Holidays 2106 results

KING DAY: What you can do in West Seattle

Today is the 92nd anniversary of the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday is the federal holiday in his honor. From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, here are two things you can do in West Seattle (please let us know if there are others we can add to this list):

HIGHLAND PARK: Co-sponsored by Highland Park Improvement Club and HP Action Committee:

We have some opportunities to work on demo of the HPIC ceiling, plus trash grabbers and bags for folks to do socially distanced neighborhood cleanup at large. And if you have your own tools and projects at home, join us in spirit!

Tools available at 10 am at Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden. Return pickup tools and collected trash by 3 pm.

Free SDOT traffic mitigation signs available day of event or email to request alternate pickup.

‘UPROOTING RACISM’: Monday brings the first session in Admiral Church‘s two-track year-long study of “Uprooting Racism” by Paul Kivel. The first track is for “individual introspection,” with monthly meetings, while the second is for organizations, meeting every three months starting in March. For details about timing, course content, book ordering, and registration, go to

We’ll add anything more we hear about for Monday!

GRATITUDE: What you gave The Christmas People, and what they delivered

Among the many opportunities for holiday help that we showcased this season was The Christmas People‘s request for cookies and volunteers. The group’s president/co-founder Fred Hutchinson sent this community thank-you note with an update on the results:

From December 24 through December 27, The Christmas People delivered 2,917 meals to homeless shelters and tiny-house settlements. This is about 60% more meals that other years due to demand. Generous neighbors in West Seattle dropped off in excess of 7,200 cookies — twice what we normally receive. Many cookies were nicer than a bake shop; often these cookies are the only gift a homeless person receives. We also had the generous support of 65 volunteers over the six-day period of prep and delivery. Thank you to West Seattle Blog and our neighbors for a genuine outpouring of goodwill and love this holiday season.

Along with announcements here in the news stream, we also list giving opportunities in our West Seattle Holiday Guide every year; our thanks, too, to everyone who organizes, and responds to, them!

Another way to recycle your Christmas tree

As noted earlier this week, you’re supposed to cut your tree into 4-foot lengths before taking it out to the curb. Don’t want to do that? You can take it to the transfer station. Or – an added option that just landed in the WSB inbox today, requiring a trip south:

Scout Troop Christmas Tree Recycling, January 2 & 3

January 2, 2021 – January 3, 2021
9 am-4 pm
Burien Eagles, 920 SW 150th Street

Local Scout Troop 375/8375 will be holding the annual Christmas Tree Recycle the weekend of Jan. 2 & 3, 2021. Bring your tree to their recycling station at the FOE Burien Eagles Lodge parking lot, located behind the Countryside Café (map). No flocked trees please. Suggested donation $5

P.S. You can recycle your lights too – here’s how.


We went to Alki around 10 am to check on two polar bear-themed events:

That’s Polar Bear Swim organizer Mark Ufkes, relaxing between countdown requests. As announced earlier this week, no all-at-once plunge this year but he encouraged people to come down in small groups. He said the early going – starting around 9 am – totaled around 100 people, some requesting a countdown, some not. Nobody while we were there but via Twitter, Bill Schrier caught a few:

Further west, by Alki Bathhouse, the (unrelated) West Seattle Polar Bear Challenge drop-off food drive was going well:

If you missed the dropoff, check the WSPBC map for a display with a food bin near you – today’s the official last day – or go here to see how to support the West Seattle Food Bank year-round.

What you need to know on New Year’s Day 2021 in West Seattle

(No Space Needle fireworks photo again this year, so how about an illuminated champagne inflatable? Photo courtesy Claire)

Day 1 of a brand-new year! In keeping with WSB holiday tradition, we start the day with information you might find helpful:

OPEN/CLOSED TODAY: We’ve found in recent years that closures are far fewer on New Year’s Day than Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we don’t have a restaurant list for this holiday. But we do have a few notes – WSB coffee sponsor C & P Coffee Company is definitely open today, 8 am-4 pm (5612 California SW, service at the rear window) … It’s opening day for new plant-based restaurant Allyum, with takeout brunch 11 am-3 pm … Only one West Seattle grocery store is closed today, Trader Joe’s.

