The holidays are almost here and what better way to get into the spirit of the season than to attend a tree or menorah lighting. From cozy neighborhood get-togethers to city-wide spectacles complete with fireworks, we’ve rounded up a handful of events worth braving the weather for. So bundle up the kiddies and head out into the frosty evenings to enjoy these bright events.

On Friday, November 27, 2015, Macy’s will continue the tradition of the Holiday Star Lighting Ceremony, which is celebrating its 59th anniversary. This event happens in conjunction with the annual Seattle Westlake Center tree lighting and debut of the Downtown Seattle Association’s Carousel at Westlake Park. . The famous 161-foot high, 3,600-bulb Holiday Star is a Seattle favorite. This event begins at 5 p.m. and will include an incredible fireworks display (weather permitting).

photo: Macy’s 

Tree Lightings

Westlake Center Tree Lighting
This year’s tree lighting ceremony will be more of community gathering than a big production. However, get there early to stake out a spot, because the crowds will still be full and festive. Music and faux snow is on the agenda and everyone in your crew can take a ride on the The DSA IKEA Holiday Carousel while they wait; it typically closes during the tree lighting, so be aware of the time. Psst! Be sure to check out the new holiday street fair in Westlake Park.

When: Nov. 25, 2016 around 4:30 p.m.
Where: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Cost: Free

Macy’s Star Lighting & Fireworks
In conjunction with Westlake Center’s community gathering, see the famous 161-foot high, 3,600 bulb Macy’s Holiday Star light up the streets of downtown Seattle to welcome the holiday season. Be sure to stick around for the fireworks show which will take place after the ceremony (weather permitting).

When: Nov. 25, 2016 at 5 p.m.
Where: Westlake Center Plaza, 400 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Cost: Free

Photo # 9887IMG160091

 photo: The Bellevue Collection

Santa’s Grand Arrival & Tree Lighting Ceremony
Santa will be making his grand arrival at The Bellevue Collection during this special Santa Arrival Parade and Tree Lighting ceremony. Bundle up the kiddos and watch Santa make his way along the parade route from N.E 8th at the Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square sky bridge, along Bellevue Way and past Macy’s, then back to the Hyatt Bellevue Hotel. Following the parade, Santa will light the 30-foot holiday tree at Bellevue Place Wintergarden and everyone is invited to enjoy a special meet and greet with the characters from Snowflake Lane, holiday music and cookies and cocoa. Don’t forget your camera—the photo opps are sure to be plentiful here!

When: Nov. 25, 2016 at 7 p.m. (tree lighting will take place at approximately 7:30 p.m.).
Where: The Bellevue Collection, 575 Bellevue Square, Bellevue, Wa 98004
Cost: Free

Tree Lighting Ceremony at Alderbrook Resort & Spa
If you’re planning on being near Alderbrook Resort & Spa over Thanksgiving weekend, be sure to catch the Resort’s fabulous tree lighting ceremony on Friday. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be sailing into Hood Canal for the holiday festivities and you can watch as the jolly man in the red suit ceremoniously kicks off a “Winter Wonderland” by flipping the switch on more than ten miles of lights adorning the Resort, including a 35-foot holiday tree. In addition to the tree lighting, enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, photos with Santa and a spectacular fireworks show. This is one tree lighting your kids will never forget!

When: Nov. 25, 2016 at 4 p.m. (open to both hotel and non-hotel guests)
Where: Alderbrook Resort & Spa, 10 E. Alderbrook Dr., Union, Wa 98592
Cost: Free

alderbrook tree lighting

photo: Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Magic in the Market Holiday Celebration
Each year, the Pike Place Market gets in on the holiday action with its Magic in the Market event. This year, you and your crew can meet Santa and take free photos with the jolly ol’ fella, decorate gingerbread cookies in the Market Atrium Kitchen and listen to festive performances by STRUM ukulele band in the Atrium and caroling choirs under the Market clock. Plus, everyone will enjoy noshing on delish food from market vendors while shopping for locally made gifts. At 5 p.m., Santa will lead a countdown to the lighting of the 20-foot holiday tree and lights throughout the Market.

When: Nov. 26, 2016 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (tree lighting at 5 p.m.)
Where: Pike Place Market, 1st Ave. & Pike St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Cost: Free

Edmonds Tree Lighting 
Welcome the holiday season at this annual tree lighting ceremony in downtown Edmonds. The merriment will include delicious holiday snacks like cider, hot cocoa and cookies followed by the tree lighting and caroling through the streets of downtown Edmonds. Psst! After the tree lighting, kids can get their picture taken with Santa for free.

