It’s officially December which means ho ho ho and here we go in getting absolutely coo-coo for Christmas. All kinds of Christmas Carols are on the horizon, from the fancy to the improvised. But there are also Disney holiday concerts and cheery little markets—and don’t forget to make the Yuletide gay with these very Seattle burlesque shows.
December is the darkest month of the year, so why not dig into the Christmas cheer this year? We’re going to 🎉
📸: The Royal Tenenbaums
Runs December 1 – 4
The Nightmare Before Christmas has been a holiday staple since its release in 1993. What could be more enticing than a mash-up of two seemingly contradictory holidays, Halloween and Christmas? Although filmmaker Tim Burton couldn’t direct the movie, his distinctive, quirky fingerprints are nonetheless all over it. In addition to serving as producer, the film’s story is based on a poem he’d written in 1982 and had been trying to bring to the screen ever since. He also brought in his longtime collaborator, composer Danny Elfman (the two first worked together on Pee-wee’s Big Adventure) to write the film’s songs and score (Elfman’s also the singing voice of Jake Skellington, the Pumpkin King), making the movie as much of an audio treat as a visual one.
Which is where the Seattle Symphony comes in. Why settle for watching this magnificence on the small screen when you can experience it in full-size format and accompanied by live symphonic accompaniment to boot? Then hasten down to the sonically superb setting of Benaroya Hall, where Susie Benchasil Seiter will conduct the Seattle Symphony through the delights of “This Is Halloween,” “Kidnap the Sandy Claws,” and “Oogie Boogie’s Song.” (Tip: If the drinks line on the main floor is too long, try the stands on the upper levels. Bonus tip: Cash-only lines are always shorter.) GILLIAN G. GAAR
📸: Jingle All The Gay
Runs December 2 – 18
If your holidays under those heavy Seattle clouds need a bit of cheering and queering up, Kitten LaRue and Lou Henry Hoover would love to invite you to their cozy home, nicely located onstage at the Oddfellows Building’s West Hall. The married pair, known collectively as Kitten N’ Lou, are “The World’s Show-Busiest Couple,” members of the Atomic Bombshells, holders of multiple Burlesque Hall of Fame trophies, and have been producing this show in one version or another for over a decade. And this is your last chance to indulge in their heartwarming, heartweirding shenanigans, as this is advertised as its final run.
Jingle is a sweet and funny night of burlesque, drag, dance, comedy, community, and whatever’s been in the news and on the radio over the past 12 months. Kitten N’ Lou are throwing a Christmas party in and around their wintry home and it’s high time to check in with a Pee-wee’s Playhouse-esque gang of family and friends, including performers well-known to locals (Markeith Wiley, Woody Shticks), from out of town (Jeez Loueez, Tito Bonito), and seemingly from Mars (Cherdonna Shinatra, whose chaos version of “Winter Wonderland” is my absolute favorite). Plus, a few Christmas ghosts, the bisexual Angel We Have Heard Is High (RedBone), and a visit from one very chill and progressive Jesus (ilvs strauss). MARCUS GORMAN
📸: War on Christmas
Runs December 2 – 24
Most local theatres have a holiday ritual, with shows geared explicitly toward audiences they’ve cultivated over years and even decades. The 140-seat Theatre Off Jackson in the Chinatown-International District? They have whatever Scott Shoemaker and Freddy Molitch of Shoe and Pants Productions have cooked up with Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas, a raunchy and gut-busting variety show that caters to a rowdier, late-night crowd.
“I love that we have a point of view that’s different than all the other shows in Seattle’s Christmas Industrial Complex,” Shoemaker told The Ticket. “Even though the variety show format is something people have seen a lot, I think people are constantly surprised at the audacity of the things we’ll put on the stage. I can’t think of a show that’s as twisted as ours, and if there is one, it should be shut down immediately because it’s clearly gone too far.”