*Metro is on the Sunday schedule
*No Water Taxi service
*Sound Transit light rail and buses on the Sunday schedule
*Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run is on its regular weekday schedule
*No charge for parking today on city streets in neighborhoods with pay stations
*Traffic cameras: West Seattle-relevant ones here; citywide views are available via this SDOT map

*No trash/recycling/etc. pickup today – if you have Friday pickup, it’ll happen tomorrow instead
*Seattle Parks sites’ status for today
*Seattle Public Libraries services are suspended today


Alki Beach Polar Bear Swim – It’s a staggered, distanced, all-day plan this year, as detailed here.

West Seattle Polar Bear Challenge food drive – Whether or not you’re going in the water, stop (or drive) by the Alki Bathhouse (60th/Alki) 9 am-11 am to donate food as the WSPBC wraps up.

‘Finding the Story Stones’ – Starting today, Save The Stone Cottage invites you to participate in the first of four family-friendly contests – details here.

If you see/hear news, please text/call 206-293-6302 – we appreciate your tips 24/7/366!

TONIGHT’S LIGHTS: West Seattle Polar Bear Challenge followup

Tonight as our extended holiday-lights spotlight continues, we revisit the West Seattle Polar Bear Challenge. We first reported one month ago on this community-created combination of scavenger hunt, food drive, and local-business support. 67 homes and businesses are on the official Polar Bear Challenge map – including the one where you’ll find the polar bear above, 5700 block of SW Charlestown. That site, by the way, also has characters from the legendary Island of Misfit Toys:

Back to the Polar Bear Challenge. Its delighted organizers report that participants have collected many hundreds of pounds of food. And even if you don’t visit displays, you have one more chance to donate before the WSPBC wraps up on New Year’s Day:

On January 1, 2021, our Polar Bears and Polar Bear Team will be down on Alki, the famous location of the Polar Bear Plunge, for one final opportunity to contribute to the West Seattle Food Bank. We will be set up by the Alki Bathhouse between 9 am and 11 am, just look for the bears and do an easy drive-by food contribution. We will be giving away stuffed polar bears for food donations while supplies last.

With and without bears, we’ve featured more than three dozen displays this season – scroll through them all via our archive.

Ready to recycle your Christmas tree?

If and when you’re ready to take down the tree – here are this year’s guidelines, from Seattle Public Utilities:

The nearest transfer station is South, in west South Park at 130 S. Kenyon, open 8 am-5:30 pm seven days a week (closed on New Year’s Day).

Will there be a West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach on New Year’s Day 2021? Here’s the (complicated) answer

In the past few days we’ve been getting inquiries about whether the annual West Seattle Polar Bear Swim is on or off. We asked longtime organizer Mark Ufkes, and here’s his answer, with a preface:

The Year of Perfect Vision; 2020 is finally over. What a ride indeed!

Before we discuss our annual Alki Polar Bear Swim, held on January 1 each year, may I ask a favor; When you go for a walk outside, please wear a reflective SAFETY VEST when you walk. Please! And one for your DOG too!

If Drivers cannot see you or your dog clearly, especially at dusk, they might hit you and hurt you. Pedestrians who wear dark clothing are much more likely to get hit by a car. Death rates are even higher in winter and when it is raining. We can help keep walkers and pedestrians safer; wear a reflective SAFETY VEST every time we walk. I did a Master’s thesis on traffic safety issues (M.A.Ed. at Washington State University), so these observations are backed by scientific research. Improving visibility reduces pedestrian deaths. Wear a safety vest. Thank you.

OK, Now let’s talk Alki Polar Bear Swim:

The New Year’s Day Alki Beach Polar Bear Swim has been going on for almost two decades. It started with 15 adoring friends and family. We then invited all of you, and last year, about 700 mildly-insane folks lined all along Alki Beach, held hands, and, after counting down, went running and screaming into 47-degree Puget Sound. As anyone who participates can attest, it is a great way to “wash away the complexities of the previous year (we had many in 2020), and bathe in the unlimited opportunities that the New Year provides.” And with all the laughing and smiles, it’s great fun too.

For January 1, 2021, we do not want this to become a Trump Super-Spreader Event, so:
There will be no single Polar Bear Swim event on January 1 like we usually do.

Instead, there will be 30 sites along Alki Beach, each separated by 25 feet. Sites will be marked with tall, pink-ribboned stakes (see photo).

All day long, groups of no more than 5-6 each, all wearing masks, can head to Alki, find an open site, social distance as they walk to a site, and hold their own personal Polar Bear Swim.

