HO-HO-HOW busy are we all at this time of the year?

If you’re like me, it’s cheery chaos left and right, balancing everyday life with festive activities, such as baking for friends and loved ones, driving around with the little ones to see holiday lights, visiting Santa, shopping and wrapping gifts, decorating the house, and on and on. And on.

But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the non-stop merriment; I just like to have a plan so I know what’s happening each day of the advent calendar.

To that end, WhatcomTalk has compiled all the holiday happenings around Bellingham and Whatcom County, from tree lighting ceremonies and festivals to parades and holiday shopping. Take a gander and choose the ones you’d like to include for your family’s holiday memory making.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies & Events

Fairhaven Tree Lighting Ceremony

Part of the 2014 Fairhaven Holiday Festival is the annual lighting of the trees at the Fairhaven Village Green on Friday, November 28 at 5:00 p.m. Bellingham High School’s Showstoppers will be on hand to provide entertainment.

Downtown Bellingham Tree Lighting Ceremony

Join the crowd gathered at Depot Market Square on Friday, December 5 at 5:30 p.m. for the downtown Bellingham tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy live music and refreshments, and take a stroll through a pop-up holiday market from the Bellingham Farmers Market.

Downtown Ferndale Holiday Tree Lighting

Downtown Ferndale kicks off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony in Centennial Park on Friday, December 5 at 5:00 p.m. Complimentary cookies and cocoa will be available, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck and pass out candy canes.

Blaine’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Harbor Lights

Blaine’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony is part of its larger Holiday Harbor Lights festivities. Over three days – December 5, 6 and 7 – folks can enjoy music, refreshments, caroling, and much more while ambling along downtown Blaine.

The tree lighting takes place on Saturday, December 6 at 4:30 p.m. at H Street and Peace Portal Drive. Santa arrives via fire truck at 5:00 p.m. and will visit with young ones at the Blaine Pizza Factory at 738 Peace Portal Drive. Free horse-drawn trolley rides are available between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Revelers can then take in the glittering wonder of decorated boats sailing through Drayton Harbor between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Holiday Tree Lighting at Hotel Bellwether

The community is invited to visit the Hotel Bellwether on Saturday, December 6 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to celebrate the holiday season waterside and vote for their favorite holiday tree. Decorated by local businesses, each tree can be voted upon as the best by anyone making a monetary or food donation to the Opportunity Council’s Dorothy Place. Those casting ballots also have a chance to win a one-night stay in the hotel’s stunning lighthouse suite. 1 Bellwether Way in Bellingham.

Deck the [Old City] Hall with Whatcom Museum

Take in two floors of festively decorated trees and enter to win a Greenhouse-designed tree of your very own at Deck the [Old City] Hall at Whatcom Museum on Saturday, November 29 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Greenhouse tree winner can choose from gift cards from local retailers or one of two metal sculptures by local artist Herb Ershig. 121 Prospect Street in downtown Bellingham.

Popular Light Displays

Whatcom Wonderland 2014

Whatcom Wonderland returns to the Bellingham home of Randi Punteney and Kauleen Shelton at 2334 Huron Street, offering a spectacular display of over 3,000 LED lights that will elicit oohs and aahs from the back seat. Tune your vehicle’s radio to 101.9FM and visit from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to see a spectacular synchronized show.

“I became fascinated by animated Christmas lights after seeing some videos online of other people’s houses,” says Randi.

The couple started out slowly in 2007, while living in Skagit County, and have grown the display year after year.

“We love putting on the show, as it brings so many people joy and happiness,” Randi says. “Seeing smiles on the their faces, especially the kids, makes it all worth it. Hopefully our neighbors don’t mind too much.”

James Street Estates

My family has been driving through James Street Estates at the holidays for more than a decade. Turn into the neighborhood of neatly groomed manufactured homes, turn off your car lights, and glide slowly through a glorious display of Christmas lights. 3802 James Street in Bellingham.