Previously staged at the Re-Bar (🪦), War on Christmas is a mix of song, dance, “partial nudity,” and holiday cheer co-starring other weirdos Mandy Price, Faggedy Randy, and Adé. New to the cast this year is Major Scales, known for his work with two-time Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon (The Vaudevillians, The Ginger Snapped) and in the BenDeLaCreme Halloween extravaganza Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor. MARCUS GORMAN
📸: Courtesy Koe-Zee, one of the 70+ vendors at the Georgetown Flea Holiday Market
Saturday, December 3 • 10 am – 4 pm
5805 Airport Way S
980 S Nebraska ST
The Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, open every weekend in a parking lot just off Airport Way, delivers a weirdo Seattle experience that’s increasingly rare: unique art and wearables, both new and vintage, that you actually want to buy, from creators and collectors that don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s a beautiful, slightly dirty pillow on which to rest your Etsy-weary head. The drawback is that it’s just a handful of vendors, which decreases your chances of finding the exact right thing—but back in March, the Georgetown Flea Market started running a once-monthly market that extends into nearby venue The Stables, offering an expanded selection of offbeat goods.
Because it’s the gift-giving season, and local artisans are prepared to sell you so many things, December’s Georgetown Flea Market is an extra-special holiday spectacular. They’ll feature more than 70 vendors of handmade and vintage stuff and, according to organizers, some “fun collaborations.” Participants are on the market’s Instagram highlights, and include painters, clothing designers, dog accessory-makers, a vintage bookseller, illustrators, jewelers, ceramicists, candlemakers, and more. You’ll be able to check a few things off your list, even if the list is “things I would like to buy for myself, personally.” SARAH ANNE LLOYD
📸: The Bellevue Downtown Association
Runs until January 8
While I’m no Grinch, it does take some coaxing to get me in the holiday mood. Baking, light displays, and ice skating seem to do the trick. Bellevue’s Downtown Ice Rink, in particular, helps pave my way into the festivities. A 25-year tradition, Bellevue’s rink boasts being the region’s largest open-air rink (at 10,000 square feet). It runs until January 8, rain or shine, and ticket prices include skate rental. (For those too scared to skate, there’s a viewing area where you can sit and snack.)
Open almost every day of the week, with free parking nearby, the rink is the right place to hit for a mid-week happy hour. I recommend getting your hot chocolate at the on-site concession stand, then heading to Snowflake Lane for a free nightly holiday parade. (Held every night at 7 pm with music, lights, dancers, drummers, and falling snow.)
While Bellevue isn’t the only rink around—you can skate at the Kraken Iceplex, Pacific Ice Rink in Everett, and even a 3-day pop-up rink in Occidental Square (December 9 to 11)—this seasonal rink is worth a trip to the Eastside. Get in on its fun events like Ugly Sweater Skates and Free Skating Lessons. Film a Blades of Glory-style TikTok. Go wild.
Tip: Buy tickets online in advance, especially for busy weekends. Hit the nearby Rouge Cocktail Lounge for their Cutty Nog, a drink where orange creamsicle meets boozy eggnog—or splurge on a Spiked Apple Cider. PATHERESA WELLS
📸: Bellevue Botanical Garden
Runs until December 31
Garden d’Lights want to remind you that you are always a kid at heart. The Bellevue Botanical Gardens transform into a land of light and magic during the holiday times, and it’s a labor of love. It takes over 6,400 hours and 11 months to bring to life. There ain’t nothing cookie-cutter about it. Sure, there are reindeer, Santa, snowmen, and flakes of snow at those other places. Been there, done that. At the Garden, get ready for a biologically correct sea animal display, a field of corn, a winery, and more—all made from lights. Folks, that’s special.
Mark your advent calendars for November 26. Every day from then until December 31 (except Christmas Day), the place offers the chance to illuminate your little life and keep warm with hot cocoa sold onsite. Bring your best friends and film a TikTok. Spend time with your grandpa and ask him about his favorite Christmas memory. For the couples out there, stroll hand in hand and kiss near the brand-new snail feature (so romantic!). For $8 a ticket (free for kids 10 and under), it seems a pretty good deal. Buy tickets ahead of time here and arrive a little early to avoid crowds. Keep the jolly times going with Snowflake Lane, just a 10-minute drive away. HAYLEE JARRETT