At any one time along the 1,200-foot-long beach (almost four football fields), the stakes will limit Polar Bear swimmers to no more than 30 small groups, spread out from the Beach House towards beautiful downtown Seattle.

You and your group/family decide on a time (remember, you will have all day), drive along the beach, watch how many sites are open, if a site is open, park and head out to the beach. Everyone reading this has good judgement, so please use it. Don’t participate if you are uncomfortable. If you do participate, wear your mask, stay in your small group, and social distance on the way out and on the way back from the beach.

As soon as your swim is over, promptly towel off and head toward your car so that other small groups can safely access the Polar Bear Swim sites.

An announcer, wearing all pink, will be at the beach all morning, from 9-11:30 am, with the Polar Bear bullhorn, if a small group needs help with a countdown to get up the courage to run into the water. I, for one, could not do this event without the countdown!

Remember, bring and wear a mask, wear water shoes, bring a towel and change of clothes and your hopes and dreams for the New Year!

If you’d rather skip it this year, everyone will understand. But if you participate, you are acknowledging that the benefits of Polar Bear swimming exceed the risks, and that you are in good health, show no symptoms of Covid 19 and have not tested positive. And you agree to wear a mask at the event, practice social distancing, stay in your small group of no more than 5-6 folks, and use one of the properly separated sites on the beach. And if all the sites are taken when you arrive, you agree to return to your car and wait until a site opens up. And finally, you promise to bring a food donation for the local food bank that can be left along the sidewalk at the provided collection bins.

No Spectators! Usually, we have hundreds of spectators watching us, and we love our spectators. Many become swimmers later in their lives. But this year, we respectfully ask that spectators stay at home!

Good luck next year. Make 2021 the best year of your life!

Mark L. Ufkes (Alki Polar Bear enthusiast and optimist extraordinaire)

WEST SEATTLE NEW YEAR’S EVE: Puget Ridge Edible Park invitation

(WSB file photo)

West Seattle’s only “edible park” invites you to stop by on Thursday night and bid 2020 farewell. Stu Hennessey sent the invitation on behalf of Puget Ridge Edible Park volunteers:

With our sights set on new hope in a new year, many of us feel the need to reflect on the struggles and losses of the past year and the 1.7 million souls we have lost. We also may want to say a swift goodbye to 2020 as well.

Therefore, the volunteers at Puget Ridge Edible Park thought it would be a good idea to invite our friends and neighbors to a Covid Candlelight Vigil and Say Goodbye to 2020 New Year’s Eve at the community garden. We have a luminaria-candlelit pathway to bring up to 5 people at a time to our New Year’s Eve fire to toss out the old year by throwing into the fire a written message or any symbol of bad memories over the last year.

The vigil will take place Thursday, New Year’s Eve, from 6 pm to 8 pm at 5265 18th Ave. SW. Be prepared to wait your turn to enter the park as we are limited to 5 people at a time. Wear warm clothes and bring some warm drinks. Parking will be available along 18th Ave. SW and SW Brandon St. Heavy rain will cancel. The volunteers at Puget Ridge Edible Park would like to offer you a healthy and happy New Year!

We’ve added this to the New Year’s section of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.

HOLIDAY MUSIC: West Seattle fiddler’s Alki serenade

Eight months ago, we featured fiddler Dawn Hepburn joining neighbors in “making a joyful noise” when that was happening during the evenings early in the stay-home days. Today, she brought musical joy to Alki with Christmas songs, and shared a video clip so you could enjoy the serenade even if you weren’t at the beach.

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: Merry Bridge-mas!

9 months (as of this past Wednesday) after the West Seattle Bridge closed, it’s inspired a gingerbread creation. Mike Shaughnessy sent the photos of his family’s ginger-bridge. Santa even has his choice of destinations:

By next Christmas, we might just be a few months away from restored use of the real thing.

What you need to know on Christmas Day 2020 in West Seattle

(Photo by Marc Milrod)

Welcome to Christmas Day. It’s our holiday tradition to start the day with information you might find helpful:

COFFEE SHOPS OPEN TODAY: Our (short) list of independent coffee shops that planned to be open for at least part of today is in the Christmas section atop our Holiday Guide. (Anyone missing? Let us know!)

GROCERY STORES OPEN TODAY: Also in the Christmas section atop our Holiday Guide.

RESTAURANTS OPEN TODAY AND/OR TONIGHT: You’ll find that list in the Holiday Guide too.

