Hello, there. This is the first post in my “12 Days of Christmas (in Seattle)” miniseries. Every day, I will share with you, dear reader, one event or activity that Seattle hosts during the holiday season. By the way, these aren’t chosen in happenstance. Each and every one of these activities has been integral in my annual Christmas experience. They are traditions that are very close to my heart, and I think others will appreciate them just as much as I do.
Since I am not at home, in Seattle, right now, I’ve been thinking about my rainy city a lot. That’s the funny thing about moving away from home: you don’t realize how imperative the places, smells, and traditions are to that ‘holiday feeling’ until you don’t have them anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the weather in SoCal is arguably much better than up in Seattle (except for the snow over Black Friday— I’d choose snow over sun any day). Yet, it feels strange that Christmas is nearly upon us when the sun is shining and it’s 75 degrees every day. Or, at least, it feels strange to me. Christmas time is rainy days. Christmas time is overcast days, sharp frost, and cloudy puffs of air when you exhale. Christmas is not feeling guilty to stay in, cozy up with Netflix and hot chocolate, and watch ABC made-for-tv holiday movies. But Christmas time is also going out, braving the cold, walking around downtown, and enjoying all the offerings that Seattle has during the holiday season.
First up on the list of traditions is the Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Hotel. This is a free activity to do, and is great fun for all ages. There is a theme that all of the gingerbread structures must adhere to, and this year it’s “Jingle All the Way”. In past years, there have been themes such as Nursery Rhyme Stories and Disney Movies. Though I’m not sure what “Jingle All the Way” really means, apparently the gingerbread structures depict scenes from popular Christmas songs. At the end, you can vote on which gingerbread “house” you like the most. The system is very tech-savvy, meaning that you simply text the gingerbread display code to a specific phone number. Don’t worry, they’ll have instructions over there. You don’t have to remember all this right now.
Background: This well-known tradition has been going on for 22 years (!!). Architecture teams from the Seattle area pair up with the Sheraton culinary team to create incredible works of art. Everything you see is edible (except for lights and any mechanical things in the structure). It’s amazing what the culinary team can make!
Price: Though it’s free, there’s a suggested $5 donation. All proceeds made go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Local trick: Don’t wait in the one-hour (sometimes more) line. You can get great views by simply walking alongside the line, but behind the velvet rope. I’ve done this for ages and I’ve never had a problem. You will not be able to see the backside of the houses, but I’ve never minded. If you go and the line is short (15 minutes or less is considered short), then go for it. Walk through the line. I’ve found that going later at night (after 8:30) is best because there’s less families, and the line may be shorter. Though, the closer you get to Christmas, the longer the lines— no matter what time of day or night.
Location: Seattle Sheraton, 1400 6th Ave., Seattle, Wa 98101
Dates/Times: November 25-January 5, open 24 hours daily