Tonight’s spotlighted Christmas lights are the ones that catch your eye just off the southwest (Fauntleroy Way) end of the West Seattle Bridge. In fact, they are on the east end of Fauntleroy Way itself, which runs a few blocks along the bridge in frontage-road style, in the 4000 block (map). Jodi lives there and also tipped us about her family’s twinkling display back in 2007. Since our photo is a wide look at the entire house, it doesn’t do justice to some of the close-up sights – you just have to go take a walk down the block; Jodi says, “We love it when families bring their kids and get out of their cars and walk around; we can always hear little voices talking about all the animals.” We’ve added her home to the list of featured lights on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page, and we renew our invitation to let us know about any must-see display, yours OR someone else’s!
ADDED 1:33 AM: Finally made a map with the lights we’ve featured so far (including the two ceremonially lit trees). We’ll keep adding at least through Christmas!
View West Seattle Christmas lights, 2011 in a larger map
You’ll also find this map on the Holidays page.
Every night we’re featuring at least one West Seattle Christmas lights display – and here’s the one in tonight’s spotlight: You can’t miss this house if you are anywhere near PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) or the west side of West Seattle High School – it’s on SW Stevens at 45th, and it’s lit in the colors of candy canes, red and white. (We recall this home being decked out for Halloween, too.) Here’s a map; our lights list is on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page, and we’d love to hear from you if you have, or have seen, a great display.
Thanks to the person who called us with a tip about this display – it’s not far from the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, we were told. Indeed, that entire neighborhood features several fine light displays, and we’ll be back to scout. This one is in the 3700 block of 40th SW [map]. In case you’re just catching up … we’re showcasing at least one brightly lit home every night, and adding to the list on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page; if you have a suggestion, please let us know!
We’re spotlighting decorated homes (or apartments/condos/businesses/etc. if you have any tips to share!) every night this holiday season. Tonight, it’s not the lights at this house so much as the old-school Santa, reindeer, and sleigh in the front yard. Not inflatable, not plastic, something sturdier. We just spotted this while driving around so we don’t know whose home it is, but it’s worth a visit, on 39th north of Andover (map). We’re listing all the spotlighted displays in the “Christmas Lights” section of the WSB West Seattle Holidays page, and while we’re going out scouting, we also welcome suggestions – we can certainly feature more than one per night!
Holiday scenes to share tonight:
First, our nightly featured Christmas lights – these are on 50th north of Hudson/south of Edmunds (map); we were out scouting last night and spotted them. We’ve added them to the ongoing list on the WSB West Seattle Holiday Events and Info page, where we’ll have a map soon with all the featured locations; let us know if you have a suggestion! Also tonight, seen in The Junction:
Tipster Joe says this scene on Puerto Vallarta‘s window is so fresh, the Sign Savant crew was still painting the one next to it:
(Last year, we showed you “Santa Extremoso” gracing the same windows.)
We’re featuring at least one light display a night – and tonight is thanks to suggestions on Twitter and Facebook. It’s at 41st/Concord in Fauntlee Hills (map), a neighborhood where you’ll find more than a few other lavishly lit homes. We’re adding it to the list on the WSB Holidays page; got someplace to suggest light-lovers look? Share the location – thanks!
Did you take advantage of the dry, clear day to put up lights? A LOT of lights? The Burns Family at 3216 SW 114th has 20,000 lights up and invites you to come have a look – they shared the photo along with that invitation. “We have been decorating our home for about 20 years starting with a few strings of lights in 1991,” they explain. Here’s a map to the area; the lights are on 5-10 pm nightly through New Year’s Eve. If *you* have a whole lot of lights – or know someone/someplace that does – we’d love to feature them again this year, and will add them to the “Christmas Lights” section on the WSB West Seattle Holiday Events and Info page too; e-mail email@example.com (photo not mandatory, we can come take one if need be!).
