Last-Minute Plans: 84 Free, Cheap & Easy Holiday Things To Do In Seattle: Dec 20-25, 2018

Ugly Sweater Parties, Holiday Light Displays, and More $10-and-Under Events

by Stranger Things To Do Staff

Celebrate Christmas Eve and support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers like Spank Williams & Friends (pictured) at the    15th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant   . COURTESY OF BLUE MOON TAVERN

Celebrate Christmas Eve and support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers like Spank Williams & Friends (pictured) at the 15th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant. COURTESY OF BLUE MOON TAVERN

Whether you're sticking around Seattle for the holidays and have a limited budget or you're hosting out-of-town family and looking for something you can all do that won't break the bank, we've got you covered. Below, find all of your options for last-minute holiday entertainment from December 20–25 that won't cost more than $10, ranging from the Music of A Charlie Brown Christmas to Mystery Drag Queen Theater 3000: Holiday Edition, and from ugly sweater parties like W Seattle's Eat, Drink & Be Ugly to Populuxe Brewing's annual Orphan's Christmas. For even more options, check out our list of non-holiday-related cheap & easy things to do this weekend and into next week, our list of places to see holiday lights, or our complete winter holidays calendar.



1. Love Actually Movie Night & Blanket Drive
Watch Love Actually, the lengthiest (and cutest) British Christmas movie of modern times, for free in a heated beer garden. Don't forget to bring a warm blanket to donate to those in need. 
(Ballard, free)


2. Sit Ubu Sit, Dancer and Prancer
Festive surf rockers Dancer and Prancer will headline this holiday show, where you can also play trivia in pursuit of prizes, knowing that all proceeds will benefit Seattle Dogs Homeless Program.  
(Columbia City, $8/$10)

3. Snuff Redux, MONSTERWATCH, Beverly Crusher, Rat Queen, Actionesse, Coach Phillips
Raise money and donate toys to families in need by dancing to live sets from local rockers Snuff Redux, MONSTERWATCH, Beverly Crusher, Actionesse, Rat Queen, and Coach Phillips. 
(Capitol Hill, $10)


4. Everett Makers Market Ugly Sweater Party Last Minute Gifts
Guzzle two-dollar pints of Scuttlebutt in your ugly sweater while you do some last-minute gift shopping from local vendors such as Knits Fiber Co., the Art of Rosemary, and Vertical Gardens. 
(Everett, free)

5. Firestone Walker Ugly Sweater Party
Dust off your most hideous holiday hand-me-down and enter an ugly sweater contest. This event will also have games, crafting, and plenty of beer and wine.  
(Fremont, free)

6. Kris Kringle's Christmas Mingle 2
With some help from a horn section, local musicians Zechariah Valette and Johnny Durango will play all your holiday favorites while a live painter makes art before your eyes. You can also snap a photo in a "winter wonderland" photo booth and drink special drinks.  
(Belltown, free)

7. Ugly Sweater Night with Fremont Brewing
Grab a pint from one of several Fremont Brewing taps and a sandwich from Make Me a Sandwich and party in your ugly sweater.  
(West Seattle, free)

8. A Winter Function
Celebrate Sagittarius season, the winter solstice, and the holidays with fiery sounds by DJs X2050 and Pax. Festive attire is encouraged.  
(Beacon Hill, $5/$10)


9. Queen4Queen: Ho! Ho! Hoe!
Get slutty for the holidays with drag divas Baby Guuurl, Bosco, Canolli, and Indika Haze. Come early to revel before the performances start. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


10. Night Market at Pike Place
Pike Place's New MarketFront Pavilion will stay open late for your last-minute gift needs. Find hand-crafted goods from shops like Bar Bazaar, Brooke Westlund Studio + Gallery, the Carrot Flower Company, the Paper Feather, and Ugly Baby. Come hungry to fill up on bites from indi chocolate, Honest Biscuits, Piroshky Piroshky, and El Chito. 
(Downtown, free)



