West Seattle, Washington
On this Christmas night, we stopped by West Seattle Lights (3908 SW Charlestown) with time to record just one song, whatever it turned out to be. It was the grand finale of the second set (see the schedule and song list here), “Wizards of Winter,” just before 6 pm. The show goes until midnight tonight. As you can tell from our video’s audio, the best way to listen while you watch is NOT necessarily just standing along the street; if you go via vehicle, listen on 101.9 FM.
West Seattle Lights is in its eighth season, so popular that a couple years ago, mastermind Jim Winder added a show in Maple Valley (where he lives – the show here is at the home of friends). It’s also become a fundraiser/foodraiser – bring a food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank, and/or donate online to the show’s chosen charities, WSFB and the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation (donated money all goes to them – the show itself is put on as a labor of love).
For more info on holiday light shows in West Seattle, see our Holiday Guide.
Thanks to Kristin for tonight’s Christmas-lights photo: She says this is on 34th SW between Othello and Webster – inflatable elf, and all!
1:40 AM: The photo is from Sofia, who explains a Seattle Fire call to the Menashe Family Lights on Beach Drive Friday night – trouble in the Nativity scene: “We were just looking at lights as usual, and noticed white fog coming from behind the Virgin Mary. I thought it was a fog machine, but then we realized it was a fire. Several of us called 911, someone knocked on the Menashes’ door and let them know, the neighbors got water. I guess the straw that was part of the stable scene caught fire.” We’ll be checking with the family later this morning to follow up.
12:06 PM: We just followed up with Jack Menashe. He says it was apparently a problem with old wiring in the manger display, and it’s being fixed, but tonight, the manger will instead be illuminated with a spotlight. Everything else is OK, so if you’re going for Christmas Eve, don’t worry, it’ll all be bright as ever.
More West Seattle Christmas lights! Thanks to Cindy Craig for two photos from one street near Fairmount Park: Both displays are on 40th Avenue SW between Dawson and Findlay; above, on the east side of the street; below, on the west side.
We will be showing more tomorrow and Sunday – Christmas Eve and Day – and maybe beyond if we have enough suggestions/photos – email@example.com. (Here’s our archive of what we’ve shown already.) Thank you!
As we continue showcasing West Seattle’s brightest neighborhood lights – thanks to Duane and Denise Davis for e-mailing to say their light-laden display is happening again this year at 4152 46th SW, just east of Genesee Hill. More than 14,000 lights – about two-thirds LEDs, with mini-incandescent lights “and 300 big C9 bulbs.” They’ll be up through January 15th, the Davises say. And you’ll see other lights in their neighborhood, to the north:
Got lights? Seen lights? firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
That 30-foot tree of lights is in the front yard of a house in east Gatewood, on the south side of SW Austin between 36th and 37th. Thanks to Brooke for the tip! (added) This is the “Bader Mega Tree,” as pointed out in comments, with a link to this video set to music:
(back to original report) While headed that way, we also spotted this lots-of-lights house a block away, on the south side of SW Ida between 36th and 37th:
Tips still welcome as we showcase lights nightly through Christmas – email@example.com – thanks! Scroll through this archive to see what we’ve featured already.
Jason Hoppe e-mailed us about his house on Genesee Hill early in the season, and now that we are showing lights every night, we finally went over for a photo. More than 10,000 lights! Corner of 52nd Avenue SW and SW Dakota.
Lights to suggest? firstname.lastname@example.org – and see the ones we’ve shown this year and previous seasons by going here.
ADDED: Thanks to Glenn for this view of Jason’s lights:
Tonight’s featured Christmas lights are in that video clip sent by Jonathan, who says, “My 9-year-old neighbor set up a whole impressive light setup to music, pretty much all by himself. It’s something to see, for sure. They don’t always have the music going, but when they do, it’s really cool.” You’ll find this house in the 3400 block of 41st Ave SW, between Hinds and (updated) Manning.
Let us know about your favorite lights! email@example.com – and see our archive here.
With Christmas just a week away, we’ll be featuring lights every night. This one is a bit out of the way, so we wouldn’t have spotted it without a friend’s tip – we’re not sure if it’s an optical illusion or an atrium, but it appears the Christmas tree at this house is through the roof! After getting the tip, we went out for a look a short time ago. It’s on the east side of the 9600 block of Fauntleroy Way SW, a few blocks south of the ferry dock. And the street dead-ends a few doors down, so don’t head out in a big vehicle that will be tough to turn around. Some of the other homes on the street are brightly lit too, but nothing quite this out-of-the-box … er, house. Seen something unusual in YOUR neighborhood? firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
It’s a cold but clear Saturday night, and nothing could be Christmas-ier for a big night of Santa photos at the Menashe Family Lights on Beach Drive. “Santa Al” is making his annual appearance there until 10 tonight, and a box marked with the West Seattle Food Bank logo awaits your donation of nonperishable food:
Some of Santa’s visitors were dressed almost as festively as he is – check out the McFarlande family:
You’ll find Santa under a canopy right along the sidewalk in front of the famous house, which is at 5605 Beach Drive SW.
