Your Guide to 2023 Holiday Events in Seattle

The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, Christmas Ship Parade of Boats, and More
November 22, 2023
Beloved Pacific Northwest drag queens Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme are back with The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show. (Jiji Lee)
In the words of Mariah Carey, patron saint of holiday cheer, “Are you ready to be festive?!” Well, are you? If so, this list of time-honored Seattle traditions and newfangled winter events should put a twinkle in your eye. (And if you’re not feeling festive, check it out anyway—you might actually find a reason to be merry.) We’ve compiled the best in cozy, delight-bringin’ events below, including The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, Matt Rogers: Have You Heard of Christmas, the Christmas Ship Parade of Boats, and more, plus a sprinkling of New Year’s Eve happenings. (Moulin Rouge! Sing-Along, anyone?)


A Very Die Hard Christmas
Past Event List "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs." Or you could head to this Die Hard musical parody, which blends the action classic with pure comedy (plus smooth jams and '80s style) for a snarky twist on the Christmas spirit. Yippee ki-yay, am I right!? Sketch writers from the Habit have teamed up with Seattle Public Theater for the production, confirming that no holiday season is complete without a few pesky German terrorists. LC
Seattle Public Theater, Green Lake (Wed-Sun, from Nov 22–Dec 23)

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker Past Event List
It's The Nutcracker—you already know the premise, but it never really gets old, does it? Tchaikovsky’s magical score will spring to life again in this Sugarplum-packed rendition of the longstanding holiday tradition, complete with mice, tin soldiers, and a timeless trip to the Land of Sweets. Let's say you're all Nutcrackered out, though. Here are some little-known facts that might entice you: The production's eight Polichinelle costumes are decked out with 640 black pom-poms, and there are 154 costumes in the show, not counting duplicates. The scenery is made up of 3,000 square yards of fabric, and 98 yards of faux fur were used to create the mice. (Personally, there's nothing like 98 yards of faux fur to get me into the holiday spirit.) LC
McCaw Hall, Uptown (Nov 24–Dec 27)

A John Waters Christmas
Past Event List John Waters, who shall henceforth be known as the "anti-Santa," will glide his perverse sleigh into Seattle for some Christmas twistedness and holiday jeers. He might stomp on your perfectly wrapped presents, but this evening with the cult filmmaker seems promising for those on the holiday-averse end of the spectrum. If you've been naughty this year, Waters encourages you to lean into it—he'll pull "celebrity blow-up dolls," "yuletide diseases with booster shots that actually get you high," and "kindergarten detention drag shows in Florida" out of his big red sack. LC
Neptune Theatre, University District (Nov 28 and Dec 2)

Scott Shoemaker's War on Christmas
Past Event List Scott Shoemaker (aka Ms. Pak-Man) will lead a gaggle of Seattle's most Yuletide-lovin' burlesque, music, and comedy stars in this subversive celebration of Christmas. Expect song and dance, utter hilarity, and partial nudity from this cast of cheery queerdos. LC
Theatre Off Jackson, Chinatown-International District (Fri Dec 1)

The Dina Martina Christmas Show
Past Event List Seattle's own "Second Lady of Entertainment" will return to the stage with some Christmassy razzle-dazzle this month. Alongside Stranger Genius award-winning composer and musician Chris Jeffries, Dina Martina will deliver the surreal comedy and festive tunes for which she's been known and loved for over 25 years. Her show was described by former Stranger editor Chase Burns as "cozy but disorienting," and John Waters calls her act "some new kind of twisted art,” so buckle in for a holiday fever dream. LC
ACT Theatre, Downtown (Dec 8–24)

Astra Lumina: A Night Walk Amongst the Stars
Past Event List Los Angeles-born light experience Astra Lumina will illuminate the Seattle Chinese Garden all month long, transforming the botanical space into a "wonder of visiting stars" with projections, lighting, music, and "astral energy." OoOoO! Bundle up to stroll down the celestial pathway; you're promised to encounter "cosmic visions and astral song." (You may also want to pop an edible first.) I think it'd be the perfect way to celebrate New Year's Eve—lock your resolutions into place with a fake shooting star or 20. LC
Seattle Chinese Garden, Riverview (Dec 8–31)