Another holiday scene to share in addition to all the others we’ve photographed/reported on this weekend:
This weekend, CAPERS in The Junction not only had its annual Holiday Open House, the shop also played host, as promised, to the popular Santa Claus who used to have Westwood at the top of his list, so to speak. He was there for “DIY photos” – you bring your camera – the past two afternoons; above, he posed today with Frances and Teagan. He’ll be back at CAPERS 3-7 pm next Friday and 1-5 pm next Saturday and Sunday (next Sunday, December 11th, is a huge day for CAPERS because they’re also hosting Caspar Babypants at 11 am!). And he’s planning a Holy Rosary visit 9 am-noon next Saturday (December 10th). Of course, Santa is everywhere; the West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays charity-fundraiser Santa photos were a hit today too, with quite the line when we visited for our first pic.
It’s been a work in progress for days (here’s our report from last Monday), and finishing touches were happening up till the last moment – but as of just before 6 pm, the Menashe Family‘s famous Christmas-light display in the 5600 block of Beach Drive SW is shining bright. As you’ll hear – or not hear! – in our video, there was no countdown, no fanfare, just the pulling of the switch – and on they went. Here’s a closer look at the lights in HD:
(Two years ago, a cable TV crew filmed the lighting for “Invasion of the Christmas Lights 2,” which premiered on TLC last year and will be rerun this Saturday.)
In the back yard of the Menashe Family home on Beach Drive SW, the familiar Christmas characters were ready this afternoon to march (or be marched) into their places out front. A rain-free day meant prime time for serious work on West Seattle’s most famous Christmas lights-and-more display:
Family and friends worked on decking the house, with ladders and the customary cherry-picker:
It’s the most festive work zone in West Seattle:
… with just about every Christmas character imaginable:
There’s a new feature this year – this big star:
Josh Menashe tells WSB that if all goes as planned, they will officially turn on the lights at 5 pm this Thursday (December 1st). There’s no cross-street near where they are, so this map is the best way to find them. P.S. The cable TV show that debuted last year featuring the Menashe Family display, “Invasion of the Christmas Lights 2,” will be shown again on TLC this season – it’s currently scheduled for this Saturday, December 3rd.
After tonight’s first show at what you can formally call “West Seattle Lights presents the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular,” that’s how the house looked with every light switched on. About 40 minutes early, the music-synched light show’s third season had kicked off – literally, with Seattle Sounders FC‘s Zach Scott kicking a goal instead of pulling a switch (followed by an appropriate, albeit non-Christmasy, song):
He signed autographs afterward:
But wait! Back to the lights. 60,000 of them this year – LEDs, which means not as much of an electricity drain as you might think. Jim Winder is again the mastermind, working on it for months before the actual lights start going up on the 3908 SW Charlestown home of his friends the Helmstetler Family. We stayed through the whole set tonight – enjoying songs both traditional and novelty, the latter including a Village People takeoff (“N-O-E-L” instead of “Y-M-C-A”) and this ’60s classic:
Full details about the show, the location, and more, are on its official website at westseattlelights.com. (This year they have a Facebook page and Twitter feed, too!) Bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank - the bin’s out front (as shown in our preview from last weekend) – and this weekend, they’re also collecting money for the Kingston Family ($ donations the rest of the season will go to the food bank and NW Parkinson’s Foundation) . Best place to watch the show is right across Charlestown in front of the water tower, but if you bring little ones, be sure to remind them to stay out of the street – it’s not blocked off for the show, and there can be a fair amount of traffic (as you’ll note in our clips). Here’s the schedule.
On a cold, cloudy Sunday afternoon, what better place to be than … up on the roof. Jim Winder, mastermind of the Helmstetler Family Spectacular synchronized light show atop his friends’ home across from the Charlestown water tower, was hard at work continuing to put up features when we stopped by. It’s the kind of light show that manages to look impressive even unlit, in daylight:
This year more than 60,000 lights will flash and dance atop, on the sides of, in front of, etc., the house, including high-rise features he was still working on this afternoon:
If you haven’t seen this show the past two years (WSB 2009 coverage is here, 2010 coverage here) – you can get an idea from the videos on the site Jim has set up, westseattlelights.com (here’s the page of 2010 songs, just for starters). One thing you’re going to want to look closely for when you stop by – the new West Seattle Food Bank donation bin out front:
They’re also collecting cash donations – the first weekend, everything will go to the family of Ed Kingston, the volunteer soccer coach who died suddenly last month after suffering a heart attack while coaching his son’s team. They’ll be collecting through the season for the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, too. 7 pm Saturday night (November 26th), the lights go on! Lots more info here.
