So, the holidays have officially arrived and we're in the full swing of things! Here are a few of my favorite things to do during the holidays in and around Olympia, Washington:
1. Downtown for the Holidays - 12-4:30 p.m., Nov. 29 This day-long event includes the Olympia holiday parade, pictures with Santa, tons of live music and the grand finale tree lighting ceremony in downtown's Sylvester Park.
2. Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo - 5-9 p.m., Nov. 27-Jan. 3 Thousands upon thousands of tiny lights bring to life this Tacoma zoo, decked out with candy canes and hot cocoa, cafe stocked with food, gift shop browsing and a variety of moving, intricately lit displays perfect for the whole family.
3. Pictures with Santa and Holiday Events at Capital Mall A variety of options of holiday events can be found throughout the season at Olympia's Capital Mall, including pictures with Santa available now!
4. Oly Lightstravaganza - 4:45-10:30 p.m., Nov. 29-Jan. 1 (cookies and cider select nights). The largest holiday light display in Olympia returns for another year, serving up special fresh cookies and warm cider to its visitors. Check their Facebook page for updated hours and info.
5. "Duck the Malls" Holiday Arts & Crafts Sale - 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 12 Olympia is known for its unique, small-business vibe, and this year has no exception. Celebrate local creators and small businesses at Olympia Film Society's "Duck the Malls" arts and crafts sale, featuring over 50 vendors right downtown inside the historic Capitol Theater.
6. Lattin's Cider Mill & Farm - 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Join other locals at the Lattin's Cider Mill & Farm, picking up your fresh apple fritter or variety of doughnuts, as well as some award-winning apple cider, animal petting, tractor-drawn wagon rides and a variety of sauces, jams, syrups and pies to bring home to the family.
7. Waldorf School's Enchanted Winter Faire - 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Dec. 5 Melt into an alternate world where an exciting winter wonderland comes to life, complete with interactive cookie kingdom, winter games, yule dogs, music and puppet plays, plenty of crafts and delicious soup in the Polar Cafe.
8. Noon Year's Eve at the Hands On Children's Museum - 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Dec. 31 Have kiddos at home? Olympia's cherished Hands On Children's Museum hosts its annual "Noon Year's Eve" where they ring in the new year with a day-long countdown where the ball drops every hour! Meet real princesses, or become a scientist while freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
9. "Deck the Hulls" Parade of Lighted Ships - 6 p.m., Dec. 5 Join yacht enthusiasts as they deck their ships with holiday lights and cruise by with a musically organized extravaganza. The parade can be watched from Percival Landing and upper Eastside neighborhoods.
10. Local Theatrical Productions Whether you choose to see a production of "The Nutcracker" at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, or "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at the Olympia Family Theater, there's a little something for everybody.
11. Grand Menorah Lighting in Sylvester Park - 4 p.m., Dec. 6 Sip hot chocolate while you nosh on latkes, doughnuts and gelt, singing traditional Chanukah songs, watching the giant 9 foot menorah light up the night at downtown's Sylvester Park!
Have something to add to this list? Please comment below!