That’s how tonight’s West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Tree Lighting ended – with the countdown and the switch-on. That’s how it ends pretty much every year. But the celebration preceding it is not always the same-old, same-old. This year brought a first-time emcee who lit up the stage more brightly than the tree – self-described “7-foot-4 drag queen” Dolly Madison:
Dolly debuted with a show-stopping lip-synch of “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which you’ll see in our next clip, after a short introduction by West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Swift, followed by the Endolyne Children’s Choir and featured speaker Nancy Woodland of WestSide Baby:
You can help WS Baby assist local families by being part of this holiday season’s JOY campaign. Meanwhile, the tree-lighting celebration featured even more music – the West Seattle High School Marching Band took the stage at the start:
The WSHS musicians also performed a lively streetcorner set as the crowd dispersed. Also featured, cast members from “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the current production at ArtsWest:
Aside from a few waves of light rain, the weather was reasonable (anyone remember the sub-freezing chill in 2013?), and the hundreds of tree-lighting-goers were still enthused by the time local entrepreneur Jack Menashe and his grandchildren ceremonially lit the tree around 5:30. That’s at the end of this next clip, which begins with jazzy duo Sundae + Mr. Goessl, and includes more of Dolly too:
Also new this year, along with emcee Dolly – who performs weekly at OutWest Bar – was a Night Market featuring local vendors in the street next to Junction Plaza Park (here’s our report on that). More photos to come. Meantime, this is just the start of Hometown Holidays (co-sponsored by WSB), with a long lineup of events you can see here (and in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide).
West Seattle’s brightest Christmas lights, at the Menashe Family house (5605 Beach Drive SW), are going up right now, and got a boost today from the Junction-based crew of the Seattle Fire Department‘s Ladder 11.
Talk about a tree topper!
The big star that goes atop an ever-taller evergreen went up with the help of L11’s firefighters, much to the delight of onlookers of all ages. The Menashes tell us they’re planning to have the full display up by Thursday night (December 1st).
Santa Claus will be visiting again this year too – on Saturday, December 17th, bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank and take your photo with Santa under the lights, 6 pm-10 pm.
The first West Seattle Christmas-lights photo of the season might just be the funniest, even before we see what else is out there. The house on the right is where Dawnelle lives, toward the south end of Seola Beach Drive:
We brought all the guests outside, the neighbors too, and we did the drumroll noise and plugged it in. It was awesome fun!
This season, we would love to showcase lots of lights – send a photo of what you see, plus the location (or if you don’t have a pic, at least tell us where!) – email@example.com – thanks!
Rain or shine, the show must go on, and Thanksgiving night, it will do just that at 3908 SW Charlestown, home of West Seattle Lights. We stopped by late today to say hi to Jim Winder, programming a synchronized holiday-lights-and-music show for the eighth year at his friends’ house across from the water tower. Jim was doing a bit of last-minute troubleshooting but says it’s all set to go for the first night, 7-10 pm Thursday. Again this year, West Seattle Lights invites donations to the West Seattle Food Bank (you can bring nonperishable food to drop in the bin out front, too) and Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation – none of the donations go toward the show, just directly to those organizations. The WSL website hasn’t yet been updated for this year (the lights come first, and Jim does a show in Maple Valley too) but the schedule is the same one you’ll find on this page, after the special 7 pm-10 pm hours Thanksgiving night.
We’ve been looking, and asking, but haven’t come up with much of a list of must-see Christmas-lights displays this year. One theory: With so few breaks in the rain earlier this month, some people missed the usual windows for putting up lights. But we’re still looking – and last night we happened onto a stretch to add to the (short) list in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide: 30th SW between Roxbury and Barton has a lot of spirit, including the home in our photo above. If you have any recommendations – either a spirited street, or a particular house – please comment here or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Especially in the next few nights ahead before Christmas Eve, looking at lights is a long-held tradition, and we’re always happy to help, so we’ll add whatever turns up. Thanks!
Get your shoes on, get your bells on, get your personal string of lights on, and join the annual Christmas Lights Run with West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor). Meet at the shop, 2743 California SW – remember, WSR has moved since last year! – at 6 pm Sunday. WSR co-proprietor Lori McConnell shared the route map (above), “in case any neighbors want to carol us as we run by, make sure they have their lights on, or leave cookies for our reindeer (me and Tim).” As further explained in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide:
We will run about a 3-mile loop of easy running and walking to view the lights in West Seattle. We do stop at the Helmstetler Light Show, so please bring a canned food item if you can for their food drive. We welcome elves, Santas, reindeer, and any costume you can think of!! Wear your battery-operated Christmas lights (or any other reflective gear or lamps you have to see and be seen). Post run, we will have cookies and cocoa and cider. This is simply a social, festive group run … not a good fit for those looking for a race. We can’t wait!
