So, we’ll get the bad news out of the way first: It’s safe to say that with the COVID-19 pandemic in full effect, the holidays are going to look and feel a bit different this year. With social distancing still a life-saving must, we’re not going to be congregating in huge, close-packed crowds like we would—and will—like most years. But that’s not to say there won’t be Seattle holiday events! With an eye on balancing safety with end-of-year cheer, we’ve put together a list of special events designed to keep you in the holiday spirit!
Greenside Recreational’s Best Seattle Holiday Events of 2020
Lights! Camera! Fake snow! Seattle’s biggest annual holiday event may be virtual this year, but it’s still an opportunity to revel in Christmas-themed performances, craft and cooking demonstrations, and all the other holiday goings-on we depend on this time of year. For instance: Each Saturday, you’ll find new content uploaded to the Winterfest Virtual Festál site: A Balkan choir, the Geoducks Youth Old Time Band, and a tortilla-making tutorial with Mexican cultural consultant Francisca Garcia. Free
Robin Pecknold: A Very Lonely Solstice Livestream
Seattle’s Fleet Foxes were one of 2007’s international breakout artists, but they’re anything but has-beens. The band’s fourth album, Shore, was released on this year’s autumn equinox and it’s been garnering glowing reviews ever since. This December 21st—the Winter solstice—bandleader Robin Pecknold plays a very special livestream concert from St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church. It’s only available for streaming through December 24th; this is one you won’t want to miss! $20 plus service fees
227 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
One of the very few IRL events this season! While Bellevue Collection’s Snowflake Lane has shuttered its famous holiday parade this year, revelers are welcome to drive through, or step out and tour the wintry wonderland so long as they wear masks and observe social distancing protocols. Still present: Twinkly lights, holiday music, and the chance to catch some magic snow! (Disclaimer: Not actually magic.) Free, 5pm – 9pm nightly
A Christmas Carol
Now in its incredible 45th year as a Seattle institution, A Contemporary Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic takes the form of an old-time radio show this year. Even if we can’t all gather in the theater together, the audio format works remarkably well. And like all the other Seattle holiday events this upside-down year, it serves as a reminder of good things to look forward to in the future.
Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker
Watch the Show
Watch the Making of the Show
Do you have a secret fondness for The Nutcracker (but an even-more-secret wish that the actors would bump, grind and disrobe)? We promise we won’t ask any more probing questions, but instead direct you to the gorgeously shot and edited “Land of the Sweets,” an unforgettably soiled burlesque take on the holiday classic. Watch the whole show, or the behind-the-scenes documentary, all from the comfort of your living room. Land of the Sweets performance, $19; documentary $15
Virtual Santa Photos
Okay, so your kid won’t actually sit in Santa’s lap. Then again, for those of us who suffer from christougenniatikophobia, that’s probably a good thing. (We’re not kidding. Look it up.) Either way, you can preserve a holiday tradition—which began right here in Seattle!—by purchasing a virtual Santa photo. Will you and/or your kid appear to be floating slightly above Santa? probably? Will it be any weirder than anything else this crazy year? No, it will not. $30 and up
Seattle Festival of Trees
Fairmont Olympic Hotel
411 University St
Seattle, WA 98101
For over 40 years now, the Seattle Festival of Trees Guild has presented this colorful annual fund-raiser to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital. And while the trees are smaller, fewer in number and only visible from outside the 4th Street windows, they’re still one of the most cherished Seattle holiday events and a reminder of festivities to come. Should you find yourself downtown before January 3rd, come by and pay tribute to an enduring symbol of Christmas.
Sugar Plum Gary
Ever feel that Christmas has lost its inherent touch of evil? Leering from behind his huge beard, Seattle comedian Emmett Montgomery is itching to wipe that happy, Santa-loving grin right off your face. Describing Christmas as “a fun cosmic nightmare,” he’ll present a one-man show either as a Zoom call—in which you’re invited to participate in the Christmas spirit—or a more “traditional” livestream. Tickets $5 – $45
Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas
If you’re feeling an LGBTQ-themed anti-Christmas is in order, there’s no better place to head than this holiday-themed variety show, featuring song, dance, and partial nudity! With local guest stars Adé, Waxie Moon, Mandy Price and Fageddy Randy, this popular annual event spreads the (anti) magic through January 3rd. Tickets $10 – $50
For extra holiday cheer, make sure to stop by your favorite Seattle dispensary!