12 South Sound Holiday Traditions

This is the season for holiday traditions — don’t let December slip by without enjoying some of this Pacific Northwest fun.

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70TH ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING 5 p.m. Nov 28
Since World War II Tacomans have gathered at The Pantages for the annual tree lighting. Kick off the holidays with Santa and caroling.

CHI FRANCISCAN HEALTH POLAR PLAZA Nov. 21-Jan. 10
Bundle up and skate into the icy air at Franciscan Polar Plaza on Nov. 21- Jan. 10 at 17th Street and Pacific Avenue in Downtown Tacoma. Admission is $8 for adults, and $4 for children. Buy tickets online or at any Metro Parks Tacoma facility.

FANTASY LIGHTS Nov. 26-Jan. 1
The annual light show at Spanaway Park runs through the New Year. The best part — you drive through this twinkling wonderland. Don’t like lines? Try going on a less crowded weeknight.

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Zoolights Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

ZOOLIGHTS Nov. 27-Jan. 3 
Walk through Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and take in the sights of twinkling lights through Jan. 3. Bundle up and bring something warm to drink, or buy hot chocolate and eggnog lattes there.

GINGERBREAD HOUSE-MAKING December; dates vary
Consider signing up for one of the gingerbread house-making sessions offered at various Pierce County Library branches. The events are free!

THE FESTIVAL OF TREES Dec. 2-6
The Festival of Trees at the Tacoma Convention Center is Dec. 2-6 and benefits Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma. multicare.org.

PLU’S CHRISTMAS CONCERTS December; dates vary
Pacific Lutheran University is celebrating with a series of concerts on campus. The 125th Anniversary Gala Concert on Dec. 11 will feature alumnus and NYC-based opera singer Angela Meade. Tickets to the anniversary concert are $50-$125. Tickets to the other Christmas concerts on campus are $15-$35.

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Pantages Theater will host the Seattle Men’s Chorus

SEATTLE MEN’S CHORUS Dec. 3
On Dec. 3 at 8 p.m., the Pantages Theater will host the Seattle Men’s Chorus as they delight listeners with holiday favorites. This year’s holiday concert also marks artistic director Dennis Coleman’s final season, after nearly 35 years with Seattle Men’s Chorus. flyinghouse.org

THE NUTCRACKER December; dates vary
From big productions to small, make sure to see The Nutcracker in December. Some of the performances are early, or are shortened for the younger crowds. Others have meet-and-greets with the dancers. Head to Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, The Pantages Theater in Tacoma, or The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia. Dance Theatre Northwest of University Place will host performances at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, too.

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT Dec. 12
The Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor hosts Light Up The Night, a St. Lucia Day Festival, on Dec. 12. The event is 4:30-6:30 p.m. and admission is $3 to $5.

NOON YEAR’S EVE Dec. 31
Spend the last day of the year at the Hands on Children’s Museum in Olympia from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

FIRST NIGHT TACOMA Dec. 31
First Night is the ultimate alcohol-free celebration in Tacoma, and begins during the day. A First Night button gains access to museums and other places in Tacoma during the day. At 6 p.m., the celebrations in the Theater District kick off with a parade. Free events include live music, art, and entertainment. There are also food trucks, and many stores are open. First Night buttonholders gain access to more events until midnight! firstnighttacoma.org.

A VICTORIAN COUNTRY CHRISTMAS IN PUYALLUP Dec. 2-6
Head to the fairgrounds and step back in time during the 28th annual Victorian Country Christmas on Dec. 2-6.

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is the managing editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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