The week and a half before Christmas is prime time for light-lovers – and we are glad to have new views of the Davis family display at 46th SW & SW Genesee [map]. Duane Davis explains, “These were taken from the balconies of the new house across the street (approx. 15 ft – 40 ft above the sidewalk). There are over 6,000 LED and 4,000 incandescent light in my bushes, trees, and on the house. Our neighbors have joined in the festivities, making the drive between Genesee and Dakota very nice with lots of lights.” We’re adding this to the Christmas-lights section of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, and would be happy to add more – do you have a dazzling display to share, whether it’s yours or somebody else’s? We’d love photos but will also welcome simple address/neighborhood info so we can go out and photograph it ourselves – email@example.com or text to 2062936302 – thanks!
It’s a dark and foggy night – except in the 5600 block of Beach Drive SW, where the Menashe Family Christmas Lights are officially on, shining bright, with visitors already flocking to see them. “How many lights do you have?” one person asked Josh Menashe; no official count, he cheerily replied.
Here’s what’s new: He and the rest of the crew were working on the finishing touches of an electric train and village you’ll see on the north side of the yard:
Along the sidewalk, you’ll see these candy-cane streetlight-style fixtures:
Santa’s balloon is new:
As bright and colorful as photos can be, you’ll just have to go see it for yourself.
(Hover over video window to bring up “play” button)
You can bring a letter for Santa, too.
And Santa himself will in fact be here the night of Saturday, December 12th, 6 to 10 pm, as listed in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank and get a photo with Santa under the lights.
Haven’t been? Here’s a map.
West Seattle’s newer music-synched light show has started its season too: This is the third year for West Seattle Yuletide, presented by the Iversons, midblock on the east side of 38th SW between Genesee and Dakota. We stopped by tonight for a bit of video – apropos to another clear night, we caught “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
The hit movie’s sisters Anna and Elsa even appear alongside your host Olaf the snowman on the south side of the yard. While you can hear the songs if you’re standing in front of the house, they’re also broadcast on short-range 101.9 FM. The schedule’s here.
West Seattle Lights, aka the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, is back! Tonight’s the second night of the seventh season for the music-synched light show at 3908 SW Charlestown, right across the street from the water tower. For the best view, stand on the walkway around the tower:
Or, you can admire the lights and music up close:
(If you’re in a car, you can listen to the soundtrack at 101.9 FM.) It’s not just entertainment – it’s also a benefit for nonprofits – bring a nonperishable food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank and drop it in the bin right in front of the house, and/or donate to WSFB and the NW Parkinson’s Foundation by going here. Your host, Sir Charles the snowman, will thank you:
(And so will light-show creator Jim Winder, who now runs one in Maple Valley as well as this one in West Seattle, as you’ll see on the website.) The show continues nightly through New Year’s – find nightly schedules and other info by going here.
The season of light is about to begin, and nowhere in West Seattle does it shine more brightly than in the 5600 block of Beach Drive SW, where the famous Menashe Family Christmas Lights display is going up.
After seeing the work in progress, we stopped briefly late this afternoon to find out when the lights officially go on. Josh Menashe told us this Sunday (November 29th) is the night.
The box where you can drop off letters to Santa, as you can see, is back – and you’ll find Santa himself visiting on Saturday night, December 12th, 6-10 pm – bring a nonperishable food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank.
P.S. This is featured in our West Seattle Holiday Guide along with our area’s two synched-to-music light shows.
(Jim’s video of one of this year’s new songs, which you’ll likely recognize)
A little over a week since this year’s West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular music-synched shows came to a close, and we’ve just heard from show designer/mastermind Jim Winder, with the final word on this year’s donations made by showgoers/fans – all of which goes to charities; Jim has the impressive five-year tallies too:
West Seattle Food Bank
1,050 lbs of Dried Foods
5,600 lbs of Dried Foods
Northwest Parkinson Foundation
Grand Totals – Including Brian Teachout ($500), Dr. Kingston ($1200) and Pushing Boundaries ($391)
So a BIG THANKS to the people of West Seattle and Maple Valley that made it all possible and VERY worthwhile!!
Jim Winder and Debi Selix, The Helmstetlers, and West Seattle Lights
(Double-take on “Maple Valley”? Jim added a show there for the 2014 holidays.
For Christmas Eve, we stopped by two more light displays – the peace sign and candy canes (above and below) are at 2707 48th SW (thanks to Lemon for the tip):
Last but not least, Santa and his flamingos can be seen in a festive Westwood yard at 31st/Thistle:
We’re adding them to the short list of Christmas-lights highlights (sorry, we’ll get back to mapmaking next year!) in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.