11. Pioneer Square Holidays 2018
For a hub of holiday cheer, head over to Pioneer Square for giveaways from neighborhood businesses at free horse-drawn carriage rides in Occidental Square, the Pilchuck Holiday Sale, and other events. 
(Pioneer Square, free)


12. It's a Wrap Winter Wonderland + DJ Experience
Gaze at a flurry of snow created by digital video mapping while you cozy up by a fire, sip cocktails, and enjoy live DJs. 
(Downtown, free)


13. Solstice Stroll
Brighten up the darkest days of the year by walking through an illuminated garden, which will be open each day until the winter solstice passes. 
(Shoreline, $10 suggested donation)



14. Christmas Ship Fesitval
Every holiday season, the Spirit of Seattle (Argosy Cruises's "Official Christmas Ship") sails to 65 Washington waterfronts, bringing Christmas choirs and sparkling light displays to onlookers.
(Various locations, free)



15. Snowflake Lane
Flurries of snow (the kind that shoots out of a machine) dust the streets as bright lights, festive music, toy drummers, and other emblems of magical holiday cheer fill the streets for nightly parades. 
(Bellevue, free)

16. Swansons Reindeer Festival
Shop a variety of seasonal plants, bulbs, arrangements, and Christmas trees, as well as other gifts like books, jewelry, and home decor, at the decked-out nursery. Plus, visit with Santa and his real-life reindeer, check out model trains, and enjoy live music throughout the season. 
(Crown Hill, free)


17. Evergreen Lights
Eat cookies and drink cocoa while you gaze at 500,000 lights flickering to choreographed music like little dancing lumens. 
(Bothell, free)


18. The Dickens Carolers
The Dickens Carolers will return to serenade you with holiday ditties while you eat and drink festive treats.  
(First Hill, free)
No performance Dec 23



19. It's a Wonderful Life
Shortly after It's a Wonderful Life's 1946 release, James Agee, one of the few American film critics of that era still worth reading, noted the film's grueling aspect. "Often," he wrote, "in its pile-driving emotional exuberance, it outrages, insults, or at least accosts without introduction, the cooler and more responsible parts of the mind." These aesthetic cautions are followed, however, by a telling addendum: "It is nevertheless recommended," Agee allowed, "and will be reviewed at length as soon as the paralyzing joys of the season permit." Paralyzing joys are the very heart of George Bailey's dilemma; they are, to borrow words from George's father, "deep in the race." The sacrifices George makes for being "the richest man in town" resonate bitterly even as they lead to the finale's effusive payoff. Those sacrifices are what make It's a Wonderful Life, in all its "Capraesque" glory, endure. This year marks the 48th consecutive year Grand Illusion has played the film. SEAN NELSON 
(University District, $9)


20. Garden d’Lights
Walk among "half a million" sparkling lights in the shapes of flowers, plants, birds, and waterfalls at this annual holiday display. 
(Bellevue, free/$5)



21. Winterfest
From a winter train village to an ice rink, and from music and dance performances to ice sculpting, Winterfest promises five weeks of free festive cheer for all ages. Don' miss a holiday surf-rock show from Dancer & Prancer (Dec 21), a performance from the Sierra's Latin Jazz Project (Dec 22), and Jingle Bell Rock, A Puppet Show (Dec 23).
(Seattle Center, free)


22. Family Christmas Spectacular
Sip hot cocoa in your car while you watch a glittering light display. Don't forget to bring non-perishable food donations for the West Seattle Food Bank. There will be extra special shows on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so don't miss out.
(West Seattle, free)

23. Keener Christmas
Take part in a north-end tradition by driving under a towering archway leading to 500,000 lights strung by Bothell couple Jeff and Candice Keener. Santa has been known to hand out candy canes to spectators, so keep your eyes peeled. Plus, bring canned food to donate to HopeLink. 
(Bothell, free)