More help for the family of Brian Teachout: The day after 30 ornaments made by West Seattle glass artist Brad Burzynski sold out in less than an hour for almost $1,100 in donations, results are in from the weekend’s other donation drive. Here’s the report from Jim Winder from the Helmstetler Family Spectacular music-synched-lights show (our clip above is what we shot on “opening night” Nov. 27; Jim’s videos for this year aren’t up yet):
This weekend the attendance at the light show was just AMZING!! I apologize for those stuck in the traffic jams!! lol
And those who came to watch were also even MORE amazing with their generosity for the Teachout family…donating $462!!So I will be dropping off $500 in cash to the Wells Fargo Bank in the next few days.
Thanks again to the great folks of West Seattle that make this one of the best communities in the Seattle area!!!
Jim e-mailed shortly afterward with a postscript:
And I wanted to thank Brad Burzynski … he stopped by and watched the lights and presented the Helmstetlers with one of his glass ornaments for helping out the Teachouts…
Donations for the Teachout Family Fund are still being accepted at any Wells Fargo Bank. (P.S. The schedule for the Helmstetler/Winder lights, at 3908 SW Charlestown across from the water tower, is on their website at westseattlelights.com.)
The Menashe Family promised their famous display in the 5600 block of Beach Drive (map) would be on tonight – and on, it is. Here’s a look in HD video:
Tomorrow’s the night you’ll see them featured on a nationally broadcast TLC special (9 pm Saturday, “Invasion of the Christmas Lights 2“).
Not only is their national-TV appearance coming up on Saturday, as reported here yesterday morning, but West Seattle’s Menashe Family also got a regional-TV spotlight this morning on KING 5′s “New Day Northwest.” The clip above includes anchor Margaret Larson‘s on-set interview with Jack and Josh Menashe, plus a comment from Linda Menashe (seated between Joanna and Jack Jr.) in the audience. Afterward, they were back at work on the display, so we stopped by to ask when they’re planning to turn it on – Josh told us it’ll be this Friday night.
Work has begun on this year’s edition of West Seattle’s biggest, brightest Christmas lights — the Menashe Family display in the 5600 block of Beach Drive. We stopped by Sunday afternoon, as the front yard bustled with family and friends (plus the cherry picker), while the back yard held more components of the famous light show:
Inside, Linda Menashe showed us the photo postcard created to share the news of the display’s upcoming TV showcase. You might remember that last year, The Learning Channel sent a crew to document both the decorating, and the official switching-on of the show; here’s our video of one take, as family and friends loudly cheered the throwing of the switch:
Again, that was DECEMBER 2009 – the lights for this year are NOT on yet. As we reported a year ago, they said it would be part of a TV program this season – and indeed, as the Menashes’ postcard proclaims, they’ll be on TLC (Comcast channel xx) at 9 pm this Saturday night, December 4; the online listing says the show’s called “Invasion of the Christmas Lights 2,” and Linda Menashe says their share of it will run about 10 minutes. She has fond memories of the crew that spent a week in and around her house – “our basement was filled with the most gorgeous film equipment!” – and also told us that TLC found the family by discovering a past WSB report. Back to this year’s display – Linda’s daughter Joanna Menashe showed us some of this year’s new additions, like a holiday horse:
Other animated characters awaited in other nooks and crannies:
If all goes well – Joanna says now that she and her siblings are grown up, the decorating work goes a lot faster than it did when they were kids! – the lights will go on midweek. And then on Saturday night, her mom told us, the family will gather at son Jacob‘s house to watch the TLC show. Meantime, as per WSB tradition, we’d love to hear from you about other bright local lights displays – share the info (and photo if you get one) – thanks!
That’s our personal favorite song from the Helmstetler Family Spectacular music-synched Christmas-lights show, which began its second year at 3908 SW Charlestown (map; across from the water tower) tonight. The first number was preceded by an official lighting ceremony – special guest pushing the button, Zack Lystedt, a Maple Valley teenager who suffered a brain injury after going back into a football game in 2006 following a hard hit – that inspired a history-making law signed by Governor Gregoire last year. In his honor, his family chose Pushing Boundaries as the nonprofit to benefit from any donations made during the show tonight. Zach’s dad Victor spoke briefly at the start of our video – the man on the right is Jim Winder, Helmstetler family friend and mastermind of the lighting extravaganza:
If you go watch in your car – you’ll hear the synchronized music on 101.9. Bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank - there’s a donation bin right in front of the house. This year the show even has its own website at westseattlelights.com, loaded with information from directions to schedule, and more. And if last year is any indication, we know Jim will soon have much-better clips of the show than ours, so watch for those.
