I loooove winter break. This year was more fun than others because I got a handle on the gifts early so it freed up time to be able to do family activities.
Some years we have traveled both weeks which is fun but then we don’t get to do the neat activities around town. This year we spent the first week in Seattle doing a new Christmas “surprise” activity each day. I kept it a surprise because I didn’t really want feedback. I knew once we got there they would love it.
At first I got a little pushback on the surprise element but later in the week they didn’t want to know and loved that we just showed up somewhere. I would give little hints like you will want to bring gloves because we might be outside. Or wear something dark in case you get hot cocoa and you are so excited you jump up and down and could spill on yourself. Or save your sweet tooth because there could be candy involved…
The kids all time favorite activity is always decorating the house. I have a box of kid friendly decorations that they can go to town with and decorate the kid tree, their bedrooms, whatever else their hearts desire. It gives them some ownership. This is important because it is easy for everyone to feel stressed about things getting broken. The kids know there are some decorations for touching and some are a one finger touch situation.
- Snowflake Lane in Bellevue- this is a must. So much fun. We always eat at Din Tai Fung first which is delicious and fast. I recommend getting there right when they open so you don’t have to wait. After dinner head downstairs and get some Cocoa and a cookie to bring outside with you. I suggest heading outside a bit early to get a good spot, meet the characters and hit them up for lollipops and get pics with them.
- Reindeer Festival at Cougar Mountain Zoo- we did this for the first time this year. How had I never been there before?!? This is the cutest little zoo ever. The animals are really close which is fun. You get to walk up a ramp past the reindeer and feed them apples on the way to Santa’s home to get your picture. You also get to go to Santa’s mailroom and write him a letter and put it in the mailbox. We grabbed a hot cocoa to sip while we toured around the zoo.
- Hawks (Seahawk) House in Kirkland- this place is seriously cool. Another first for us this year.
- Winter Wonderland at Redmond town center- I liked this one because it wasn’t overly crowded or involved. Perfect for a little family outing. We rode the train and the carousel and had some hot cocoa and called it a day. They also have ice skating there. I was told it is on plastic which I don’t quite get but will try next year.
- Candy Cane Lane in Ravenna- I love this one because it brings me back to when I was a kid. I didn’t prep my kids enough though. After we had driven through they looked at me and asked where the rides and things were. I had to explain that it was just driving through a neat neighborhood to see all their lights. They decided it was still really cool.
- Country Village in Bothell- this was another first for us this year. There were live reindeer and pics with Santa. The area was all decorated with lights. It was quaint, cute. Something different to check out. Short line to see Santa which is huge for me. The shops were cute but probably not where I would go to shop.
- Christmas Ships– I grew up watching them from the Madison Park Beach where there were bonfires and cocoa. This year we were invited on a yacht which was an incredible way to experience it. Definitely warmer.
The Reason for the Season
As the kids are getting older, the questions about Santa are getting tougher. I cringe as they ask me questions. I hate lying to them. I actually stress about it every year.
If you have any Christmas activities you would like to share, I would love to hear about them!