The sound of bells jingle lightly in the cold, crisp December air. Homes are all aglow with multi-colored lights in stunning displays. Holiday music blares through every speaker in each decorated building. For most of us, these are some of the many signs that Christmas is almost here. But for kids, there is only one sign they want to see…Santa Claus!

A visit with Santa is on many holiday must-do lists and if you happen to be visiting the Hood Canal, the businesses here have you covered.

Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Opening for business as a vacation destination in 1913, Alderbrook Resort & Spa started as a canvas tent with wood stoves that could only be reached by boat. Today, the resort has grown to be a top luxurious Pacific Northwest destination with a massive lodge, award-winning restaurant, and breathtaking view of the canal.

Alderbrook offers two official opportunities to meet with jolly ol’ Saint Nick. First, visitors can meet in the lobby every weekend in December from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. for a Santa selfie. These one-of-a-kind photos are perfect for a short visit to share your wishlist and use the camera on your phone free of charge.

Seeing Santa is a highlight of the Christmas season for children of all ages. Photo credit: Alyssa Ramsfield

The second option is at night and is a true canal adventure. Cocoa Cruises begin at 1:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through December 23. Visitors climb aboard the resort’s private yacht The Lady Alderbrook to enjoy cookies, stories, and of course, cocoa with Santa himself! The cost is $15 for children under 12, $20 for seniors, and $25 for adults. Reservations are strongly recommended for this wildly popular event.

Lucky Dog Casino

Santa is known for gifts. It seems this theme of the season can be found in one local spot on the canal that the adults will enjoy. The elves at Lucky Dog Casino are hosting a Holiday Shopping Spree on Saturday, December 15, at 4:00 p.m. Anyone can be Santa and cash in points for clothing, toys, tablets, and televisions.

Also, be sure to check out their 100 TV Giveaway December 22 at 6:00 p.m. Every 20 minutes, the Lucky Dog Santa is giving players a television up to 55 inches with one special winner leaving with a 4k 65-inch LED TV. That’s one big television that will not fit down the chimney!

Boat Parades

The Hood Canal is known for being one of the few fjords in North America. The water is an important aspect of life here and you better believe Santa will be sailing into Christmas. First, The Great Bend Holiday Lights Boat Parade takes over Union, Washington, on December 15 from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The Great Bend Chorale and Youth Chorale take to the water to spread holiday cheer by singing loud for all to hear. The boats and houses along the three-mile route are competing in light displays that include Santa and a few of his friends. Participants can enjoy the show from the shoreline, a kayak, or a nearby dock. It’s the first event of its kind for this community and will surely become a treasured annual event.

Santa on the Hood Canal
Santa is easy to spot along the shores of the Hood Canal in several locations. Photo credit: Alyssa Ramsfield

South of the canal is Shelton. Their annual Holiday Light Boat Parade is a must-see with two nights of glowing Santas. Both Friday, December 14, and Saturday, December 15, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Hammersley Inlet sparkles bright with a floating light display. For those without a boat, the best place to view this parade is from the shores of nearby Walker Park.

Enjoy a glimpse of Santa Claus this year both on land and by sea. The Hood Canal is a great spot to enjoy the festive spirit of Christmas with Saint Nick encounters that are both merry and bright!

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