Hundreds of West Seattleites enjoyed his work last holiday season … and even though Christmas is more than seven months away, Jim Winder is well on his way to creating this year’s lights-and-music extravaganza. He sent us photos of a special delivery the other day, with this update:
Been working since January on this year’s Christmas display, welding up a new, bigger Mega Tree and some Mini Trees…and I (just) received my 785 lbs of LED lights!!!
We will be adding nearly 45,000 lights to this year’s display for a total of nearly 55,000 lights!!! We are adding a lot of more elements to the display and hopefully a few other surprises to really make the display a lot more interactive for the people. We are also planning our own website which will have the show hours and when and what songs will be playing. Lighting ceremony will be Thanksgiving night, and will hopefully have a Northwest Celebrity to do the honors.
Along with all that we are also planning on having a collection box for those who would like to donate to a charity to be announced later. We will also be collecting food stuffs for a West Seattle Food bank…
So we are quite excited and can’t wait for the colder weather!!!! (well…at least me anyway…)
What – you don’t quite remember Jim’s lights? Maybe this will refresh your memory.
Followup to Friday’s stories about a special encore of the “Helmstetler Family Spectacular” music-synched Christmas lights by the Charlestown water tower, on behalf of the family of a soldier about to leave for the Middle East – Show designer Jim Winder has just finished the videos for the two special songs he added as a tribute; at top, it’s Josh Groban’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas“; below, “American Soldier” by Toby Keith.
Earlier stories on the display, and the other shows featured on WSB this year – including the Menashe Family‘s Beach Drive home, which we visited the night they were filmed for a cable TV special next holiday season – are all archived here (newest to oldest).
Heard again from Jim, designer of the 3908 SW Charlestown light show. Turns out the encore tonight is in honor of a soldier who’s departing, not returning. Monica at seattlepi.com picked up the story this afternoon and found the family – she tells their story here. (Show’s still on, 5:30 pm, and you’re still invited.)
It was something of a “Blue Christmas” for a local family awaiting a loved one’s homecoming from Afghanistan. But tonight – according to Jim Winder, who engineered the popular synched-to-music Christmas light show at the Helmstetler Family residence across from the Charlestown water tower – that family will celebrate belatedly. You’re welcome to be there too. Jim first told us about this a few days ago:
The other night the Helmstetlers had a lady come knock on their door and asked how much longer we were going to do the light show. They said it was pretty much over…until she explained that (I believe) one of her children was coming back from Afghanistan and she had told them all about the light show and wondered if it would still be running this week.
Then very early this morning, Jim sent word that the family had heard again from the woman and made a plan to present a special edition of the show at 5:30 tonight. Jim says, “We’ll have two new songs…just for the soldier. I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Josh Groban and American Soldier by Toby Keith.” And he reaffirms that you are welcome to be there, too. The house is right across from the water tower on Charlestown – the synchronized music is not blasted via speakers, but rather broadcast on 101.9 FM and receivable via radio in the immediate vicinity – 3908 SW Charlestown; here’s a map.
We featured this display last year – who could forget the distinctive Christmas cocktail on the roof? Now, its proud creators have shared a few new photos, with a change or two, so they’re back for an encore: It’s the Radas’ home in Westwood. Michael Rada says, “We moved the martini glass a little farther up the roof” for this year:
They’re at 8615 32nd SW — here’s a map. For the archive of other light displays we’ve featured so far this season, go here – and please let us know about the best and the brightest you’ve seen (or maybe you’ve put them up yourself!) addresses, with or without photos, are welcome – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ten nights till Christmas, counting tonight, so we’re stepping up the holiday lights spotlight – the ones we’ve featured already are archived here (newest to oldest), and tonight, we have a photo from the famous Ducky Reserve on the south edge of Lowman Beach (map) – Dr. Ron Sterling is well-known for his year-round displays of toy ducks in seasonal garb, but this year the Christmas ducks are more must-see than ever – they’re best viewed by parking and walking up, so tonight you’d need an umbrella. The ducks, as you can see, already have one. And if you can’t get down for a look, here’s a Sterling-produced video with an up-close view of every ducky detail:
The main ducky display faces Beach Drive, but the side facing Lowman Beach Park is festively lit too – and there are some nice lights across Beach Drive as well.