When: Nov. 26, 2016 from 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (vendors and music start at 2 p.m.)
Where: Centennial Plaza, corner of 5th & Bell St., Edmonds, Wa 98020
Cost: Free

Kirkland Winterfest Holiday Tree Lighting & Family Festival
Plan on making a day of it at this year’s Winterfest extravaganza in downtown Kirkland. Bundle up the kiddies and celebrate with an afternoon of live holiday performances, carols, kids’ activities, games, refreshments and food throughout the downtown Kirkland area. Then, head to Peter Kirk Park to watch the arrival of Santa and the annual tree lighting ceremony marking the beginning of the Winterfest Celebration.

When: Nov. 26, 2016 from 3:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (tree lighting at 5 p.m.)
Where: Downtown Kirkland & Peter Kirk Park, 202 3rd St., Kirkland, Wa 98033
Cost: Free

poinsettia tree at molbaks

photo: Becca C. via Yelp

Santa Arrival & Tree Lighting at Molbak’s Home + Garden
Take your crew to Woodinville to kick off the holiday season. Starting at 1 p.m., families can enjoy pictures with Santa, a wine and beer tent for grownups and yummy food trucks at Windermere. Then, at 4 p.m. the party continues at Molbak’s Garden + Home where everyone can enjoy food vendors, free Starbucks coffee, a Santa parade (at 5:15 p.m.) and the lighting of the 70-foot Christmas tree. Psst… while you’re there, be sure to marvel at the twinkling lights and check out the sea of poinsettias.

When: Nov. 27, 2016 from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (Santa parade & tree lighting from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.)
Where: Molbak’s Garden + Home, 13625 N.E. 175th St., Woodinville, Wa 98072
Cost: Free

A Victorian Country Christmas Festival Tree Lighting
Kick off this year’s Victorian Country Christmas extravaganza with the third annual tree lighting of a larger-than-life holiday tree. The 185-foot extreme Christmas tree will light up the sky with 4,494  lights revealing a show-stopping surprise ending. In addition to the tree lighting ceremony, enjoy holiday festivities including the arrival of Santa in a horse-drawn carriage, free hot cider and cookies and holiday music.

Good to Know: Ticket admission is required to attend the tree lighting ceremony. Santa’s Village will feature animated displays, beautiful decor, entertainment and memorable photos with Santa.

When: Nov. 30, 2016 at 5 p.m.
Where: Washington State Fair Events Center, 110 9th Ave. S.W., Puyallup, Wa 98371
Cost: $12/Adults; $10/Seniors & Students (6-18); $8/Military with ID; 5 & under Free

Very Merry Sammamish Tree Lighting
This festive family event is a perfect way to kick off your holiday season. Enjoy a petting zoo, face painting, crafts, live entertainment and treats, plus the lighting of the annual Christmas tree and an appearance by St. Nick! Bundle up for the weather and plan on making a night of it.

When: Dec. 2, 2016 from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Where: Sammamish Commons Plaza, 801 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish, Wa 98075
Cost: Free (food extra)

Ivar's Clam Lights

 photo: Kristina Moy

Ivar’s Clam Lights Tree Lighting 
Bundle up in your warmest hats, scarves and coats and head to Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park for this momentous holiday spectacular. See thousands of twinkling lights, holiday scenes and Ivar’s famous Dancing Clams. Plus, enjoy live holiday entertainment and see the Argosy Christmas Ship and Parade of Boats cruise into the park starting at 7:30 p.m.

When: Dec. 2, 2016 from 6:15 p.m.-8:20 p.m. (7 p.m. official lighting by Renton’s mayor)
Where: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N., Renton, Wa 98056
Cost: Free

Mercer Island Holiday Tree Lighting & Firehouse Munch
Meet at Mercerdale Park to take in the community tree lighting ceremony, carol with friends and family and enjoy music and activities before parading to the local Firehouse to enjoy tasty treats, children’s entertainment, arts and crafts and pics with Santa. Psst! Don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots drive.

When: Dec. 2, 2016 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (tree lighting from 6:30 p.m.-7 p.m.)
Where: Mercerdale Park, 77th Ave. S.E. & S.E. 32nd St., Mercer Island, Wa, 98040
Cost: Free

luminaries

photo: Adrian Berg via flickr

Redmond Tree Lighting & Luminary Walk 
This annual event will begin at City Hall Plaza with kids’ activities, musical entertainment and refreshments along with a Holiday Market (open noon-6 p.m.) and a festive community tree lighting. After the tree is lit, join in on the Luminary Walk between City Hall Plaza and Redmond Town Center and take in the light displays, music and entertainment and warm beverages along the way. When you reach RTC, you’ll be greeted with crafts for the kids and entertainment, plus the holiday carousel and ice skating rink.

