If you’ve already crossed everyone off your holiday shopping list, then congrats. Also, how? If you haven’t crossed everyone off your list, or even anyone, then welcome. Same. We’ll be hunting down neat and noteworthy gifts at the Renegade Craft Fair this weekend at Magnuson Park, then afterward celebrating the return of Dina Martina’s annual holiday show over at ACT.
Fa-la-la-la-la, babes 🥂
📸: 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
📸: 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
📸: 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
📸: Dina Martina
December 8 – 24
No one would classify the Christmas shows I’ve recommended this season as “normal”—who would want that?—but The Dina Martina Christmas Show likely takes the holiday fruitcake in WTFness. Even 25 years into its run, the show still surprises with its sheer off-kilter, off-key, off-the-wall bizarreness. Provincetown Magazine calls it “chaos drag,” while Out In New Jersey describes Dina as having “the grace of a giraffe slipping down a water slide.” For people in need of something…let’s broadly say “non-traditional”…it’s time to slap on some big red lipstick and get on down to ACT Theatre.
The self-proclaimed Second Lady of Entertainment, “tragic singer, horrible dancer, and surreal raconteur,” Dina has one Stranger Genius Award and three Seattle Times Footlight Awards, plus she has a huge, vocal fan in longtime troublemaking provocateur John Waters. (To wit, Dina would fit right into the ensemble of, say, 1974’s Female Trouble.) All of this tracks, as what first appears to be weird performance gaffes, fumbling malapropisms, and non sequiturs become the central point and drawing factors of the show. Aggressive mischief, seemingly free-associative comedy, and fever dream imagery; what a stocking stuffer. MARCUS GORMAN
December 10 – 11 • 11 am – 5 pm
I want to be the kind of person who can knit a sweater, screenprint a calendar, and throw curvy ceramics. I’m more the person who spends too much on supplies and doesn’t finish in time for the holidays. If this sounds like you, join me in saving the money on supplies and spending it at Seattle’s Renegade Craft Fair on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 + 11.
Occupying Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park, Renegade Craft Fair turns the empty warehouse into a cozy nexus of curated makers with bespoke wares at all price points. They’ve been around since 2003, throwing markets all over the country and becoming an annual staple of my holiday shopping.
We’ve organized some highlights of this year’s Renegade Craft Fair roster right here, along with suggestions for how you might want to spend your day around Magnuson Park. (Check out the fair roster for a complete list of makers!) It all goes down from 11 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. MIRANDA HARDY
📸: 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