The Localist

It’s Christmas time in the city

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It was just a few days ago, on the second Sunday of Advent, that my housemates and I put on roughly eight layers (each, mind you, not combined) and ventured out into the freezing weather to chop ourselves down a Christmas tree. It took us about 32 minutes, 2 arguments, 98 pictures, several snippets of the odd Christmas carol, and a mug of hot cider each before we found her. Katniss Evergreen. She stands about 6 feet high and we think she’s of the blue spruce family. We loaded her up with red ribbon on top of a Subaru wagon and headed home to the tune of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”.

The tree is standing in our living room now, bedecked in twinkle lights, straw stars, ornaments from mom, and “Christmas balls” (I called them baubles and apparently I called them wrong). Our stockings are up, five of them in a row, candles grace the coffee table, and the mood is festive.

Seattle embraces the finer things of the holidays. Pre-season starts November 1st when Starbucks starts handing out its iconic red cups – pumpkin spice lattes give way to peppermint mochas, and there isn’t any real reason why any coffee drink should be served sans whip. The real deal begins on the last Friday of November, right after thousands of Americans eat their weight in turkey and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. Enter raucous revelry and the unbridled joy of listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album on repeat, guilt free! Hundreds of city trees get wrapped up in yards and yards of twinkle lights, the giant waterfront ferris wheel glows red and green, there’s a merry-go-round in the city square, and the zoo brings out its wild lights. There are buskers, good deals, and Christmas shoppers are out and about. There’s a certain cheery hum about the city.

We do have our fair share of snow bunnies. For all likeminded outdoorsy people, Seattle is just a stone’s throw from the Cascade mountain range, bringing you ample skiing opportunities – from Crystal Mountain to Stevens Pass, with Summit at Snoqualmie in the middle. Take a break from the powder with hot chocolate and a roaring fireplace at the lodge.

Whatever the Christmas holidays mean for you – whether it’s hitting the slopes, bundling up and perusing whimsical store fronts, snuggling up at home with a book and some candles…or hauling a tree home with some added street cred for your sawing abilities, for that matter – Seattle will have something for you. Except for balmy temperatures. We don’t have that.

And with that, a Merry Christmas from the great Pacific Northwest!

MEET THE LOCAL: STEPHANIE RUBESH

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