This list below features free Christmas events in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan region. Any day of the week during the Christmas season, you can find free things to do that put you in a holiday mood. Some events are short-lived, but some begin on Thanksgiving Weekend (or before) and some continue through New Year’s Eve. They include the popular Festival of Trees at the Seattle Fairmont Hotel, Gingerbread Village at Seattle Sheraton Hotel, and Winterfest at Seattle Center, plus Christmas music concerts and caroling, community tree lighting, reindeer festivals, and many other Christmas holiday events around the Puget Sound region.
A brief history of Christmas tradtions
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. The Christmas season is preceded by Advent, 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 who were drawn to Bethlehem and guided by a bright star to bring 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.