Festivals, Annual Polar Bear Events

Fairhaven Holiday Festival

This kick-off to this year’s Fairhaven Holiday Festival brings Santa and Mrs. Claus to the gazebo on the corner of Harris Avenue and 10th Street from 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. on Friday, November 28, where they will greet visitors and spread holiday cheer. The festival also includes the annual Lighting of the Trees at the Fairhaven Village Green, Fairhaven Holiday Art Walk, free carriage rides, and more.

Holiday Carriage Rides In Fairhaven

Cramer Classics will again offer holiday carriage rides throughout historic Fairhaven during this jolly season. Head to the front door of the Fairhaven Village Inn between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and you’ll soon be making your way through Fairhaven’s charming streets just as they did so long ago.

Holiday Port Festival and Gingerbread House Contest

It’s the annual event gingerbread fans look forward to, as the Holiday Port Festival brings its gingerbread house contest to the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, along with local bands, choral groups, dancers, children’s art activities, Santa and his Missus, and much more.

Enjoy complimentary cookies and hot apple cider, and then cast your vote for favorite gingerbread house in a variety of categories. Friday, December 5 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visit the Port of Bellingham’s website for specific times for photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, fire truck rides, and horse-drawn wagon rides.

This year’s event also invites folks to tour the Alaska Ferry on Friday, December 5 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. You must have a photo ID to come board.

Olde Fashioned Christmas at Ferndale’s Pioneer Park

Experience the Christmas season as it was back in the pioneer days, as Ferndale Heritage Society members dress up in pioneer costumes and lead visitors back in time through a dozen decorated log homes. There will be hands-on crafts for children, old-fashioned games, music and a working general store where visitors can buy pioneer-style Christmas gifts. Families can also take their own photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children. 2004 Cherry Street in Ferndale. Friday, December 5 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday, December 6 from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday, December 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Lynden Lighted Christmas Parade

Lynden’s 24th annual holiday celebration kicks off at 6:00 pm on Saturday, December 6 with the always popular Lighted Christmas Parade, a string of carolers and a dazzling display of lighted trucks, cars, floats, wagons, farm equipment, and more. The procession starts at Fairway Center and travels along Front Street through charming downtown Lynden.

Everson-Nooksack Winter Festival

Bring the whole family and join in the fun at the Everson-Nooksack Winter Festival on Friday, December 5 at 6:00 p.m. at Everson City Park. Santa and his elves will be there, along with free hot cocoa. The first 150 children to visit with Santa receive a goodie bag. 111 West Main Street in Everson.

Annual Ring of Fire and Hope, Birch Bay Polar Bear Plunge

Birch Bay celebrates the transition of the New Year with two unique events: the Annual Ring of Fire and Hope, after dark on December 31, and the annual Birch Bay Polar Bear Plunge on January 1, both sponsored by the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce.

The Ring of Fire and Hope brings together hundreds of participants along the shores of Birch Bay with lighted flares, turning the bay into a ring of fire, signifying hope for the coming year.

At noon the next day, hundreds of Birch Bay Polar Bear Plunge participants leap into the bay’s frigid waters (and quickly leap back out) to welcome 2015 refreshed – and, no doubt, shivering. The event draws more than a thousand on-shore onlookers and cheerleaders. Prizes are given for best individual costume and best group costume.

Lake Padden Polar Dip & Resolution Run

Another option for an icy New Year’s Day dunking takes place each year at Lake Padden, with the Padden Polar Dip – preceded by the Resolution Run-Walk around the lake’s 2.6-mile loop. The run/walk begins at 11:00 a.m, followed at 12:00 p.m. by the dip. Those crazy enough to jump in can warm up afterward with coffee and hot cocoa.

Holiday Shopping

35th Annual Holiday Allied Arts Holiday Festival of the Arts

The season’s longest-running holiday marketplace, Allied Arts’ Holiday Festival of the Arts is celebrating 35 years of bringing the work of local artisans and craftspeople to holiday shoppers. This year’s festival brings more than 100 vendors together to offer reasonably priced handmade products, which range from jewelry and repurposed art to paintings and specialty foods – and more. Each weekend is chock full of activities for all ages, including live music, artist demonstrations, and fun art projects.

