Seattle celebrates holidays with ‘Star Wars,’ teddy bears and ‘wild lights’

“Star Wars” headlined the Seattle Sheraton’s 23rd annual gingerbread village display

Merry Christmas from the Emerald City. No, I’m not over the rainbow in Oz. I am spending the holiday with my youngest daughter, Mallory. Mal moved to Seattle almost three months ago after accepting a position with Amazon.

So, as Mallory worked away in designing flows for Echo, I checked out the city. Lisa and I were here with friends about five years ago, so it’s been nice to see how the city has changed during that period.

I wanted to check out how Seattle was celebrating the Christmas season. My adventure led me to some cool spots – the city’s Christmas tree at Westlake Center, nutcrackers at Pacific Place, Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo, “Star Wars”-themed gingerbread village at the downtown Sheraton hotel and the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

I thought the Teddy Bear Suite would be the best thing I saw for holiday decorations, but the Sheraton display one-upped it. Mallory and I both enjoyed the Teddy Bear Suite display, but the gingerbread displays floored us.

So, let’s start there.

We saw the line inside the Sheraton’s lobby and didn’t hesitate to stand there for almost an hour to see some of the best gingerbread displays in all the land – “May the Holidays be with you.” The six exhibits traced the history of the “Star War” saga, beginning with Episode I, “The Phantom Menace.” The display ended with Episode VI – “Return of the Jedi.”

Star Wars’ first six chapters were the inspiration for the gingerbread village

The displays are well done. They feature scenes from the movies, such as Princess Leia being held as a slave by Jabba the Hutt, Han Solo frozen and Luke fighting Darth Vader.

Star Wars characters

Chapter IV – “New Hope” –has a life-sized R2D2 and miniature versions of Han, Leia, Luke and Chewbacca.

Chapter IV of Star Wars – the original movie – featured a life-sized R2D2

Before we visited the Sheraton, we enjoyed a neat visit at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel’s Teddy Bear Suite. The suite featured dozens of teddy bears of all sizes scattered about. Families posed next to them for their holiday portraits.

Fairmont Olympic Hotel held its annual Teddy Bear Suite

The bedroom has several teddy bears on the large poster bed, with some climbing the posts. All of it was beautiful and impressive. Visitors are able to pretty much walk in on their own time and spend as much time as they want.

So many teddy bears

Both events are fund raisers for local charities – the gingerbread village raises money for juvenile diabetes research and the Teddy Bear Suite funds are targeted for a local children’s hospital.

Mal and I checked out the Woodland Park Zoo and its “Wildlights” display. The zoo has several light displays in the shape of animals and insects, as well as lining trees and bushes.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Wildlights exhibit

One of my favorite views was of a tiger clinging from a tree. Across from it was the head and leg of another cat.

Tiger lights

Mallory loves penguins, so it’s easy to guess her favorite – yep, penguins.

Penguin lights

While Mallory was working, I checked out some other areas. I looked forward to seeing the Christmas tree at Westlake Center. Initially, I was a bit disappointed. But, when combined with a shining star hanging from Macy’s, it was quite attractive.

Christmas tree at Westlake Center

Being downtown on a busy work and shopping day, I truly felt like I was in a large city. I imagine New York is like this during the holidays.

With shoppers and tourists, street performers come out in numbers. From singers and drummers to storm troopers, people had their pick of performers to photograph for a tip. I went with a “ghost.” The actress was a bit freaky with her actions, so I went with photographing her. She blew a kiss to people photographing her. It was an eerie-looking move, too.

Street performer

Pacific Place has some really cool nutcracker sculptures. I checked out each one. Mallory had posted some pictures recently on Facebook, so I knew I had to see them in person.

Nutcracker sculpture

As we all celebrate Christmas in our own ways, I wanted to share a few of the fun holiday exhibits I saw in Seattle. It’s impressive how each city has its unique holiday celebrations. With that, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.