As we often do, dear daughter and I attended First Night to usher in the new year. And her friend, Z, came with us as she so often does. It was extra cold, but not raining, so we were happy and did all of our normal First Night things. This year we were offered long wooden sticks and a S’More packet (two marshmallows, a chocolate square and two graham crackers). It was such gooey sticky fun to make our own.
So I say to my dear husband, “let’s go up to Bell Square on what is probably the most hectic shopping weekend of the year” and oddly he agreed. Neither of us are big mall people, but he likes to see the upper end merchandise so he can later look for it at estate sales and I wanted to see Snow Flake Lane. At 7 each evening there is a show with singing and dancing. The night we were there, there was a Seahawk, #72, Michael Bennet. The Snow Queen was blowing bubbles with her wand, so I figured that was the promised snow. But then snow flakes appeared in blue and green on the walls of the shopping centers, so I figured that was the snow. But then it really did snow! Well, maybe they were fine bubbles, but it looked like snow and it was cold enough for snow, so snow it was. The children were delighted! The streets were so very crowded, but everyone was in high spirits. We spent sometime afterwards in the mall to give the parking lot a chance to clear out. Really it was a lovely evening.
So, the United States Post Service (#USPS) has an app that converts mailboxes into magical gingerbread houses (or gingerbread mailboxes or gingerbread fireplaces or something!). I downloaded the free app, found a mailbox and the app captured the mailbox and before my eyes made it into a work of holiday art. Things I learned include:
It is always the same piece of art no matter where the mailbox is
It has to be a functioning mailbox, not one that has been painted over
Our kitchen is not huge and we had three people cooking a Thanksgiving feast there, so I finished my part and took off for a Starbucks and some fresh air. I often drive over to the mall on Thanksgiving. It’s pretty close and I find the empty parking lots soothing. But this year the JC Penney’s lot was nearly full! And people were inside and others were rushing toward the entry doors.
So while I like many of the stances that Penney’s has taken over the years, I’m not to sure about this being open for at least part of Thanksgiving. I sincerely hope their employees are getting overtime. Judging by the crowded parking lot, it is probably worth Penney’s time to be open, at least financially. The rest of the mall appeared to be closed (and thus soothing!). And Best Buy across the street had folks lined up, many had tents. But also folks inside. Not sure what was happening there. It was about 3:30.
I’ve always wanted to see the Fantasy Lights in Spanaway around the holidays, but somehow it has never happened until this year. The very last night dear daughter, her friend and I finally gave it a whirl. The line to get in only took about 10 minutes and the tour of lights went on for much longer than I expected (two miles) It is the largest holiday drive-through display in the Northwest. It was a lovely display and a great value. We stopped at Starbucks on the way there, likely it was also a drive through since I was the only person not in pajamas!
More information about the display can be found here.
I took a break from my fireworks nervous dogs today to see the region’s largest U.S. Flag at Tacoma Screw, 2001 Center Street. It weighs 150 pounds and is the largest U.S. flag west of Wisconsin and north of Sacramento. The measurements are 80’x40′ and the pole is 180 feet tall, which is 90 feet above the adjacent Highway 16. In comparison, the largest U.S. flag is located in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and is 120’x60′.
Tacoma Screw commissioned the flag as a way to celebrate their 70th year in business and to give back to the community.
It was a little difficult to photograph and to give a sense of the sheer size of the flag. I started at Tacoma Screw and then moved up to Irving Park to capture it from above. The full summer hillside at the edge of the park didn’t provide a full view, but finally some people came by and I had my shot that showed scale (thanks people!).
After a lovely time having coffee with my friend and then the two of us going to visit another friend I found myself near Cloverleaf Pizza. While waiting for my to go order, I drove around in the area behind Kmart on 6th Avenue and enjoyed the lights. Here is a sampling of the sights. While snapping the large manger the owner’s son (I think) came out. I congratulated him on the display and he said his parents were very proud of it. Kind of a nice moment.
Dear husband and I went to see real reindeer today, Luckily we didn’t have to go to the North Pole (though that would have been fun!). Watson’s Greenhouse has a small herd (2) of the sleigh pulling helpers, When we got there it was really cold and the deer were taking a nap. I was very impressed with the size of their antlers!
Zoolights at has a new tiger light and its spectacular. We had a perfect Zoolights evening, not too cold, no rain and light crowds. While we were there, we checked out the aquarium and of course the other lights.