Seattle rings in holiday season with lights, wizards and princesses

The Seattle Sheraton Hotel’s gingerbread village theme this year is the “Harry Ptter” book series.

Since our daughter Mallory moved to Seattle in 2015, I’ve been able to take part in the area’s holiday festivities for the last two Christmas seasons. It’s interesting to see how areas celebrate the same holiday differently.

Since I was visiting during the Thanksgiving holiday, I was able to catch the opening days of some of the celebrations. Last year, we checked out the gingerbread exhibit at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle. Chefs and artists created models related to the “Star Wars” episodes. Mal and I were truly impressed with the exhibit. Everything was made from food and candy.

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

This year, the challenge was to create models based on the “Harry Potter” book series. They topped themselves from last year. Each display was amazing. The detail used to create Harry Potter, his friends and other characters were outstanding.

Can you imagine the work and detail that went into creating Dombledore and the Phoenix?

It was difficult to choose a favorite model. Each one was special. One model had staircases that moved. Another had a portion of a building expand and contract. Impressive, to say the least. The exhibit runs daily through Jan. 1.

Some of the stairs in this display actually moved.

Mallory and I also took in a new activity this year. Since she lives in Redmond, about a 30-minute drive from downtown Seattle, we visited the Town Centre shopping area for some holiday experiences.

Santa Claus was set up to hear children’s wish lists for Christmas. His cabin was at the bottom of a beautiful Christmas tree.

The Redmond community kicked off the holiday season with a visit from Santa Claus as part part of the Town Centre’s celebration.

Families could ride on a carousel or skate on a temporary skating rink. We cringed watching some of the kids try to ice skate. As a family familiar with broken and severely sprained ankles, we feared how many families may be making trips to emergicare that day.

The carousel was a popular attraction in Redmond.

Disney was well-represented during the Redmond celebration. With holiday music in the background, Disney princesses posed for pictures with kids and waved at passers-by.

Disney princesses are sure to create a mob scene when they’re nearby. Kids and families lined up for photos with the Disney characters or to say hi.

We closed out our holiday explorations with a return visit to the Woodland Park Zoo. The Seattle attraction hosts “Wildlights” annually, featuring holiday lights in the shape of animals. Some of the displays were similar to the ones we saw last year, but we still found the event fun. I didn’t recall seeing a peacock display that changed colors or a buffalo standing in the dark. One of my favorite displays is a Savannah replica with elephants that walk up to the water pond. We watch as the light display shows them walk away…only to return.

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle celebrated the holiday season with its annual “Wildlights” exhibit.

Mallory has a few more holiday-themed attractions to check out this season when her mom visits for Christmas. They’ll see some interesting displays at the Bellevue botanical garden. Mallory is taking her mom to Leavenworth, a mountain community with a strong Bavarian influence. Her mom will love that. Then, a return trip to the zoo is on their schedule.

A bison light display stood out in the dark.

As our family celebrates the holiday, we have gained some new “traditions” related to the Pacific Northwest. As with the holiday attractions in our home area, we enjoy taking in the sights and sounds.

We hope you enjoy checking out the holiday events and attractions in your area. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.