‘Tis the season for wishes. Whether it’s the Littles wishing for toys under the Christmas tree, dads wishing for the latest and greatest gadgets or moms wishing for some peace and quiet, wishes abound during the holiday season. If your crew has already written their letters to Santa and you’re looking for something a little more heartfelt than The Elf on the Shelf, you need to check out Seattle’s newest Wishing Tree on the north slope of Queen Anne. It’s a special place designed to let the magic last all year long.

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 photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

The Beginning
Located on the north slope of Queen Anne, this latest Wishing Tree was started over the summer by a Queen Anne family who wanted to celebrate the life of mom and grandmother, Judy Gregory. Ben, Casey, their children, Emmy and Theo, and Judy’s partner, Cindi Forslund, wanted a way to honor their mom and grandmother, so they started the wishing tree after a celebration of her life—with the children writing and hanging the first wishes on the tree. Ben says his mom was a wonderful person in so many ways, “She was especially good at seeing the beauty all around us and loved to connect with people.” And because of this connection, the family decided that a wish tree would be the perfect way to honor their mom and grandma.

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 photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Best Wishes
The Hanisko family placed a tin at the base of the tree with pens, tags and a note encouraging everyone who passes by to write down their wishes, tie them to the tree and wait for them to come true. What began with just a few dozen wishes from friends and family has now blossomed into hundreds of wishes dangling from the branches, written by passerbys of all ages. From “I wish for a puppy,” to “I wish I was a mermaid,” to one possibly written in Klingon, hopes and dreams of all kinds dangle from the tree. Ben says, “My daughter’s favorite is someone’s wish that they liked bananas. That cracked her up. My son’s favorite says, I wish everyone felt happy and loved.”

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 photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Where to Make Your Wishes
To find the Wishing Tree, walk along the Queen Anne side of the Ship Canal Trail just west of the Fremont Bridge. It’s a large spreading cherry tree you can’t miss. Once there, take a walk around and read some of the wishes to your minis. Then, take a tag from the tin and write or draw your wishes on the tag and tie them on a branch. The Hanisko family hopes that everyone walking the trail will stop and enjoy the wishes as well as make some of their own.

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 photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Inspiration Behind the Tree
The Hanisko family says they were inspired to create the wishing tree after seeing a similar tree in Victoria, B.C. “I think the world needs us to do small things here and there to create some beauty, fun and connection and try to make things a little better,” says Ben. “I see such beauty in the wishes the kids and adults are putting out to the world. It’s a simple thing our family is doing to help make people’s day brighter and I hope it inspires others to do their own thing.” The family also feels the tree is something Gregory would be delighted with and we couldn’t agree more.

Additional Sites to See
Once you and your posse have written your wishes, continue your trek along the Ship Canal Trail. It’s a great place to walk, bike or scoot the crazies off. On the Queen Anne side of the canal, you can head west to Fisherman’s Terminal or if you’re feeling really adventurous, head the other direction to the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop.

Psst… this isn’t the only wishing tree in our area. Head over to the Capital Hill neighborhood to find another Wishing Tree at 21st Ave. E. and Galer St.

Have you visited the wishing tree on Lower Queen Anne or on Capitol Hill? What did you wish for? Tell us in the Comments below!

— Natalia Dotto