Video: Opening night for 2013 edition of West Seattle Lights / Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular

November 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm | In West Seattle Christmas lights, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

The song list for West Seattle’s biggest synched-to-music Christmas-lights show, West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, always includes fun as well as tradition – and our first clip from tonight’s lighting ceremony qualifies. It’s “What Does the Hawk Say?”, the Bob Rivers Show takeoff on Ylvis‘s international megahit “What Does the Fox Say?”

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before that and other light-show songs, tonight’s event began with caroling, and then the announcement of the name of the new “emcee” – “Sir Charles” the light-up snowman. Two people suggested “Charles” (as in Charlestown, the street the show is on) in the summertime naming contest, including Tim VanLiew, whose name was drawn by WSL creator Jim Winder for the honor of pushing the button tonight.

In that photo, Jim’s on the right, Tim’s on the left, holding his baby daughter Lucy, who helped with the button-pushing. The first song was sung live by Jim’s own daughter, Julie:

West Seattle Lights isn’t just a 32,673-light labor of love for family and friends – the Helmstetlers are the family who live in the house, and Jim is a longtime friend who makes the show happen every year – it’s also, with your help, a community fundraiser and foodraiser:

That’s the West Seattle Food Bank donation bin you’ll find out front; last year alone, more than half a ton of food was donated by WS Lights visitors. You can also donate money to the show’s designated charities, WS Food Bank and Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, on this page of the official website. It all goes to charity, Jim points out – the time and money it takes to put on the show is 100 percent donated.

See the schedule here; get directions here.


  1. Just to clarify the other finalist in the name draw was Melody Sarkies who submitted the name of ” Charlie Von Frost”

    Comment by Silly goose — 9:28 pm November 30, 2013 #

  2. Congratulations to Melody, too!

    Comment by WSB — 11:11 pm November 30, 2013 #

  3. Wow. Adding this to our list of activities for our first Christmas here in Seattle. Too bad the second video won’t play :(

    Comment by Breezy — 8:46 am December 1, 2013 #

  4. The link to view Julie sing just plays fuzz!

    Comment by Shannon B — 8:55 am December 1, 2013 #

  5. Julie’s first song clip isn’t playing, can’t find on your YouTube channel either!

    Comment by SKB — 9:06 am December 1, 2013 #

  6. Just added that one this morning. Played just fine when I put it up – will check …
    (added) Try again? Still working for me. BUT – YouTube has one of its maddening “warning, third-party content” alerts on it because of the song Julie sang, “blocked in some countries.” I’ll reload to Vimeo, which doesn’t have those problems. I’m all for copyright protection but YT goes overboard on some things … we’ve had trouble with such innocuous things as 5K kickoffs with pop music playing in the background as ambient sound … TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:07 am December 1, 2013 #

  7. Yep, just getting……ummmmmm……Snow on the second vid as well.



    Comment by miws — 10:04 am December 1, 2013 #

  8. Must be an ISP thing. Anyway, I have just substituted a Vimeo embed, same exact clip. I’d complain further about YT but … it’s free (as is Vimeo) … so anyway, on with the show.

    Comment by WSB — 10:09 am December 1, 2013 #

  9. Thank you so much for loading with Vimeo – I can play it now! Yes, YT had blocked it due to copyright, or so it said. And yes, this is an irritating thing they do and maddening :(

    Comment by Breezy — 11:00 am December 1, 2013 #

  10. We had so much fun last night singing with the trio, thanks H family!

    Comment by evergreen — 6:31 pm December 1, 2013 #

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