The festival runs through December 24, open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with bonus days on Monday and Tuesday, December 22 and 23. Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thanksgiving, and at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24. 4145 Meridian Street in Bellingham.

Bellingham Farmers Market Pop Up Gift Market
In a collaboration with the Downtown Bellingham Partnership and the City of Bellingham, the Bellingham Farmers Market will offer a special Pop-Up Gift Market on Friday, December 5 at the Depot Market Square from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., in conjunction with the Tree Lighting and Downtown Art Walk. More than 30 vendors will bring an assortment of wonderful, local gift options shoppers simply won’t find anywhere else.

Downtown Bellingham Art Walk

Art Walk takes place every first Friday of the month, but the Holiday Art Walk only happens once a year! Hit the downtown streets on Friday, December 5, right after the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Depot Market Square, and discover art, crafts, and much more – perfect for holiday gift-buying – from a slew of talented local and regional artists.

Fairhaven Holiday Art Walk

Stroll historic Fairhaven and shop its charming boutiques, bookstores, galleries, and more. Some 20 locations will have special exhibits and unique events. Friday, November 28 and Saturday, November 29 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Blaine Holiday Art and Gift Market

Sponsored by the Blaine Harbor Art Gallery, the Blaine Holiday Art and Gift Market takes place Saturday, December 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Goff Building at 674 Peace Portal Drive in Blaine.

Blaine Homemade Arts and Crafts Christmas Bazaar

Peruse homemade gifts at the Blaine Community Center on Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the Homemade Arts & Crafts Christmas Bazaar. 763 G Street in Blaine.

Pacific Arts Holiday Market

This year marks the 18th annual Pacific Arts Market in Bellingham, taking place over three weekends in December. Find gifts created by dozens of well-known local artists and crafters: from jewelry and fine art to home décor and specialty foods. There will also be live music and artist demonstrations. December 5 through 7, 12 through 14 and 19 through 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Sunset Square, 1125 East Sunset Square Drive, Suite 115, in Bellingham.

The Gift of Art: Jansen Art Center Holiday Fair

Jansen Art Center in Lynden presents its Holiday Fair on Saturday, December 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., showcasing unique handmade jewelry, pottery, and more – all created by local artists. There will also be a variety of hands-on art activities, so bring the kids along, too. 321 Front Street in Lynden.

Make.Shift’s 4th annual Make Sale

From hand-forged kitchen knives to handcrafted jewelry, there’s something uniquely awesome for everyone on your list at the Make.Shift Make Sale on Saturday, December 13 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Bringing together more than 20 local artists and crafters, this one-day craft-fair will showcase the work of Sown Designs, Schwarzenncrahft stihlworks, NOMAD, Red Boots Design, Fringe & Feather, Normiehead, Rubycat Designs, Jess Flegel Handmade, Lyanna’s PLTs, Localmotive Jewelry Creations, Osteal Jewelry, Bomber Audio, You Did A Thing, and many more. Delicious soups, hot cider, adult holiday beverages, and amazing acapella holiday singers will add to the festive feel. 306 Flora Street in downtown Bellingham.

Shop Small Saturday

The Downtown Bellingham Partnership helps mark Small Business Saturday with its own spin on the event, Shop Small Saturday. Visit downtown on Saturday, November 29, and support small businesses while enjoying a wide array of goodies amid festively decorated streets, sidewalks, and shops.

Shop Dine Celebrate in Downtown Bellingham

The Downtown Bellingham Partnership also invites folks to Shop Dine Celebrate all over downtown on December 12, 13 and 14. Shorten your to-do list by hitting downtown stores for unique gifts, and then take a break to grab a bite at any of downtown’s delicious eateries. Take a picture of check-in using the hashtag #bhamSDC, and you’ll be entered into a raffle. Carolers, buskers, and other live entertainment will add to the festive feel of downtown on all three days.

The post Holiday Happenings: WhatcomTalk’s List of Festivals, Parades, Lighting Ceremonies, One-of-a-Kind Gift Buying and More appeared first on WhatcomTalk.

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