24. Maple Valley Lights
Tune your car radio to 101.9FM "Listen To The Lights" and drive through a neighborhood decked out in holiday light displays. There will be extra special shows on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so don't miss out. 
(Maple Valley, free)

25. Olympic Manor
Ballard homeowners go all out at this community light display. Crank up the Christmas tunes and take a drive through the neighborhood. 
(Ballard, free)


26. Hometown Holidays in the Junction
All throughout the holiday season, head to West Seattle for all kinds of all-ages activities like late-night shopping and a holiday farmers market on Dec 30. 
(West Seattle, free)



27. Candy Cane Lane
1920s-era Tudor homes in Ravenna have been boasting impressive light displays every holiday season since 1949. Stroll along Northeast Park Road taking in Nutcracker-themed havens complete with sleighs, reindeer, sugar plum fairies, and blow-up candy canes galore. 
(Ravenna, free)

28. Clam Lights
Every night, Ivar's powers up the park with thousands of Christmas lights depicting various clammy characters. Is this where clams go to heaven after you eat them at Ivar's? 
(Renton, free)


29. Holiday Express Train and Poinsettia Display
The holiday train will return to the Volunteer Park Conservatory to weave its way through festive poinsettias. 
(Capitol Hill, $4)


30. Gingerbread Village
For the 26th year in a row, diabetes research center JDRF Northwest has invited local architecture firms to use their skills for a holiday tradition: crafting an elaborate gingerbread village, this year with the theme of "Welcome to Whoville." See five life-size whimsical Seussian creations in person throughout the season, accompanied by clips from the classic 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas
(Downtown, $5 suggested donation)
Closed on Dec 25


31. Maple Leaf Lights
Take some time to appreciate the lengths to which people have gone to illuminate their houses with impressive Christmas light displays. 
(Maple Leaf, free)



32. Winter Wonderland at Redmond Town Center
Enjoy an ice skating rink, a carousel, live entertainment, visits from Santa, and more family-friendly activities throughout the winter season. 
(Redmond, free)



33. Snow Day in Denny Park
Denny Park's winter light display will provide a magical, twinkly respite from your day. 
(Queen Anne, free)



34. SAD Queers: A Holiday Comedy Special
Leaven the darkest day of the year with comedy sets by delightful queers like Andy Iwancio, Aila Slisco, Summer Azim, Graham Downing, Vee Chattie, Melissa Beadle, Amethyst de Wolfe, and Llynn Marks. Clara Pluton will host this benefit for TransWomen of Color Collective. 
(University District, $5-$10 suggested donation)


35. Film & Discussion: The Black Candle
Watch the "first feature film on Kwanzaa," narrated by Maya Angelou and directed by M.K. Ashante, then discuss it afterwards with Africatown members. 
(Columbia City, free)


36. Holiday Latin Dance Party
Dance to "every tropical rhythm" in the book, from salsa and bachata to merengue and cumbia, at this holiday DJ dance party.  
(Sodo, $5/$10)

37. The LOST Holiday Party
Los Angeles-based DJ Dan (once a resident of Seattle) will headline this holiday party with support from Dig-Dug, Dot Diggler, Buckmode, Christian Jackson, and others. Drink some eggnog and dance.  
(Downtown, free)

38. NorthLeft 005: Timbre Room Holiday Party
Mix up your usual holiday music routine by getting down to house and techno with DJ Jesse Leer, who'll be joined by NorthLeft, Tony H, and locals Alex Flores and Derrick Deep.  
(Downtown, $8)

39. REVEL Ugly Sweater Party!
Express your feelings about the holidays by dancing to an energetic blend of hiphop, Latin dance beats, Top 40, and bass music in your ugly sweater.  
(Capitol Hill, free)

40. Three Fingers, Heck Yes, Boss Tanaka
Join local punk rockers Three Fingers for their second annual Christmas show, with more local support from Heck Yes and Boss Tanaka. 
(University District, $7)