When: Dec. 3, 2016 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. (tree lighting will take place before 5 p.m.)
Where: City Hall Plaza, 15670 N.E. 85th St., Redmond, Wa 98052
Cost: Free

Bothell Country Village Shops Tree Lighting & Santa Arrival
Experience the magical arrival of Santa aboard his brand new Christmas float at Country Village Shops. A traditional tree lighting ceremony will follow Santa’s arrival, heralded by the Village’s own Town Crier. While you wait for the festivities to start, munch on tasty holiday treats at Santa’s Workshop or complimentary hot roasted chestnuts. Plus, enjoy pony and train rides (weather permitting) and holiday-themed music and be sure to check out the whimsical gingerbread house display and the Village’s animated light display featuring a 40′ sea serpent, fiddling pig, giant dragonfly, marching ducks and more. Everyone will have a chance to greet Santa after the tree lighting and receive a candy cane.

When: Dec. 3, 2016 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Santa arrives at 7 p.m. followed by the tree lighting)
Where: Country Village Shops, 23718 7th Ave. S.E., Bothell, Wa 98021
Cost: Free

country village shops tree lighting

photo: Country Village Shops

West Seattle Junction Holiday Party & Tree Lighting
Each year, Westseattleites gather for this annual holiday event in The Junction. In addition to the lighting of the community tree, holiday music and delish treats, there will be a progressive party hosted by Junction businesses. Enjoy nibbles, drinks and deals all wrapped up with holiday flair before and after the tree ceremony.

When: Dec. 3, 2016 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. (tree lighting at 4:30 p.m.)
Where: West Seattle Junction & Plaza Park, 42nd Ave. S.W. & Alaska St., Seattle, Wa 98116
Cost: Free

Menorah Lightings & Hanukkah Events

Explore Hanukkah at the Festivals of Light Exhibit
Kids can explore the traditions of Hanukkah through special performances, playtime and crafts at the Seattle Children’s Museum. Museum staff will be on-hand to teach kids how to play dreidel games and all visitors can create their own dreidel during their exploration. Check their Facebook page for updates, special performances and activities taking place throughout the week.

When: Dec. dates TBD. Open weekdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; weekends from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Seattle Children’s’ Museum, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, Wa 98109
Cost: $9.50-$10.50/person; under 1 Free

hanukkah

photo: Marcy Grantor

Menorah Mania
Celebrate Hanukkah with the J community! This annual festive community-wide Hanukkah party will feature tons of family fun. Make your own Hanukkah menorah to take home, decorate cookies and play a life-sized dreidel game. Plus, enjoy performances from the Klezmatics and a re-telling of the Hanukkah story from the local musicians of Shul of Rock. Food will be available for purchase from Napkin Friends, Delfino’s Chicago Pizza and Street Donuts.

Good to Know: Please bring supplies to donate to SJCC’s mitzvah project: care kits to deliver to the homeless. Suggested items include water bottles, granola bars, hand warmers, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, etc.

When: Dec. 17, 2016, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Where: Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Cost: Free (with donation to SJCC mitzvah project)

Sha’arei Tikvah Chanukah Celebration
This community-wide celebration wil be led by Rabbi Lipper, Cantor Serkin-Poole, Rabbi Meyer, Emily Katcher and special guests. Families of all ages are invited to spin dreidels, sing songs and eat latkes. Advance registration is encouraged; register online.

When: Dec. 18, 2016 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m
Where: Temple B’nai Torah, 15727 N.E. 4th St., Bellevue, Wa 98008
Cost: Free

chanukah candles

photo: Marcy Grantor

Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
Light the menorah with the SJCC community during the week of Hanukkah. Meet in the Stroum Jewish Community Center lobby for singing, candle lighting and storytelling each night Dec. 27-30.

When: Dec. 27-30, 2016 from 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Where: Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Cost: Free

Hanukkah Party
At this annual Hanukkah party, celebrate with freshly made latkes, candle lighting, traditional holiday songs, Hanukkah carnival games for the kiddies and a potluck meal. Bring your menorah and a dish to share and join the fun!

When: Dec. 30 2016 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (check their website for updates)
Where: For directions, contact 206-528-1944 or info@secularjewishcircle.org
Cost: Free (with a dish to share)

We know there are lots of places to catch holiday tree lightings and Hanukkah events this season. Did we miss your family’s favorite spot? Tell us in the Comments below.

— Kristina Moy