(Photo by Jerry Simmons)

*Metro is on the Sunday schedule
*No Water Taxi service
*Sound Transit light rail and buses on the Sunday schedule
*Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run is on its regular weekday schedule
*No charge for parking today on city streets in neighborhoods with pay stations
*Traffic cameras: West Seattle-relevant ones here; citywide views are available via this SDOT map

*No trash/recycling/etc. pickup today – if you have Friday pickup, it’ll happen tomorrow instead
*Seattle Parks sites’ status for today
*Seattle Public Libraries services are suspended today

If you see/hear news, please text/call 206-293-6302 – we appreciate your tips 24/7/366!

Free takeout Christmas Eve dinner @ West Seattle Eagles

It’s a Christmas Eve gift – as mentioned in our daily preview, free takeout dinners at the West Seattle Eagles HQ (4426 California SW) in The Junction, cooked up by Itto’s Tapas. On the menu: Lemon chicken with saffron rice, harissa brussels sprouts, arugula salad. Just show up – they’re expecting to feed 200, while the dinners last!

VIDEO: Mode Music Studios’ Holiday Singalong!

The sun’s setting and Christmas Eve begins in earnest. Want some local music for your holiday cheer? West Seattle’s own Mode Music Studios (WSB sponsor) staff perform an eclectic variety of holiday music in the video above – Mode’s Virtual Holiday Singalong: “We have excerpts from musicals, classic holiday songs, rocking covers, and some original works.” It’ll be on YouTube, free to access, through the end of the holiday season.

WEST SEATTLE CHRISTMAS EVE 2020: Information for today/tonight

(Photo by Jerry Simmons)

The sun’s out (for a few hours, anyway) and it’s Christmas Eve. Here are notes for the hours ahead:

IN OUR HOLIDAY GUIDE, you’ll find info including:
-Store hours for last-minute gift shopping
-Christmas Eve church services
-Grocery-store hours (most close early on Christmas Eve)

-Christmas lights we’ve showcased (should be another good night for viewing)

-Look for the Giving Opportunities section of the Holiday Guide, including homemade-cookie donations for The Christmas People (drop off at Alki Masonic Center, 40th/Edmunds parking-lot entrance, until 4 pm)

Scott will lead the sign-waving demonstration at 16th/Holden 4-6 pm (possibly ending earlier tonight “if traffic is light”)

(Wednesday sunset over Vashon Island, photo by Theresa Arbow-O’Connor)

4:22 pm

FREE CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER: The Itto’s Tapas crew invites everyone who needs a free Christmas Eve dinner to come pick up yours at the West Seattle Eagles (4426 California SW) starting at 5 pm.

GROCERY STORES: Christmas Eve/Day hours in West Seattle

Among the Christmas Eve/Day information we’ve been compiling in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide: Grocery-store hours for the next two days. Here’s what we’ve found: West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor; 4201 SW Morgan), closing at 9 pm Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day … Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor; 41st/Admiral), open 5 am-6 pm Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day … PCC WEST SEATTLE (2749 California SW), closing at 7 pm Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day … Whole Foods (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW), open 7 am-7 pm Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day … Trader Joe’s (4545 Fauntleroy Way SW), closing at 6 pm Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day … Safeway (all 3 West Seattle stores), open 5 am-6:30 pm Christmas Eve, 8 am-5 pm Christmas Day … QFC (both West Seattle stores), closing at 7 pm Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day. … Again, this is also in our Holiday Guide, along with restaurant and coffee lists that we’re continuing to add to (info appreciated at – thank you!).

Need a Christmas tree but can’t afford one?

Just out of the WSB inbox, from Tiffany at Trees by the Sea (2538 Alki SW):

We are done for the season and have some trees and wreaths left over. If there is anyone who is in need then they can help themselves. We have left the lot open for people to have access to it. We want to thank you and all of our customers for another great season and look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

HOLIDAY-HELP REMINDER: The Christmas People are still accepting holiday-meal requests, and cookies

This is a big week for the volunteer organization known as The Christmas People. They’re planning to feed hundreds around the area for the holiday. They’re now stocked up with volunteer help, but they need two things:

HOMEMADE COOKIES: Bake them and drop them off in boxes or carefully placed in bags. Volunteers will take it from there. Dropoff times and location – 9 am-4 pm each of the next five days, Wednesday through Sunday – Christmas Day included – at Alki Masonic Center, 4736 40th SW. (Use the Dining Room entrance that faces the parking lot.)

