The lighting of a Christmas tree bring so many warm memories into my mind. It is the official start of the holiday season. The magical glow of twinkling lights can put even the biggest Scrooge into the spirit.
The first lighting of the season takes place in the downtown center of Olympia. Downtown for the Holidays is an all-day event with the Tree Lighting Ceremony taking center stage at 4:30 p.m., in Sylvester Park. On November 29, attendees of this occasion can take free horse-drawn wagon rides, snap photos with Santa, view the Holiday Parade down Capitol Way, and listen to music from local musicians.
If one tree lighting is not enough, check out Christmas Forest at the Red Lion Hotel to see multiple trees illuminate at once. Beginning December 2, trees will be on display from different organizations across our community. During the weekend viewing times, local entertainment will be on hand throughout the day for the public to enjoy. This annual event is organized by the Providence St. Peter Hospital Foundation and raises money to support health care and necessary medical equipment for patients.
The annual “Lighting of the Christmas Tree” takes place at Huntamer Park, in Lacey, on December 3 at 6:00 p.m. Woodland Square will be the center of this jolly ceremony where residents will find caroling, hot cocoa, coffee, and a special appearance by the one and only man in red…Santa Claus! Along with the tree illumination, the animated Santa display will also brighten the park for the duration of the holiday season.
Our community has a large group of soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). The annual illumination of the JBLM Holiday Tree takes place on December 3 in the Jensen Gym at 4:30 p.m. with a reception following. During the reception, families can enjoy meeting Santa Claus, face painting, crafts, games, hot cocoa, and cookies. The 56th Army Band will also be on hand to help swing into the holiday season.
The Holiday Kids’ Tree Project will light up the Capitol Rotunda on December 4 at 6:00 p.m. The Association of Washington Businesses sponsors this lighting every year coordinating thousands of gifts to needy families in our community and cash donations for rural fire districts across the state. This year’s tree will be adorned with 5,000 LED lights and characters representing local heroes. Governor Jay Inslee will preside over this year’s lighting with the help of two fire fighters who fought this summer’s wildfires in Okanagan County.
The Yelm Chamber of Commerce suggests a 10 minute journey for their residents to the Roy tree lighting ceremony on December 4. The evenings’ events begin at 5:00 p.m. with an open house at the Roy Community Center and Library which includes a visit from Santa and refreshments for community members. At 7:00 p.m., the gathering moves outside into the Roy City Hall parking lot to listen to the sounds of Christmas Carols as the tree is lit.
The final tree lighting event in Thurston County is the 13th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival in Tumwater. On Saturday, December 12, community members will gather at Tumwater City Hall & Headquarters Fire Station to revel in a day filled with holiday cheer. Games, crafts and performances begin at 2:00 p.m. and continue to the grand finale of the tree lighting that evening.
Twinkling lights and the anticipation of the holidays will fill the air at this year’s tree lighting events. So bundle up and head out to one of these community festivities with the whole family.