After safely celebrating a social distant Halloween, we replaced door knocking with some candy drop off/exchanges, I felt more hopeful that we could find some ways to replace or amend or holiday traditions while staying safe and trying to keep fun for the kids who are already missing out on so much. This year there are new, local ways to participate in holiday activities and many are free. And if you’re looking to — or for — help, local organizations like Washington Kids in Transition, the Nourishing Network, Holly House, and local food banks (Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace) are still operating. The Edmonds School District will still be offering Grab and Go Meals during the holiday break, though the site list will be truncated. You can find the times and locations at Edmonds.Wednet.edu.
Downtown Edmonds has options to get outside and participate in holiday activities, and many can be done completely outdoors. There are holiday “selfie stations” where the holiday trolley used to stop, where you can take your picture with life-size cutouts of seasonal characters. On Saturdays, Emily the Elf is “spreading cheer” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ve seen some great pictures of Emily’s escapades on Instagram @Emily_the_Edmonds_Elf. You can also experience some festive tunes and the holiday tree lighting nightly at 5 p.m. at Centennial Plaza.
In addition, you can participate in the Merry Messages Scavenger Hunt until Dec. 24. After printing the info form, which you can do through the library, you can walk around downtown and match which local businesses have which “Merry Messages” posted in their windows. When you’re through, you can drop off the answers at Anchor Chic Consignment to enter a raffle! For more information and the info form, visit EdmondsDowntown.org.
Art Walk Edmonds, which has been unable to operate during the pandemic, started a new tradition with Wreath Walk Edmonds. Through Dec. 31, you can find “artist-designed and decorated wreaths in select storefronts” While each wreath may not be holiday-themed, AWE says each will be family-friendly. You can find the map of the locations featuring wreaths at ArtWalkEdmonds.com.
I figured I’d add some of the things we bought, since it seems common that finding ideas for t(w)eens is trickier. Our list included some things that we could get locally, and I jumped at the chance to get out of the house, alone, and head to downtown. Each place that I visited posted the occupant limit and had hand sanitizer at the entrance. While mentioning entrances, Rogue Boutique has a twinkle light arch at its entrance that would be great for pictures. I started at the Edmonds Bookshop because I knew they would have what I was looking for — a plush Pete the Cat who is going in the mail and a book that I can’t name without ruining the surprise. While there, I saw lots of great kids books options and even a Dog Man Super Reader cape, which would have been a huge hit at our house just a couple of years ago.
With stuffed stockings in mind, I headed to Teri’s Toybox. I was able to find fun and appropriately-sized options. I liked that I could get something from Archie McPhee and picked out one of many different fidgets options, which all of us use more than ever while working and learning remotely (the NeeDoh cat is a big hit here) plus a Jacob’s Ladder, which is the kind of thing that helps one of my kids while having to sit in the car.
I decided to check out ARTSpot Edmonds too. On top of the art supplies, they have lots of small gift options, including sticker mosaic books which look fun. In this case, I bought a few things for myself as I have a weak spot for small containers, a planetary pencil bag and reusable zip locked bags made to look like mason jars.
Before heading to my last stop in Perrinville, I had to do a pickup at the Edmonds Library. My last two library holds have been a book and an audio book related to school assignments. Given the learning disabilities that we accommodate, it helps our family to have additional options from the school supplied book. Seeing the title I was picking up, the librarian offered me a Sno-Isle Libraries To Do To Go kit – I got both the Kid and Teen versions. For the kids, there are instructions and supplies for a craft stick catapult and for teens there are the instructions and supplies for a pop-up card and envelope. You can find more information at the Sno-Isle.org blogs which also link to tutoring help, a third grade reading challenge, and winter break science books and classes including Pacific Science Center interactive virtual events.
I visited The Neverending Bookshop in Perrinville for the first time on my trip as they had a copy of the graphic novel, Class Act by Jerry Craft on hold for me. It is a follow up to New Kid, which was a big hit here. Neverending Bookshop is a “new and used bookstore specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Young Adult and Children’s books.” I ended up finding an early present for the Die Hard fan in the house, A Die Hard Christmas: The Illustrated Holiday Classic by Doogie Horner. This book, written as a Night Before Christmas tale, is described as “A delightful Christmas storybook for adults.” It is definitely not for kids — though the blood and language dial was turned down — but was definitely appreciated by the recipient. You can get directions and hours at NeverendingBookshop.com.
Last weekend, we took the almost three-hour round trip to the Lights of Christmas in Warm Beach. For us, it was well worth it. It was so nice just to be out of the house and heading to an event we were looking forward to. The only contact we had was opening the window to have our ticket scanned, buying kettle corn, and waving to Santa. We were able to have the windows down and ooo and ahh at our favorite lights, and one section sends the laser lights right into your vehicle. We saw kids of all ages and some cars with adults only. There were also bathrooms at the start and end of the lights, which was helpful given our round-trip time.
The first-ever Light Up Lynnwood Holiday Lights Contest will allow you to have a scaled down version close to home starting on Dec. 18. This contest, open to all Lynnwood residents, allows you to register your home to be included on a map which will then be available on the City of Lynnwood website and Facebook page. Those interested can use the map to visit the decorated homes from December 18th to January 2nd. There is still time to register at LynnwoodWA.gov and when the list is ready you can find it on their site as well as the city’s Facebook page.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.