41. Da 3rd Annual "UGLY SWEATER" Caribbean Party
DJs Qualifi, Veteran, and Y2K Sound will keep you dancing with a mix of dancehall, reggae, Afrobeat, soca, and hiphop. Wear a breathable ugly sweater if there is such a thing.   
(First Hill, $10)

42. Eat, Drink & Be Ugly
Celebrate National Ugly Sweater Day with bites, cocktails—liked aged eggnog and hot buttered scotch—and live Vinyl Church DJs. If your sweater is really, really hideous, you could win two free tickets to the Sparkle 2019 NYE Celebration
(Downtown, free)

43. It's Time To Get...UGLY
Want to sip holiday beverages and decorate holiday cookies for 10-percent-off your tab? Wear an ugly sweater.
(Pioneer Square, free admission)


44. An Evening With Ms. Claus
Sylvia O'Stayformore, one of the hardest-working and most venerable queens in town, will take the part of Santa's better half so you can get your picture with her, sing songs, and more.  
(Capitol Hill, free)


45. Beneath the Mistletoe: The Lesser-known Botany of Christmas
How did, holly, pine, and other fauna come to be associated with the holidays? Christmas foliage expert Orlando de Lange will let you in on everything you've ever wanted to know on the subject while you sip wintery cocktails. 
(Capitol Hill, $5)


46. Gift Hole
Want to do your December shopping for "artist made shit that doesn't immediately trigger existential dread or perpetuate the systematic malaise of big box stores and late stage capitalism"? Party Hat has you covered. Screen-print your own gift wrap and buy Brandon Vosika's custom-painted tote bags. 
(Pioneer Square, free)


47. Evening Beach Walk
Spend the winter solstice exploring a West Seattle beach during low tide with Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists. 
(West Seattle, free)



48. Holiday Market at Westlake Park
A trip downtown during the holidays beckons a visit to Urban Craft Uprising's annual market, where you'll find all sorts of handmade gifts throughout the season. Plus, hop on the Holiday Carousel while you still can. (Downtown, free)



Holiday Movie Afternoon - Elf!
Watch Will Ferrell eat gum off the sidewalk and inflict cheerful mayhem on his grinchy dad at this screening of Elf!.  
(Greenwood, free)

49. Monster Planet: 9.xmas That Kringling Feeling
Make the season weird with Monster Planet's live-mixed soundtrack to a montage of cheesy B-movies provided by Scarecrow Video and Killing Frenzy Visuals. Gel-Sol, Leave Trace, Brian Oblivion, and Don Keyoner will be your musical hosts. 
(Greenwood, free)


50. Darci Carlson’s Holiday Jamboree
Get in the country Christmas spirit with live sets from the Ohio Valley Boys, Darci Carlson Band, Wildcat Rose, Stoned Evergreen Travelers, and Santa Poco. 
(White Center, free)

51. The Dee Dees, Weirdons, Mud On My Bra
Tired of Christmas carols? Opt for this annual holiday rock show with locals the Dee Dees, Weirdons, and Mud On My Bra. 
(Georgetown, $5)

52. The Emo G's Presents: Emo Dance Party Before Xmas
This isn’t a phase, Mom—it’s a whole party! The Emo Gs are back at it for another night of emo classics by the likes of My Chemical Romance, the Used, Dashboard Confessional, Fall Out Boy, and more. My hair might be too short now to iron into flattened, fried perfection for a scene-queen-worthy MySpace profile pic (pc4pc, anyone?), but I’m looking forward to the sea of jet-black manicures at this shindig. For less than a tub of your favorite Manic Panic hair dye, come and dance (or cry, if you want to) the night away with all the other kids that your mom warned you about. SOPHIA STEPHENS 
(Ballard, $10)

53. A House Music Holiday Party
Welcome hometown boy Terry Jasinto back to Seattle for an evening of electronic mixes with support from Pappa T and Tokita.  
(Capitol Hill, $10)

