“Ham?” “Soup?” “Duck?” are some of the answers we got when we asked our kids, 8 and almost 12, what some traditional Thanksgiving foods were. My Italian-American family did in fact have ham and things like “baked macaroni” and “Italian wedding soup” at holiday meals, but we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving back “home” since 2004 so there’s no real excuse for the “soup” answer. You need to look no further than those answers to see that we don’t celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving in the what-you-see-in-commercials sense anyhow. We don’t go anywhere or have anyone over, there’s no fancy pants, frantic cleaning, or looking for extra chairs or silverware. For Thanksgiving, it’s the four of us, and 50 percent of us eat about 10 percent of what is considered a traditional Thanksgiving — turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing/dressing, and a bread item of some sort.
Seeing a card table, extra chairs, and a vinyl table-shaped pad to ensure the table wasn’t affected by hot plates were the first signs of a big meal at my grandparents. Given that my happy memories at the kids’ end of the card table placed next to the real table are some of my favorite and that our families are out-of-state, I feel some extra pressure to make and continue some traditions of our own. Considering all the pressure the holidays bring already with Lego Advent Calendars, homemade gifts for teachers, incessant commercials with luxury cars, and Elves on Shelves (despite others’ love of this tradition, it is almost precisely where we draw our line), I try to make the holiday events we frequent, or even try out, have a good impact-to-cost ratio. Locally, we have some great options for traditional holiday events like free tree lightings, “fun” runs, and a couple of places to see Santa.
The Lynnwood Food Bank Turkey Trot 5K will be held Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23, at 8 a.m. This friendly out-and-back course along the Interurban Trail begins and ends at the Lynnwood Transit Center, 20100 48th Ave. W. Registration is $15 in advance and $20 day of and all of the money goes directly to the Lynnwood Food Bank. For more information and registration you can visit their Facebook event page HERE.
On Saturday, Nov. 25, the Edmonds Police Foundation 5K Holiday Dash will be held at Civic Field in Edmonds, 310 6th Ave. N. Registration starts an hour ahead of the 9 a.m. race at the Boys and Girls Club, also on 6th Avenue. The cost for adults is $35 and kids race free, unless they would like a t-shirt in which case the fee is $20 for them. The Holiday Dash events page, which you can find HERE for more information, notes that the run supports a great local cause and will still give you plenty of time to “watch The Apple Cup and head to the Christmas Tree lighting” on Saturday. They also suggest you dig out that ugly Christmas sweater as they will be giving aways “great local prizes for Most Festive Individual, Most Festive Family and Most Festive Group!”
The tree lighting ceremony Edmonds has yet to disappoint. Each year we’ve gone, we have run into friends and the kids have loved that “walk in the blocked-off streets” kind of feeling you get around Halloween and 4th of July in Edmonds. Starting at 3:30 p.m on Saturday, Nov. 25, there will be FREE refreshments at Centennial Plaza with the program starting at 4 p.m., and of course, Santa to follow. At 5:30 p.m. you can follow Santa to Canarino Gelato for photos. Besides the refreshments, music, and Santa, there is also a chance to help out at the Tree Lighting. You can bring food donations for the Nourishing Network or children’s clothing (socks, jackets, etc.) for Clothes for Kids. You can find more information along with the schedule of events on their Facebook event page HERE.
If you don’t get to see Santa at the tree lighting he is at the Alderwood Mall now, as well. I got a text from a friends with a paparazzi-style picture of the second-shift Santa at Alderwood Mall. This is the Santa who used to do the whole day, but is now seen in the afternoons only. To be fair, the other Santa is great as well. We’re just all-in, as they say, with our St. Nick. To more officially prove that Santa in indeed in town, I got an email offering appointments and if you’d like to make one you can click HERE.
Mountlake Terrace will have a Holiday Tree Lighting this year on Friday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. You can head to Evergreen Playfields, 22289 56th Ave. W., for music, cocoa and cookies, caroling, and Santa Claus. The “tree” in this case can be “seen from miles around” as it is a LED “tree” that sits atop the City’s water tower. I look forward to seeing this each year on our drive to hockey practice on 220th. For more information you can visit CityofMLT.com or call 425-776-9173.
Last year’s public Menorah Lighting held at the City of Lynnwood will go down as one of my most favorite holiday events I’ve attended. We are a family that lights the Menorah and also has a Christmas tree, and last year we decided to check out the Chanukah festivities hosted by Chabad of Snohomish County and it was truly a community event. This year looks to be in the same spirit. Along with members of Chabad of Snohomish County, Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith and other city and county officials with participate in the 6th annual Menorah Lighting, Tuesday, Dec. 12 from 6 to 7 p.m. The 9-foot Menorah will be lit as participants sing traditional Chanukah songs enjoy holiday treats and a Seattle based Klezmer band, Klez Katz.
The Facebook events page for the Menorah Lighting says that in light of recent tragic events in Texas, Las Vegas and around the world, this year’s Lights of Unity “will celebrate the light and joy of our shared freedoms and the immeasurable value of every human being.” For more information you can visit the Facebook events page HERE.
Lynnwood will also have a tree lighting of their own. Saturday, Dec. 2 at Silver Creek Family Church, 5326 176th St. S.W. A “natural” tree will be lit as attendees enjoy music and local vendors. For more information you can visit the Silver Creek Family Church calendar HERE.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, a mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese”