eggnog.
Luckily, you live in Washington: the Christmas tree capital of the country. Maybe that's not by accident. Here, you can celebrate Christmas in a host of unique or traditional ways. No more sitting at home in your reindeer onesie listening to "Where Are You, Christmas?" on a loop--it's time to take this party outside and share it with the world!
Whether you like to get crafty, get musical, get boozy, or just watch an adorable fox playing with a snowman, our list has got you covered this holiday season.
Where: Northwest Trek
When: December 29-30
Celebrate the holidays as you've never celebrated before--with wild animals. This annual tradition at the famed Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has become one of the most loved (and most unique) Christmas events in Washington.
Guests of the park watch curious animals play with holiday-themed props, like black bears finding new uses for a Christmas tree. Hot cocoa is served in a cozy cabin, and tram tours take guests in the sky to spy on bison and elk. Enjoy the spirit of the season at this awe-inspiring nature escape.
Where: Beaumont Cellars
When: December 9 and 16
Make your own custom wreath to take home or give as a gift during this fun, artsy event. Drink a tasting flight of wine while you work and choose your favorite for a glass! If you know someone who loves wine, you can jumpstart your shopping by picking up a few bottles for Christmas gifts. Get a case and hand them out like Santa Claus!
"You get a bottle of wine! YOU get a bottle of wine! You all get bottles of wine!"
Where: Check-in at the Heathman Hotel
When: November 16
Kick off the holiday season in style with your ugliest sweaters at this festive annual gathering in Kirkland. You're invited to shamelessly bring your own wine glass from home and tour the neighborhood to fill up on wine from local wineries.
It's basically trick or treating for winos. You dress up in something awful, you bring something empty that you want to be filled, then you get it filled by strangers throughout the night. You even have the same sick feeling the next day, with the same knowledge that it was all totally worth it.
Where: Safeco Field
When: November and December
Get lost inside the world's largest light maze at this year's Enchant: The Great Search. Search here, and ye shall find more than just pretty lights!
There will be ice skating, Santa Claus, hot cocoa, local crafts and gifts, and perhaps even a bit of magic! The canopy of lights in the maze will be the perfect spot to grab a few photos in an impromptu photo shoot for Instagram! Talk about great lighting! Bring someone you love there and create images that will remind you of this holiday season and these moments for years to come.
The scenery here is so compelling that men have dropped to their knees and confessed their love in marriage proposals in the middle of the event.
Nothing is more romantic and heartwarming than love at Christmastime, under a canopy of lights. Book your ticket now and experience the sensation for yourself!
When: December 1
Washington's most famous winery loves Christmas too! Celebrate the season by learning how to decorate cookies like a pro from an expert! The winery takes on a new level of charm in winter months as the chilly landscape seems like the perfect setting for a holiday happy hour. This is the perfect way to brush up your kitchen skills before the holiday parties get into full swing.
Sip wine from the vineyard for creative inspiration while you decorate.
Where: Paramount Theatre
When: November 13
If you loved Hamilton, you'll appreciate this creative "spin" on a Christmas classic. An animated cast of artists breathes new life into the original story, adding layers of culture, vibrant personalities, and a sense of play.
This show is only in Seattle one night this year, so get your tickets ASAP!
When: November 29-December 2, 6-9, 13-16, 19-23, 26-29
You can never have too many Christmas lights! But if you could, this would be pushing it! Yes, sir, it would! However, since you're obsessed with Christmas--the more lights, the merrier you'll be! Come share in merriment and experience the joy of the season with this LIT celebration in rural Stanwood, near Skagit Bay.
More than 15 acres of lights cover Warm Beach Camp, illuminating guests as they enjoy festivities that include a Polar Express train ride, dinner theatre performances, pony rides, and Santa visits.
When: Throughout winter
Leavenworth may be the most festive place in Washington to celebrate any holiday, but being there during Christmastime feels especially idyllic--as if you've been transported into one of the holiday stories you grew up reading.
Even the horses are feeling the spirit in Leavenworth!
It's unsurprising, then, that there would be a thriving sleigh ride industry there. You've got a variety of options for riding through the snowy forest, snug under blankets and sipping hot cocoa (or whatever you want to bring in your canister!).
Where: Unexpected Productions
Some traditions are meant to be broken--or, at least remixed. While the classic story will always have a place in our hearts, this reinvention of A Christmas Carol will keep audiences (and performers) on their toes.
It starts with Ebenezer Scrooge, then the audience decides where the story goes from there.
Decide Scrooge's destiny this year with Unexpected Productions at Pike Place Market.
Where: Neptune Theater
When: December 2
In a self-described "filthy look at Christmas", the eccentric and obscurely talented artist John Waters shares his love for the holiday by examining such burning questions as "Is Santa Claus erotic?" The cult filmmaker made a name for himself with movies including Hairspray and Pink Flamingos, and he brings the same twisted, offbeat sense of storytelling to this one-man show.
Where: Allen Theatre at ACT
When: November 23–December 28
Watching A Christmas Carol at ACT Theatre is a beloved annual tradition among many Seattleites, and it continues to charm audiences. Each year the production is reimagined in ways that keep the performances fresh and captivating.
Where: Volunteer Park Conservatory
When: November 16, 2018–January 1, 2019
This annual event in Capitol Hill is a festive daytime option for holiday festivities.
The conservatory at Volunteer Park is always a special place to visit, with countless types of fauna flourishing inside the glass building, but seeing the joy of Christmas celebrated there brings yet another level of awe to this local Seattle gem.
Where: Downtown Leavenworth
When: November 30, December 1-2, 7-9, 14-16
Over half a million lights cover this quaint Bavarian village every year, turning it into a glowing ode to your favorite holiday! Downtown Leavenworth is taken over by the Christmas spirit everywhere you look. On a typical day, this picturesque village already looks like it could double as a set from Harry Potter's Hogsmeade Village.
Drink hot spiced wine and cocoa, take photos with costumed Christmas characters, and listen to live choir performances. Feel like a kid again--or, just drink spiced wine and be glad you're an adult who doesn't have to pretend to like your family's annual Christmas casserole anymore.
When: November 21
Where: Paramount Theatre
The legendary performers of Cirque Du Soleil are coming to Seattle for one night of holiday magic. Watch these incredible artists defy what we thought the human body was capable of, and be ready to have what some audiences consider a near spiritual experience just witnessing the beauty of the production.
When: December 7-9
Vogue Magazine said this year that "Walla Walla, Washington Should be Your Next Wine Region Vacation," and they're right. What better occasion to visit than to taste your way through the holiday barrels and raise a toast to Christmas and great wine?
This serenely beautiful farm town has blossomed into what some people are calling a "mini Napa Valley," although some Washingtonians could do without the comparison. Celebrate what the holidays mean to you while enjoying some of the best wine in the country--just a few hours from Seattle.