Black Nativity
Past Event List Written by innovative playwright, poet, and social activist Langston Hughes, Black Nativity first premiered in 1961 and was one of the first off-Broadway plays composed by an African American person. Presented in partnership with the Hansberry Project, this interpretation of the gospel play features "actors, dancers, soaring vocalists, and a rousing city-wide gospel choir," who come together for nativity storytelling, dance, and traditional Christmas carols with brand-new songs. The production also offers opportunities for audience sing-alongs, so prep your vocal chords before the show. LC
Broadway Performance Hall, Capitol Hill (Tues-Sat, from Dec 12-30)

The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show
Past Event List Jinkx Monsoon, the "internationally tolerated Jewish narcoleptic drag queen," and BenDeLaCreme, the sugary sweet RuPaul's Drag Race icon, will bring their unique blend of bubbly effervescence and quirky realness to the stage for this holiday dragstravaganza. The pair plan to show off their sleigh and share why they're the true queens of Christmas cheer, which already seems undebatable. The show will return to town after a wildly successful run last year; expect brand-new songs and a healthy dash of spectacle, plus "adult themes and language.” LC
Moore Theatre, Belltown (Dec 21–24)

Moulin Rouge! New Year’s Eve Sing-Along Past Event List
"Rooooooxannnne!" Belt it out to Baz Luhrmann's feverish, theatrical love story Moulin Rouge! at this New Year's Eve screening and sing-along, which promises free "bling rings." Best part? The show ends in time to shamble over to the Space Needle and catch the New Year's fireworks spectacle. LC
SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown (Sun Dec 31)


The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
Past Event List Much like the traditional Christmas treat known as figgy pudding, caroling is a whimsical old-time image of the holiday season that seems to fade little by little, year by year—and that's why I am declaring this December, Little Women Winter. That's right, I'm talking bonnets, handwritten letters, Christmas trees lit with real candles (that's safe, right?), boiled puddings, communal singing, and helping your neighbors à la 19th-century coming-of-age novel. Summon your inner March sister at the 37th annual Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, which unites thousands of carolers (and timid bystanders) to sing holiday ditties in support of the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank. The top caroling teams will end the night with a very festive "sing-off" on the Figgy Pudding main stage. Velvet capes, top hats, and fur muffs are highly encouraged (by me). AV
Pike Place Market (Fri Dec 1)

Seattle Men's Chorus Presents: Past Event List A TREEmendous Holiday
Past Event List The Seattle Men's Chorus will make the yuletide gay with a festive, fun-filled performance that proclaims to be the Pacific Northwest’s "gayest sing-a-long." The chorus will perform dazzling carols of the season, such as revamped takes on "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Festival Gloria," "Here We Come A-Caroling," and many more. Look forward to snazzy tree costumes, sensational singing, humorous dancing, and plenty of holiday cheer. Plus, while all the performances are family-friendly, this year's lineup will include an abbreviated and interactive show specifically for little ones with short attention spans. AV
Benaroya Hall, Downtown (Dec 1–23)

Matt Rogers: Have You Heard of Christmas
Past Event List I am a regular listener of the Las Culturistas podcast—a "Reader" to be exact (IYKYK)—so, the fact that America's sweetheart Matt Rogers is coming to town feels like a true Christmas miracle. If you know anything about his podcast with Bowen Yang, then you know that Rogers loves many things, including indie pop sapphics MUNA and Christmastime—so it only makes sense that his debut album, Have You Heard of Christmas, is dedicated to the holiday season (and features a song with MUNA). He will perform many mirthful songs from the album like "Hottest Female Up in Whoville" along with tender yuletide ballads like "I Don't Need It to Be Christmas at All." AV
Moore Theatre, Belltown (Tues Dec 19)