As Q13 FOX reporter (and West Seattleite) Brian Callanan noted toward the end of that clip, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s outdoor Christmas tree has a new look this year – LED lights in a cool pale blue (compare to last year). The tree now shines from the highest spot in the city – a bit more than 500 feet up – at 35th and Myrtle, after tonight’s lighting ceremony. From our informal count, looked like about 200 people gathered on Myrtle (blocked off for the evening) to watch the lighting and share in carols afterward. OLG is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Here’s Father Jack Walmsley (just back from traveling) delivering the pre-lighting blessing:
Here’s a sample of tonight’s caroling:
(That’s Brian in the light-colored sweater under the tree, saying “Great job” at clip’s end.) Caroling was followed by holiday celebrating in the Parish Hall – a good place to warm up, considering the temperature was back below freezing by the time the tree lights came on.
Sure, you can buy a light-encrusted “reindeer” at the store and plop it in your yard. But how about carving and assembling your own reindeer? That’s what Dave did in Westwood, and proud girlfriend Oleana shares these photos — in progress, above, and here’s the final result:
We live in West Seattle and this is our 2nd x-mas here. This year my boyfriend really got into the decorations as in chainsaw, log, actual size reindeer with a 6 ft wreath hung from the trees in our yard. I also just for fun decorated with pink flamingos and a golden egg. It is a holiday scene—in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. Throughout the day I see dog walkers pointing and even coming in the yard to check out the reindeer.
She says he’s made a couple more, too. You can see them at 7926 30th SW (here’s a map).
Thanks to Cheryl for the reminder that south West Seattle has its own version of Candy Cane Lane in the heart of Fauntlee Hills. Particularly SW Concord north of 41st SW (map), where we photographed this house (just one of many shining examples in the area). Just turn off SW Barton, left if you’re coming uphill from the ferry dock, right if you’re coming downhill from 35th/Westwood Village. (Our archives of previously featured light displays can be found here, newest to oldest.)
Continuing our West Seattle Christmas lights showcase: If you drive the Fauntleroy side of the west end of The Bridge at night, you’ll notice several well-lit homes — including the one you see above in the 4000 block – this year, the row of houses looks brighter than ever. It’s a little tricky to reach – the turn is off 35th, north of where the main stretch of Fauntleroy becomes The Bridge – here’s a map. Got a brightly lit home or street to share with us and other West Seattle holiday-light lovers? Let us know – email@example.com. The archive of lights we’ve featured so far is here, including video of the Helmstetler Family’s set-to-music display by the Charlestown water tower and the Menashe Family home on Beach Drive, and homes from past years (this one, in fact, we showed two years ago – though you can tell there’ve been many additions!). Lots more holiday activities, sights and sounds on the West Seattle Holidays page (including the Christmas Ship schedule for this weekend!).
Tonight’s featured Christmas lights aren’t about being big and bright … but about showing support … blue lights in honor of law enforcement officers everywhere, particularly poignant this year given that our area’s seen five police officers gunned down in the line of duty in the past five weeks. Eric shared that photo of what’s displayed in his window, saying, ” We thought five was the right number – one for each officer who gave the ultimate sacrifice these past few months. Notice, there are no spots for additional lights. That’s quite intentional…” The idea goes back more than 20 years, according to the background in this Kitsap Sun article. (The article also mentions the Papa John’s Pizza fundraiser next Tuesday-Wednesday; reminder that local Merrill Gardens communities [WSB sponsor] also have a dinner fundraiser on Wednesday, as noted here.) Unique holiday lights, bright holiday lights, anything you see of note around West Seattle, we welcome photos and/or addresses – firstname.lastname@example.org – the ones we’ve showcased so far are archived here, newest to oldest, including lights from previous years.
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