Lights, Camera, Santa! Readers’ Favorite Outings and Light Displays

2-reindeer-festival1Starting to plan your December holiday fun? Maybe looking to start a new tradition? We asked readers to share their favorite family holiday outings and light display destinations. We’d love to hear yours, too — post in comments below.

Readers’ favorite holiday outings

- “We love going to the festive music at night at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, lit up at night. It is amazing.”

- “We love filling up a shoebox every year for a child through Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child to remember that the season is more about the giving, and to connect us to our global community.”

- “My husband and daughter meet my sister and her sons at Swansons Nursery every year to see/feed the reindeer. There are poinsettias everywhere, a fun train to watch, not to mention the koi pond and all-around Christmas spirit!”

- “We have a Christmas Eve dinner at our neighbor’s house, then drive up and down the blocks of Olympic Manor, where all the houses have their fancy Xmas displays. Our daughter loves that the most, along with the reindeer at Swansons Nursery and the Teddy Bear Suite downtown.”

- “Since my 5-year-old daughter was first born, every year we’ve gone to Tacoma’s Festival of Trees on their family day. We ooh and ah over the pretty trees, eat our packed lunch while we watch the entertainment, play games to win prizes and then visit Santa.”

- “We like to go to Crista’s nursing home in Shoreline to see their Nativity exhibit. Last year they presented over 700 crèches from 80 countries. This year they are exhibiting in northeast Seattle for the first time to accommodate their expansion.”

- “Our family loves to go to Leavenworth during the winter holidays. The Bavarian village just exudes Christmas and winter! We love the snow, the shops, the Santa Shop and hot chocolate.”

- “Following Christmas Eve services, we get into our car and drive around Alki Point looking at the ferries and Christmas lights while listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas and Spike Jones’ Christmas album. Our kids are 11 and 14, but they still love this tradition.”

- Olympic Ballet in Edmonds also has a Nutcracker performance. It is about an hour long, so perfect for young children. Includes matinees at the intimate and lovely Edmonds Center for the Arts — and Everett. And often has with a ‘behind the scenes’ explanation for kiddos. Group rates, reasonably priced. Afterwards, we wander into Edmonds for a cocoa, cupcake or frozen yogurt from one of several shops. View the live, lighted Christmas tree at Centennial Plaza. Check out the former Carnegie Library, now Edmonds Museum, with moving model train, old-time jail and vintage rooms from the town’s shingle mill days.

- “One of my favorite traditions is our Polar Express night! The girls put their pajamas on a little earlier than normal, and I hide a golden ticket on their pillow. My husband gets his conductor hat and stands by the front door and blows our train whistle. I have hot chocolate and popcorn all ready. The girls run down the stairs and give the conductor their golden ticket, and we all pile in the car and go look at our favorite Christmas light displays.”

garden-dlights-snap-ddragonLight displays

- “We love going to the Bellevue Botanical Garden every year to see the Garden d’Lights. The kids love finding the frog that moves around every year. With thousands of new lights added each year, there is always something fresh to see.”

- “We regularly see a light display out in Woodinville — they do up the whole house and yard, and sync it to the radio. Fantastic! They collect donations for the Special Olympics to boot! Woodinville Wonderland: 23620 N.E. 183rd St., Woodinville, WA.”

- “Well, being that we live steps away from downtown, our favorite part of the year is when all the trees on First Avenue are lined with lights. :)”

- “Make sure to check out the neighborhood of South Cove at the southwest tip of Lake Sammamish in Issaquah, located off W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy (192nd Ave. S.E.). Most of the houses are decked out in elaborate displays. One of the cul-de-sacs is themed The Nutcracker! (off of SE 44th Way).”

zoolights-octopus-closeup-cropped2- “We love ZooLights [at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium].”

- “We love the Jones house in the Renton Highlands (4907 N.E. Second St.). Every inch of their house and yard are covered in lights which takes them over a month to prepare and they must use generators. They block off the street every year for a reveal party with fire pits and brats and the whole nine yards!”

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