December 17th, 2020 | Miller Advisors

Ho-Ho-Holiday Fun for Seattle, Eastside and South Sound Families in 2020

COVID-safe holiday activities you can still do with kids this pandemic season

Holiday family fun in 2020

It’s a weird holiday season closing out a weird pandemic year. There have been a fair number of bitter pills to swallow, especially for our kids. Many favorite holiday traditions and happenings can’t take place this year, but we’re here to say that lots of them can! We hope you find something here to delight your crew this season.

Issaquah Reindeer Festival

Visit Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah for its annual Issaquah Reindeer Festival if your kids want to see real-live reindeer. The zoo is open and has instituted detailed COVID-safety measures. Catch a glimpse of Santa, his decked-out sleigh and see the reindeer, of course.

Details: The festival runs Dec. 1-23 and 26-30. Book timed-entry tickets online.

Holiday Magic at the Fair

The Washington State Fair had to be canceled, but the Fair is delivering this season, with a drive-through event called Holiday Magic at the Fair. Stay safely in your vehicle while passing lights, stilt walkers and whimsical displays. You’ll have the chance to purchase Fair food favorites, such as Fisher scones. Themed merchandise will also be on offer.

Details: This event operates on select dates Dec. 4-Jan. 3. Buy timed entry tickets online.

Holiday light shows

Luckily, even with the pandemic season, there are lots of holiday light shows happening around the region. We’ve dropped them into some  categories below to make your planning a bit easier. We hope you find some holiday sparkle to enjoy with your fam!

Free displays:

Drive-through displays:

Walk-through displays:

Details: Most light shows run from around Thanksgiving through the new year. Check the links for each individual show, and book ahead online as necessary.

Molbak’s Nursery in Woodinville

Woodinville’s Molbak’s Home + Garden gets all decked out for the holidays, with poinsettias of every size and color – from pale green to deep burgundy – plus greenery, lights and decorated trees, including a 14-foot poinsettia tree. This year there’s a pretty handy Santa photo opportunity. Snap your Santa selfie with Molbak’s cardboard cutouts of St. Nick stationed both indoors and outdoors. Bring your selfie stick. Danish Kringle available for purchase. (Yum.)

Details: Molbak’s is open daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Masks and social distancing required.

Holiday train display at Swanson’s

Reindeer are typically the big draw at Swanson’s Nursery during the holiday season, but these guys can’t come this year. (And their awesome camel buddy Curley retired a couple of years ago – miss that guy!) Even so, Swanson’s has set up its elaborate model train set that’s fun to look at, amid all the pretty plants and gift ideas. There’s also a self-guided holiday adventure tour around the store. Pick up a map at the entrance. Be sure to keep your distance and, of course, wear your masks (as with all the ideas on this list).

Santa photos are available off-site this year. Contact Bonjour Photography directly at 206-362-6262.

Details: Make a reservation to visit Swanson’s this season. Check available times online

Reindeer at Watson’s

We’re so happy that reindeer pals Donner and Blitzen have arrived for their seasonal stay at Watson’s Greenhouse in Puyallup . Be prepared to follow COVID safety guidelines, including wearing masks, then stop by and say hello to these guys.

Details: Watson’s is open daily and Donner and Blitzen will be around through Dec. 24.

Gingerbread Candy Shoppe

KidsQuest Children’s Museum has reinvented its annual gingerbread house-building tradition for this season. It’s now called the Gingerbread Candy Shoppe and here’s how it works. Book your family time, head to Bellevue Square to stock up on all your candy decorations, then grab your gingerbread house kit – frosting included – and construct your one-of-a-kind house at home.

Details: Sessions available Dec. 16-19. Book online soon; time slots are filling fast. Cost is $50 per family/kit. Additional kids available. Discount for museum members.

Campus Luminata, virtual Winterfest performances
and coloring contest

We can’t dress it up too much: The usual array of amazing fun that makes up Seattle Center’s Winterfest is significantly reduced this year. There’s no holiday village and train, and no ice skating. The terrific free performances that typically entertain families in the Armory will be virtual this year.

But, as we make the best of things, there are a few fun aspects of Winterfest happening this year. From home, families can enjoy free online performances by student music and dance groups, as well as demos and performances from this year’s virtual Festàl events. In person, families can wander through the Seattle Center campus, transformed into Campus Luminata with thousands of lights. Finally, enter to win prizes with a coloring contest for all ages.

Details: Catch the virtual stuff online, and the lights in person, Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2020.

Snowflake Lane

Snowflake Lane is another family favorite holiday tradition whose magic is significantly reduced for 2020. The over-the-top parade of choreographed characters can’t happen this year. Instead, families can enjoy lights and music along the usual parade route, either from the sidewalks or their cars. Word is, it might also “snow” at times.

Details: Check out Snowflake Lane, 2020 edition, Nov. 27-Dec. 24, 5-9 p.m. each night. Free.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®

Join Pacific Northwest Ballet for a favorite holiday tradition from the comfort of home for 2020. Stream this archival performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® with the unique-to-Seattle scenery and costumes by Ian Falconer and immerse yourself in a candy-filled dreamland.

Details: Streaming starts on December 18, 2020 and on December 11, 2020 for Digital Performance Plus ticket buyers. Run time is 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Holiday events at The Old Cannery Furniture Store

The Old Cannery Furniture Store is a popular shop in Sumner that really gets into the holiday spirit. Typically there’s a sparkling bridge-lighting ceremony, plus Santa and more fun.

This year they’ve had to scale back some. You can stop by the store to see it all decked out in lights and holiday decorations, and the store will host reindeer visits on a few dates: Saturday, Nov. 28, noon-4 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 12-13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Check the store’s Facebook page for ongoing holiday updates.

The store also promises its usual giveaways and the possibility for virtual calls with Santa, who’s holing up at the North Pole this year to keep everyone safe. Keep checking Facebook for more info on that.

Details: The store is open daily for those who want to check out the holiday decorations. Reindeer dates are Nov. 28 and Dec. 12-13.

Miller Advisors hopes you will enjoy this list of holiday activities. We
wish you and your family a Joyful Holiday and a very Happy New Year!



Article Sources: ParentMap | Seattle Activities for Kids and Family Resources
By: Nancy Chaney | November 22, 2020
Editor’s note: Former ParentMap editor Kris Collingridge contributed to this report
Photo Source: iStock
Additional Photo Source: Issaquah Reindeer Festival; Holiday Magic ant the Fair; WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle.
Credit: Nancy Chaney; Molbak’s Home + Garden ; Swansons Nursery; Watson’s Reindeer; Seattle Center; Snowflake Lane
Reimagined 2020