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Holiday traditions

We all talk about stress during the holidays, when they should be filled with child-like joy and happiness. Make sure you get out and enjoy new or old traditions and do something besides shop (unless that gives you great joy). No kids? Get on the carousel anyway! And since we're a dining magazine, stop and enjoy treats, meals, and beverages to add to all this fun.

Sheraton Gingerbread Village

It's great every year, but 2017 is the 25th anniversary of Sheraton's Gingerbread Village. For the first time, the Village will be located at the City Centre building, across the street from the Sheraton, at 1420 Fifth Ave, Suite 450. You should go in, but you will be able to see part of the display through windows on Fifth and Sixth Avenues. If you don't know about this, Seattle's top architectural firms, master builders and Sheraton Seattle culinary teams come together and build amazing gingerbread structures based on a theme. This year it's 25 Years of Cheer: A Celebration of Seattle. You'll "stroll through Seattle's cobblestone past and glimpse into its future, reflecting on what makes the city special." Sure, you'll see the Space Needle, but these people come up with something ambitious and amazing every year.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017-Monday, January 1, 2018. Viewing hours are Monday-Thursday 6:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m., Friday 6:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-12:30 a.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.-11:30 p.m. The event is free, but you can leave a donation for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Fairmont Olympic

The Fairmont Olympic is always beautiful, but at Christmas, oh my. Their lobby tree is enormous, and you can pick your spot to sit and simply look. Seattle Festival of Trees, which benefits Seattle Children's Autism Center and uncompensated care at Seattle Children's Hospital, has trees throughout the hotel. No charge, donations appreciated. There is music, children's sing-along, a storyteller, homemade cookies, Santa photos, and more.

The Fairmont has a tea in The Garden Room with both Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday, December 16 with three seatings: 11, 11:15, and 11:30 a.m. Adults $75 plus tax and gratuity, $55 for children 4-12. In addition, holiday tea can be enjoyed in the Georgian through Sunday, December 31. $69 for adults, $35 for children 4-12, plus tax and gratuity.

And no holiday is complete without at least a quick look, if not a longer stay, at their Teddy Bear Suite. Each year a suite is set aside and filled with tiny to huge teddy bears, enjoying their holiday at the Fairmont. The suite is open  until December 26, 2017. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Sunday. There is no charge, but donations are appreciated for Seattle Children's Hospital.

For the first time, the pastry chefs and culinary teams are going all out to build a gingerbread house (4,100 gingerbread tiles, 960 lbs of flour, 20 gallons of milk, 80 lbs of butter, 80 lbs of molasses, 75 gallons of icing, 2500 candy canes, 1000 spearmints, 3 lbs of cinnamon, 3 lbs of nutmeg, and so much more) that guests will use as the entrance to the hotel on University Street. The tasty entrance is officially open for use through January 2, 2018. Not to be missed.

Pacific Place

Enjoy live holiday music on the atrium stage at Pacific Place. Through December 24, Fridays 5-7 p.m., Saturdays 12-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m., and Sundays 12-2 p.m.

Through December 24, "the forecast calls for flurries at Pacific Place!" Monday-Saturday at 5 and 6 p.m., snow shows take place inside the atrium. They last a little over 5 minutes, and Santa makes an appearance. Sponsored by WARM 106.9 (WARM snow???).

The Macy's star is lit, and don't miss the carousel: there's nothing like whirling around at night (you can do day time, too) and seeing the tall tree and the Macy's star, and lots of people, and places you need to go once the ride is over. More information is coming the week of November 6, so check with Macy's or Westlake Center for further details.

Bellevue Holiday Events

Bellevue's Snowflake Lane is really impressive. Head up to the sky bridge, grab a seat at McCormick and Schmick's, P.F. Chang's or other restaurants along the route, or just stand on the sidewalks of Bellevue Way and NE 8 th at The Bellevue Collection. Every night, snow falls, and live toy soldiers and winter characters walk the street. Music, a light show. You can be 5 or 95 and this will be fun. Through December 24, the 20-minute show starts at 7 p.m. The new parade route stars on NE 8th at the Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square sky bridge and winds down Bellevue Way past Macy's, then back to the Hyatt Bellevue Hotel. There is no charge for this event.

The Bellevue Ice Skating arena is open daily through January 8 at a new (temporary) home at Ashwood Park next to the Bellevue Public Library. Admission is $12 which includes a $3 skate rental. $9 for children 8 and under. Credit cards accepted.

 Garden d'Lights Festival

The Bellevue Botanical Garden is transformed by over half a million sparking lights through December 31, 2017. 4:30-9 p.m. and lights go out at 9:30, so take that seriously. It happens every evening, including holidays. Tickets are $5 per person, children 10 and under are free. You can buy tickets online and they can be used on any night. They have Free Nights (November 27-30, December 4-7) that are free for everyone. Check out the website for parking information ($5 per car in the Garden's parking lot, but there is more parking elsewhere). New this year is live music on certain nights. Check their Facebook and Instagram pages for more information.

Seattle Center Winterfest

Through December 31, Seattle Center becomes a winter wonderland with lights, child-sized amusements, and fun-filled free and affordable activities.

Winter Train and Village in the Seattle Center Armory, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free. Closes at 4 p.m. December 24 and all day December 25.

Winterfest Ice Rink at the Fisher Pavilion, Through January 1, 2018. Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Closes at 4 p.m. December 24, all day December 25, and 11:30 a.m. December 31. Admission and skate rental fees. Credit cards accepted.

The Dickens Carolers stroll about in Victorian costumes on Saturdays: December 3, 10, 17, 24. 2-3 p.m. Free

Winterfest Ice Sculpting highlights award-winning artists creating seasonal ice sculptures outside the Fisher Pavilion. Saturdays: December 2, 9, 16, 23, 30. Free.

The Shops at the Bravern

Brunch with Santa at Sugar Factory takes place December 2 and 9 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Photos with Santa, complimentary valet parking, a gift bag, menu items, cocktails and non-alcoholic creations. Brunch choices: traditional French Toast, Sugar Factory Pancake Stack, Chicken Fingers and French Fries, plus more/drinks include holiday coffees, hot chocolate, mimosas Bloody Marys, Hot Toddys). $39 per adult, $29 for kids. The Shops at the Bravern is a beautiful spot, so just going to look at decorations is a worthy goal.

November 2017

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