NEED A HOLIDAY MEAL? Call or email The Christmas People by Thursday (Christmas Eve) to order free meals if you’re in need – “shut-ins, seniors, veterans … people who need a nice meal at Christmas.” Call Fred at 206-719-4979 or email

WHO’S OPEN ON CHRISTMAS: Where to find West Seattle info, and how to add to it

December 22, 2020 1:21 pm
|    Comments Off on WHO’S OPEN ON CHRISTMAS: Where to find West Seattle info, and how to add to it
 |   Holidays | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news | West Seattle restaurants | WS beverages

That’s the new covered outdoor addition at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), one of the West Seattle businesses that will be open on Christmas Day (8 am-4 pm). As always, we’re building info lists for the holidays, and publishing this reminder that it’s not too late to let us know about retailers and food/drink businesses’ hours on Christmas Eve/Day. All the info we have so far – including the complete grocery-store hours list for Thursday/Friday – is toward the end of our West Seattle Holiday Guide page (which has a list of church services, too). We’re still checking around, but if you can help by providing info, please email or text 206-293-6302 – thank you!

HOLIDAY HELPING: West Seattle family’s fundraising Christmas music

With three days to go until Christmas, maybe you’ve already heard the Mariah Carey version of “All I Want for Christmas” a hundred times. Here’s an alternative: Listen to the Leyva Family Band version! Michelle Leyva emailed to tell us about their downloadable Christmas music album, fundraising for Keep Music Live Washington, an advocacy group fighting for the future of live-music venues shuttered during the pandemic. Proceeds will go to that group; the Leyvas are offering their Christmas collection for $5, or anything more you want to pay, explaining, “We miss live music and so look forward to hearing it again soon with all of YOU.” You can find the album, and preview it, by going here.

SPIRIT OF WEST SEATTLE: Luminarias light up one of the longest nights

8:06 PM: Thanks for the photos! Despite the downpour, luminarias were lit tonight in the first-ever “Spirit of West Seattle” event, organized by the West Seattle Junction Association as part of Hometown Holidays. And we’ve received a few photos – above, from Brandy near Lincoln Park; below, from a texter:

And this one’s from Julie:

Every bit of extra light is appreciated, with the shortest day of the year coming up Monday – but at least that’ll mean we’re only three months from spring!

10:08 PM: Added above and below, photos from Cindy at 46th/Stevens.

Still looking for West Seattle Christmas trees?

December 19, 2020 1:41 pm
|    Comments Off on Still looking for West Seattle Christmas trees?
 |   Holidays | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

All season long, we’ve had a list of West Seattle Christmas-tree sellers in our Holiday Guide – but things can get a little sparse if you wait until the last pre-holiday weekend to shop for one. So here are a few updates: Trees by the Sea (2538 Alki SW) is closing after tomorrow; they emailed to say that the lot is open until 6 pm today, 9 am-6 pm tomorrow. We noticed that trees are still available at Tony’s Market (35th/Barton) and West Seattle Nursery (California/Brandon), too. The nursery notes that its trees are now 25 percent off; they are open until 7.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Winter Wander winner!

December 19, 2020 11:24 am
|    Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Winter Wander winner!
 |   Holidays | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news

Earlier this month, West Seattle realtor and preparedness coach Alice Kuder sponsored the Winter Wander multi-day scavenger hunt as a fun way to boost local independent businesses, among other things – and we have word of the winner! From Alice:

Congratulations to Terri C. of West Seattle! She, her husband and daughter did a great job of solving 13 Winter Wander clues and won the drawing for $200 in gift cards from local merchants. The businesses they chose are Northwest Art and Frame, Paper Boat Booksellers, Coastal Surf Boutique.

We had 12 groups submit a total of 193 selfies for the contest, and countless other groups who played just for fun! Many thanks to the 15 neighborhood businesses and institutions who agreed to participate as solutions to our clues. We hope you will pay each of them a visit and express your gratitude as well. They are:

Wildwood Market
The Birdhouse
Seattle Fish Company
Cherry Consignment
A la Mode Pies
Curious Kidstuff
Wing Stop
Vatsana’s Thai
Leaps and Bounds
Paper Boat Books
Peel and Press
Bed Head Coffee
Seattle Fire Station #11
Highland Park Improvement Club
Desmond Hansen Artwork

Mark your calendar now for the SECOND annual Winter Wander, which will take place Dec. 4-12, 2021.