54. LudaChristmas
Celebrate the reason for the season (getting drunk with your friends) by dancing all night to hiphop tracks straight from Hotlanta by artists like Ludacris, Outkast, T.I., Gucci Mane, Lil Jon, Migos, Childish Gambino, Jermaine Dupri, and more. 
(Capitol Hill, $5)

55. Lumbersexual Onesies-Union Suit-LongJohn Party with DJ Tank Top
Break in your holiday onesie or longjohns in the steamy company of hot go-go boys and DJ Tank Top. 
(Capitol Hill, $6/$8)

56. The Music of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Because the Royal Room does the music of Charlie Brown every year, I every year have to write this love poem to the core tune, "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)," of this masterpiece of American culture. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful pieces of jazz ever composed. Listening to it is like watching falling snow through a window. The room is warm, something is roasting in the oven, and outside, the flakes are falling faintly through the universe and upon the trees, the hedges, the water gutters, the telephone poles, and the rooftops of a thousand apartment buildings. This is where you want to be forever. This is Vince Guaraldi's "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)." It opens with a trembling bass, like someone coming out of the cold, stamping their feet, brushing the snow off their shoulders, hanging their winter coat, rubbing and blowing on numb fingers, and entering the living room where there is a window, watching the flakes falling faintly upon all the buildings and the living. CHARLES MUDEDE 
(Columbia City, $10)

57. Winter's Return 2018
Celebrate the holidays with William Pint and Felicia Dale of Music of the Sea as they play festive music with a hurdy-gurdy (a hand-cranked string instrument), a hammered dulcimer, a whistle, a violin, a recorder, a guitar, drums, a cistern, and other unusual instruments. 
(Greenwood, free)

58. X-Mas Party with Riffbrokers, Love and Fury, Value Ape
Celebrate Christmas a few days early with this collection of rowdy live sets by the Riffbrokers, Love and Fury, and Value Ape. 
(Georgetown, $7)


59. Lava Lava Distorted X Mas
Look your freakiest and take a photo with Deranged Drambuie Clause and his Handy Helper, Lil Socky. Then dance the night away to festive music by DJ Vodka Twist. Don't forget to grab your Secret Santa gift. 
(Belltown, free)

60. Leny’s Annual Ugly Sweater Party
Drink a glass of "firenog" in your ugly sweater and your party pants for a night of "debaucherous fun." 
(Green Lake, free)

61. Ugly Sweater Holiday Party
Win cash prizes for the ugliness of your sweater at this holiday bash and dance party with DJ 50 Spence.  
(White Center, free)

62. VUE Lounge Saturdays: Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
Enjoy a festive LED lighting display, a "custom flower wall" by which to take photos for your Instagram, craft cocktails, live DJs, and more at this ugly sweater party.  
(Belltown, free)


63. Mystery Drag Queen Theater 3000: Holiday Edition
In this series, the glamorous Betty Better, Demonia Creeper, Miss Kitty Franzia, and Old Witch riff on the best/worst B movies live on stage. For this holiday installment, watch as they heckle the 1987 trash horror gem Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. Plus, enjoy themed drink specials, drag performances, and pictures with Santa. 
(Downtown, $9)


64. Chop Suey Flea Market
Shop from dozens of local vendors selling everything from art to books to vintage goods while you drink booze, enjoy live music, and snap photos with Santa. 
(Capitol Hill, free)

65. Holiday Maker's Market
Shop from over a dozen independent vendors, artists, and small businesses, then stop by a gift wrapping station and make your own hot cocoa from a hot cocoa bar and create your own gift tags at a craft station. Your proceeds will support Coyote Central, who provide pay-what-you-can creative workshops for youth. 
(Downtown, free)

66. Soul Holiday Market
Africatown-Central District will host a local vendor market with food trucks, games, and live music from Zach Bruce and Omega. 
(Central District, free)

67. Winter Craft Fair at ALTSpace
Enjoy food and drinks (boozy and non-boozy), a live glassblowing display, a giant pirate ship filled with live DJs, caroling by the Jerk Church, and art shopping. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