An Evening With David Benoit: Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown featuring Courtney Fortune
Past Event List When the winter blues cover the windows of my mind in heaps of snow, there is one thing that can shovel me out: Vince Guaraldi's score to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Similarly to the way a string of Christmas lights can transform a cold, dark city street into a twinkling cinematic setting, the opening piano chords to "O Tannenbaum" can instantly uncover the fruits of the season; evoking flannel PJs and hot cocoa (with big squishy marshmallows). And, when I hear the Children's choir coo "Christmas Time Is Here" it truly makes me believe that there is "beauty everywhere." Unfortunately, Guaraldi died nearly 50 years ago, but there are plenty of saints carrying on his legacy. Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist David Benoit, who is best known as the musical director of the 2015 Peanuts Movie, will return to Jazz Alley with vocalist Courtney Fortune for a tribute to Guaraldi's beloved score. AV
Jazz Alley, Belltown (Dec 21–23)

ELF in Concert Past Event List
Earlier this year on November 1—while recovering from a caramel apple lollipop coma—I pulled up the Max app to turn on some trashy reality TV. What I saw next stunned me. Will Ferrel's 2003 holiday comedy Elf was already #1 on the trending tab. I examined my Halloween decorations in confusion before remembering just how seriously people take this movie. Even as someone who isn't obsessed with the film, I've seen it approximately a million times (and I bet you have, too). The movie has everything: comedy, fantasy, romance, and even drama. And, even though it's a movie about a human man who is raised by elves, the most unrealistic part is that Will Ferrell would pull Zooey Deschanel. This holiday season, share your affinity for elf culture by experiencing the film like never before every note of John Debney's score is played live to picture. AV
McCaw Hall, Uptown (Fri Dec 29)

New Year's Eve with Kenny G
Past Event List Seattle's curly-haired son (and Franklin High graduate) Kenny G will return for a New Year's Eve celebration, ringing in 2024 with his sexy—and saxy—smooth jazz that has managed to stay consistently popular since 1986. Brush up on your knowledge of the hometown hero by watching Penny Lane’s critically acclaimed HBO documentary, Listening to Kenny G, which takes a look at the backlash he's faced from the jazz world. AV
Jazz Alley, Belltown (Sun Dec 31)

Artist Home’s 10th Annual New Year's Eve
Past Event List For the 10th year running, the Seattle-based talent-buying, event-promoting, and artist-consulting collective Artist Home will host a New Year's Eve bash featuring artists with whom they've worked. Dance your way into 2024 to holiday-appropriate covers from Seattle musicians and members of bands including Smokey Brights, Naked Giants, Parisalexa, Shaina Shepherd, La Fonda, Rat Queen, Tea Cozies, Adra Boo, and many others. AV
Tractor Tavern, Ballard (Sun Dec 31)


WildLanterns 2023
Past Event List Grab some hot cocoa and get cozy with your friends, family, or Hinge date at this wintertime immersive experience full of giant glowing animal and nature scape lanterns, each representing flora and fauna from around the globe. Kids and those of us who are kids at heart will enjoy a magical snowy world in a polar regions exhibit, and marvel at brilliantly lit parrots and toucans in the Fine Feathered Friends zone. Arachnophobes might want to skip the Bugs and Blooms display, where vibrant flowers and giant spiders line your path (though we bet they won't bite). Let your imagination run wild in the Fantastical Folklore Realm as you search for mythical beasts from the white dragon to a pegasus. SL
Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney Ridge (Through Jan 14)

Past Event List Every holiday season, the Seattle Center transforms into Winterfest, where visitors will find seasonal decor, live performances on the weekends, and of course, the beloved miniature winter train and village. For the first time this year, we're getting a European-inspired outdoor Christmas market Past Event List offering gifts from local and international vendors as well as tasty treats like glühwein and bratwurst. Winterfest opens on Friday, November 24, with kick-off celebrations including ice sculpture carving, roving carolers, s'mores, fire pits, and more. SL
Seattle Center, Uptown (Nov 24–Dec 31)

