Any day of the week during the long holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, you can find FREE things to do that put you in a festive mood. Some events are short-lived, but some begin on Thanksgiving Weekend (or before) and some continue through New Year’s Eve.
Some of the popular events include Festival of Trees at the Seattle Fairmont Hotel, Gingerbread Village at Seattle Sheraton Hotel (unfortunately, cancelled for 2020 and 2021), and Winterfest at Seattle Center, plus Christmas music concerts and caroling, community tree lighting, and reindeer festivals, as well as public Menorah Lightings and Kwanzaa celebrations, plus many other holiday events around the Puget Sound region.
This calendar list below will include all FREE Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa events in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan region.
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A brief history of Christmas traditions
Christmas is celebrated primarily as a secular holiday featuring Santa Claus and his reindeer, evergreen trees festooned with lights, gift giving (and shopping for gifts), the singing of Christmas Carols, and sumptuous holiday meals. These customs have altered through time from traditions around the world, including Saint Nicolas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, and Christkind.
However, Christians around the world celebrate Christmas Day as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth is recognized by Christians as the son of God who died on the cross in order to atone for the sins of humankind.
Advent precedes the Christmas season. Advent is a period of anticipation ritualized through prayer, fasting, and lighting the candles of an advent wreath. Advent begins four Sundays before December 25 and ends on Christmas Eve, the start of the Christmas season, which lasts for 12 days until the Epiphany on January 6.
The Epiphany is primarily the story of the wise men or Magi from Persia to the east of Bethlehem, who were drawn to the city and guided by a bright star. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus.
These are some of the basic tenets of Christianity; there are variations among the major branches (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant) and their many denominations throughout the world.
But wait, there’s more!
- Christmas lights around the Puget Sound region
- Where to get pictures with Santa Claus
- U-cut, fresh cut Christmas trees around the Sound
- Best retailers for gifts, party supplies, holiday decor
- FREE Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and holiday events
- December events and entertainment
- Find more Christmas and holiday events
- Here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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Free Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa & Holiday Events
The following free events on our calendar include holiday events of all kinds.
- In 2021, we haven’t been finding many public Menorah lighting events for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa events. But we’ll continue to peruse the community and add them here as we find them.