68. Seattle Secular Solstice 2018
Regardless of your religion or lack thereof, celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with community members over songs and food at the annual Seattle Secular Solstice. 
(Sodo, donation)



69. Photos with Krampus - The Holiday Devil!
If you've already got enough photos with Santa for one year, take the opportunity to snap a selfie with Krampus, the demonic goat-like Christmas demon who haunts people during the Yuletide season. 
(Queen Anne, free)


70. Gingerbread Boy
At this confectionary musical theater show, kids can watch as Bill the Chill makes ice cream, Sweetie (a copper kettle) cooks up candy and chocolate confections, and Pepper Mint chases after the mischievous Gingerbread Boy through Candyland. 
(Sand Point, $10)


71. IllustrAFest
Northwest artists—primarily of the illustrative variety, but also featuring comic, anime, craft, and gaming artists—will show and sell their wares. 
(Chinatown-International District, free)



72. BadWill Market - The Holiday Edition
Make your last-minute holiday shopping less stressful by sipping cocktails, snacking, and listening to live music while you look for vintage apparel, handmade jewelry, beauty and grooming products, leather accessories, embroidered goods, house plants, and more. 
(Capitol Hill, free)

73. December Skylark Art Mart
Get your last-minute shopping done from local vendors. DJs FIX and Naughty Nice will provide the soundtrack. 
(West Seattle, free)

74. The Goods
Buy pieces by local artists and other vendors, including Ministry of Metal's Megan Fitzpatrick, Under the Needle Tattoos, Katie Wright, Cataclysmic Designs's Rob Lewis, and many others. A live DJ will keep your feet shuffling. 
(Belltown, free)



75. Holiday Cookie Night
Spend the night before Christmas decorating sugar cookies shaped like trees, snowpeople, and snowflakes. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


76. Free Admission at the Volunteer Park Conservatory
Thanks to a generous donation from the Bennett-Shear Family, the Volunteer Park Conservatory will waive its admission fee from Christmas Eve through the end of February. Visiting the lush plant-filled glass structure is a treat on any day of the year, but be sure to catch the Holiday Express Train and Poinsettia Display before it goes away on New Year's Day. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


77. 15th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant
Celebrate Christmas with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers at Blue Moon's annual pageant, with live sets from a varied Seattle crew (including Best Band From Earth, the Yule Loggers, Spank Williams & Friends, Snax, Nomi, and others) to sling holiday cheer your way. Even better, proceeds from the door go to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
(University District, $10)


78. 4th Annual Orphan's Christmas
All alone for the holidays? Let Populuxe take you in, with a potluck, live acoustic music, and a special beer selection "guaranteed to chase your humbug away." There'll also be raffles for free swag, like glasses, growlers, and T-shirts.
(Ballard, free)

79. Christmas Eve Holiday Party
Spend the night before Christmas drinking festive Plantation Rum drink specials and watching holiday movies.  
(Capitol Hill, free)



80. Hempfest Christmas Day Vigil
Hempfest will hold their 21st annual Christmas Day vigil outside the King County prison to promote drug policy reform and protest the War on Drugs. 
(Downtown, free)


81. I Hate X-Mas Karaoke: A Benefit for YouthCare
Christmas elf TV will host this night of karaoke in support of YouthCare, an organization that provides resources to LGBTQ+ youth.  
(Capitol Hill, free)

82. Miracle On Howell St with Riz and Friends
The legendary nightclub/theater venue Re-Bar will be just as magical and wish-granting as Santa Claus at this party inspired by the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street. Dance the night away to local DJs, including Reverend Doctor Riz Rollins, Kadeejah Streets, JENNGREEN, Bad Ginger, and Dane Gatfield Wilson. Dirty Santa will be played by Nicky Valentine. 
(Downtown, free)

83. Xmas Karaoke- Unsilent Night
Round out your Christmas Day festivities by belting karaoke and feasting on holiday Pupu platters.  
(Capitol Hill, free)