And we’re off! You might feel like doing nothing more than sitting back and digesting Thanksgiving dinner, but the holiday season kicks off this weekend – and, everywhere you look, there’s some kind of holly-jingle-claus-like event you just can’t miss.  We’ve got the deets on tree lighting festivities, Christmas Ships and Thanksgiving parades and Turkey tosses.  We’re also offering an early bird chance to take a photo with the Jolly Dude, a book signing by a local author who has written a fun holiday book, a puppet show, and a musical comedy. We’d be worse than remiss if we didn’t mention the grand opening of two of our area’s biggest seasonal attractions – Bellevue’s Magic Season and Seattle Center’s Winterfest. Consider this heads-up a reminder to make plans to ice skate, watch fake snow, or take a train ride sometime in the next month.


Santa at Bellevue Art and Frame
Yes, we know it’s not December yet, but this photo opp just might just offer the chance to get you hands on a Santa-and-kiddos pic perfect for your holiday cards. Photos range from $11 to $20; craft time, cookies and cider are a bonus! All boxed Holiday Cards, photo frames, and opening mats are 20% off for this event only! P.S. Bellevue Frame also does story time on Wednesday mornings at 10. Sat., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bellevue, Free. Event details.

Twas the Night at Studio East
It’s opening weekend of the 10th year of this great family musical based on the famous holiday poem. The actors present a hilarious take on the classic children’s rhyme; we guarantee many LOL moments at this must-see comedy event!. Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. through Dec. 19, Kirkland, $13. Event details.

Opening of Bellevue Magic Season
The ice rink tent has been taunting visitors for days – and the wait to indulge in a little downtown skating is finally over! This year’s rink is larger than ever; take advantage of the snack-opportunities and explore downtown holiday events! Opens Fri., through Jan. 9, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Bellevue, $10. Event details.


Author Appearance at Mockingbird Books
Bring the little ones to meet Maggie Smith, author/illustrator of the wonderful holiday book Christmas With the Mousekins, forty pages of recipes, crafts, and poems as the Mousekin family gently teaches kids about safety, responsibility, and the real holiday spirit. Mess around with the holiday crafts that are part and parcel of this event, and then take advantage of the scenery to browse Mockingbird’s wonderful selection of books. Sat., 2 p.m., Green Lake, Free. Event details.

Ridge Romp at Phinney Neighborhood Center
Watch the always-entertaining Thistle Theatre use traditional Japanese Bunraku puppets to present Yo Ho Ho The Pirate Show, where kiddos learn how to walk, talk and sing like pirates. Join Crazy Captain Jenny as she teaches kids the all-important Pirate Code of Conduct, and join in on an interactive quest complete with treasure maps and a message in a bottle! Sat., 10:00 a.m., Seattle, $3. Event details.

Seattle Center Winterfest
Ice skating? A train ride? Ice sculpting Concert by a bonfire? You can have it all (and you have plenty of time to do it!) with the opening of Winterfest activities this weekend. Fri., 10 am to 7 p.m. and runs various times through Jan. 2., Seattle, various prices. Event details.