In between all of the holiday hoopla (shopping, decorating, wrapping, and baking) that needs to get done, you have kiddos to entertain during their long winter break. Save yourself from a holiday-induced panic attack with this list of holiday events that are sure to keep the kiddos busy while you work your Christmas magic. If you’re lucky—by the time you’re finished with this list, it will almost be time for New Years!

PNB Nutcracker Snow 2002

1. Have you crossed everything off your shopping list yet? Just in case you haven’t we’ve compiled an awesome Holiday Gift Guide for everyone in your family. We guarantee that you’ll find some top-notch items that will make the kids squeal, and we’ve even got some good stocking stuffers if you’ve already ninja-ed your way through your list.

2. Nothing makes dad feel more like a champion than conquering the wilderness with a hatchet and saw. Head to a u-cut Christmas tree farm and help dad pick out the perfect tree to fill your home with fresh smells this season.

3. The Stowell & Sendak Nutcracker (pictured above) is a great holiday tradition for kids young and old, and whether you’ve got toddlers or school-aged munchkins, this production is perfect for their interest and attention span.

4. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear…or at least this is true for those who can sing. Read our tips for Christmas caroling and then belt out your favorite tunes of the season with your little chorus line. Even those voices that sound a little off-key will get drowned out with enough voices chiming in.

5. The Christmas Ship Festival is a uniquely Seattle wintertime activity and we’ve got 56 ways you and your family can enjoy it this year. Do you have little ones who love boats? How about getting them to ride on the Christmas ship or on one of the Parade ships? With all of the caroling and Christmas treats, the kiddos will be blissed out on holiday fun.

6. Downtown Seattle is hopping with holiday fun this season, from gingerbread house displays to ice skating and more, there is plenty to do when it comes to entertaining both the younger set and the adults.

downtown seattle nordstrom santa

7. Nothing says Christmas like Santa photos. If you’re wondering where the best places are to have your little ones sit on Santa’s lap, we’ve got lots of options all over the Seattle area. With various price points and different line lengths, we’ve got the inside scoop so you’re sure to get your kiddos in to see the big guy in red.

8. Desperate to get the wiggles out after spending so much time indoors with family this holiday season? Try ice skating with the kids! No matter the age, we’ve got rinks that are perfect for beginners or the more rambunctious lot.

9. Head to the Bill and Melinda Gates Visitor Center—one of the coolest places in the city to watch your kids learn about what giving truly means.

10. Too cold or too wet to play outside? Take the kiddos on a peachy adventure at the Seattle Children’s Theatre. James and the Giant Peach is packed full of LOL moments which makes this show totally entertaining!

James and Peach Giant Peach and money

11. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all got a week off for the holidays? While your kiddos are enjoying their winter freedom, you still have shopping to be done, holiday cards to be mailed, and last-minute decorations to hang. Check out these drop-n-shops that will keep them occupied while you deal with the holiday havoc.

12. People travel more during the holidays than the rest of the year combined. Instead of trying to fight the traffic either at the airport or on the road, try planning a holiday staycation and spend more time enjoying the holidays without having to pack a suitcase.

13. A holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without some delicious seasonal cookies. These recipes (many from our own editors and staff) are big on the wow factor but deceptively simple to make.

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies

14. Last but not least, Candy Cane Lane is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. The decorative and oh-so festive neighborhood is open daily through December 31 so you and the fam have plenty of time to catch this Seattle tradition. If you’ve already hit the lane (err boulevard) check out these other festive neighborhoods around Seattle.

What are your plans for keeping the kiddos busy and entertained over the long winter break? We’d love to hear your suggestions in a comment below. 

– Kristina Moy

Nutcracker photo courtesy of Angela Sterling/Pacific Northwest Ballet; Santa photo courtesy of Sarah Volpone; James and the Giant Peach photo courtesy of Chris Bennion

To find more holiday season events and activities in Seattle click here!