Dinner Wagon

Ho-Ho-Holiday Happenings in Christmastown

By Rachel Hansen

The first Friday in December is traditionally a big day for Shelton  - AKA  Christmastown. Since the early sixties, this sleepy town wakes up with the the scent of the Christmas tree truckloads, ready to festoon each street light with tinsel, then lace them with coils of colored lights. Fires are lit in the street for roasting marshmallows as the shops stay open late, greeting visitors with mugs of steaming hot chocolate before the tree lighting. On Saturday a Santa-sized parade fills nine blocks of Railroad Avenue with festive cheer, leaving a path of smiles and Christmas spirit in its wake.

Things are a little different this year in Christmastown. No parades. No tree lightings with hundreds of school children singing carols.  No closing streets to roast marshmallows or take wagon rides. Yet, like Whoville, this year the town has rallied to create a series of unique ways to mark the season, insuring the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Christmastown – despite the current challenges

“Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to grasp.” The Grinch, Dr. Seuss

Partnering with the Kristmas Town Kiwanis, a  local non-profit that helps children and families, community volunteers have come together to provide a mix of virtual and live events that celebrate the holidays and create a sense of community. You cannot miss the outdoor Christmas tree maze, a tribute to Christmastown's 2019 Guinness World Record win for the most lit Christmas trees in one location! With 1000’s upon thousands of white lights reflecting off the natural Douglas Firs, the maze is best viewed at night. Stop by of the fire pits to warm up and enjoy toasted marshmallows. With single use roasting sticks and private fire sites, attendance is closely monitored by volunteers in the Maze and Market area to ensure appropriate physical distancing. The Maze opens this Friday, December 4th and is open each weekend through December 20th. Admission is limited but FREE.

Christmas Crafting

On Friday, December 4 pick up the the commemorative 4” ornament “Christmas isn’t Cancelled”  kit. Crafts are free but limited to the first 100.

Oyster Shell

Saturday, December 5, the crafting kit includes Hood canal Oysters for you to make into beautiful dishes or ornaments to hang on the tree.

Also starting Friday, Christmastown begins 12 Days of Crafts. Participants can register online and stop by the event during the weekend, or the Chamber of Commerce office during the week, to pick up crafting kits. Complete with instructions, families can do them together at home, or to create a little more community, join in on the virtual workshop online. For the first weekend of the event there are live sessions as well. You can build a 2020 Christmastown ornament or decoupage oyster shells to create one-of-a-kind dishes. Craft leaders will be onsite and each area is sanitized between each use. Crafting events and kits are free but donations are appreciated.

Gingerbread Challenge

Gingerbread                     Pretzel Cabin
Gingerbread                     Cookie Path Cottage
Gingerbread                     Iced to Perfection

The flour is flying next week as local families and individuals compete in the 2nd Annual Gingerbread Challenge. This year the stakes are even higher as the prize money has increased with community sponsorship from Windermere Real Estate and Bowers Dental. Don’t worry, there are plenty of prizes to go around and local businesses have generously offered up their storefront windows to display the masterpieces so everyone can view them safely at their leisure.  Anyone can enter, entries are due by December 11th. Need inspiration for your gingerbread creation? Head over to Hood Canal and take a look at the snow capped Olympics. They are so beautiful this time of the year, it almost feels like they may be not real. 

Shutdowns have been particularly hard on restaurants. With indoor dining suspended, local restaurants have had to rely on take out. To support them, Christmastown is offering dinner wagon rides through the decorated streets of downtown beginning Friday, December 4th. The rides provide unique holiday experiences that are compliant to WA State laws for outdoor dining. Proceeds, after meal costs, benefit Kristmas Town Kiwanis. But hurry, the first wave of ride schedules sold out in just three days! CLICK HERE for wagon dinner info.

Dinner Wagon

Places to stay nearby

Right now is the perfect time of year to book a cabin and start building new memories with your families. Head into the forest in search of snow;  grab a $5 Christmas tree from the National Forest (recreation.gov), or launch a kayak and simply enjoy the calm. The waterfront Glen Ayr Resort is located between Potlatch and Hoodsport and features a marina and fantastic views of Hood Canal from decks, cottages, and guest rooms. Enjoy diving, boating, fishing, and shellfish gathering right in the front yard! Facilities include a swim spa hot tub, a game room with a pool table, and a recreation lodge.  

Alderbrook Resort and Spa, one of the premier resorts in Washington State, is located on Hood Canal in Union. During the holidays guests with reservations (closed to non-resort guests) will enjoy holiday festivities on site. Make reservations today to enjoy your traditional, but non-traditional, event with Alderbrook Resort!

For more information on the Christmastown activities and how you and your family can get in on the fun, visit christmastownwa.org

If you would like to know more about lodging and activities on Hood Canal and neighboring  communities, visit explorehoodcanal.com.