Christmas Ship Parade of Boats
Past Event List The waters around Seattle will get a little more sparkly this season as Argosy Cruises' Christmas Ship leads a parade of holiday cheer. You can grab a spot on the lead boat, deck out your own boat in lights and follow along in the water, or, if you’re boatless like me, stake out one of the many excellent shoreside viewpoints. The parade will gather in Lake Union and head westward through the Fremont Cut, where you can find a free viewing party at Evanston Plaza. SL
Lake Union (Fri Dec 8)

Past Event List In the words of former Stranger staff writer Matt Baume, "I do not necessarily endorse this event, but I feel that you should be warned that it is happening again." Happening across two weekends, SantaCon claims to be "much more than a pub crawl" and features drink specials, contests, and live entertainment for the hundreds of folks decked out in Santa Claus costumes looking for a drink (or several). My favorite thing is the bars that put out 🚫🎅🏻 signs in an effort to ward away the sometimes-too-jolly red elves. SL
Various locations, Downtown (Dec 9 and 16)

United Indians Native Art Market
Past Event List Put your money where your land acknowledgment is and support the Indigenous community at this market featuring goods from local Native artists. You can find gifts from a wide range of styles and tribes, including clothing, jewelry, woodworking, drums, art prints, and more. Already finished with your holiday shopping? That's fine, these high-quality creations will be in style all year round. SL
Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, Magnolia (Dec 15–17

New Year's Eve at the Needle
Past Event List Nothing says 2024 like a drone show. This year's New Year's celebration at the Space Needle will feature flying robots lighting the sky in impressively eerie synchronization (if you missed the All-Star Game drone show earlier this year, we can assure you it's really quite cool). Don't fret, pyro-purists, the drone show is just counting down to the fireworks at midnight, so you'll still get your fiery air and big booms. Party in person at Seattle Center or tune in live on KING 5. SL
Space Needle, Uptown (Sun Dec 31)

2024 NHL Winter Classic
Past Event List You've seen baseball at T-Mobile Park, and maybe even a concert, but what about hockey? In just their third season, the Seattle Kraken has been chosen to host the NHL Winter Classic, an outdoor hockey game that only happens in one city each year around New Year's Day. In a battle of the youngest teams in the NHL, the Kraken will face the Vegas Golden Knights in what's sure to be an action-packed and chilly game; we expect T-Mobile to have plenty of cozy concessions and overpriced merch to keep you warm. SL
T-Mobile Park, SoDo (Mon Jan 1)


Miracle on Second
Past Event List In 2014, New York bar owner Greg Boehm temporarily transformed his space into a kitschy Christmas wonderland replete with gewgaws and tchotchkes galore. Now the pop-up has expanded to more than 100 locations all over the world and will be returning to Belltown’s Rob Roy this year. Beverages are housed in tacky-tastic vessels (a drinking mug resembling Santa’s mug, for example), bedecked with fanciful garnishes like peppers and dried pineapple, and christened with irreverent, pop-culture-referencing names like the “Bad Santa,” the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r,” and the “You’ll Shoot Your Rye Out.” JB
Rob Roy, Belltown (Through Dec 25)

Seattle Holiday Drink Week
Past Event List 'Tis the season for warming wintry libations, from mulled wine to spiked cocoa. Ready to get your nog on? The Stranger and EverOut have you covered with our Holiday Drink Week, a new annual tradition that debuted last year. For one week only, you'll find a variety of exclusive holiday-themed drink specials at participating bars and restaurants around town. Why not round up some friends, bundle up in your coziest attire, and head out on a self-guided booze tour? One thing's for certain: these won't be your ordinary cups of cheer. JB
Various locations (Dec 4–10)

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