For many, the holidays are the busiest time of the year. Did you know that December alone has 71 holidays? Sure, we might not celebrate National Cotton Candy Day (December 7, if you need to solidify your plans) the same way we celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, but there’s no question that there’s always a lot going on and many wonderful ways to mark this special season.

Below you’ll find a rundown of fun holiday happenings taking place across Whatcom County, perfect for sharing with family and friends.

Bellingham

Fairhaven Winterfest

The Fairhaven Village Green dressed for Christmas. Photo credit: Kathleen L. Kitto

The celebration begins on the evening of Friday, November 29 with the arrival of Father Christmas. Watch the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree on Saturday, November 29 at 5:00 p.m. Feeling fancy? Attend the Fairhaven Winterfest Ball on December 7. Beginning on Saturday, December 7, and on every following Saturday through Christmas, catch horse-drawn carriage rides around the historic district or participate in the Signs of the Season Treasure Hunt. Learn more about daily activities and special events on the Fairhaven Winterfest website.

Deck the Old City Hall

Beginning November 29 and running through December, stop in to Bellingham’s Old City Hall on Prospect Street to view their unique holiday decorations. Visit with Santa or partake in weekly crafts. Take a peek throughout the building to see the glitzy decorations and the themed trees. Admission is by donation and supports the Whatcom Museum. More info about Deck the Old City Hall and the Whatcom Museum can be found here.

Holiday Port Festival

A vibrant mural was painted on the windows of the Bellingham Cruise Terminal last year. Photo credit: Jeffry N. Curtis

Visit the Bellingham Cruise Terminal the weekend of December 6-8 for the annual Holiday Port Celebration. Grab a free cookie and hot chocolate to snack on while you peruse the always-astounding gingerbread house display. There will be performances by local choirs and bands, as well as dance recitals. Even hop in a carriage or on a tractor for a ride around the port. If you’re looking for fun activities for the little ones, there will be free kids art projects and visits from Winter Princesses on Saturday and Sunday. For more details and descriptions, check out the Holiday Port event page.

Downtown Holiday Festival

Have you been to the downtown Bellingham tree lighting ceremony in the past? This is that—but even better. According to the website, the event has been “expanded and re-imagined.” This year, cross some items off your holiday shopping list at the Bellingham Handmade Market inside Depot Market Square. If you fancy yourself a drink, stop by the “bevy garden” for something from Boundary Bay Brewery or Chuckanut Bay Distillery. Hungry? Grab something from a food truck. The festivities kick off at 6:00 p.m. with the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m.

The Nutcracker

Photo credit: K Hulett Photography, courtesy of OPUS Performing Arts

Catch a performance of this classic ballet at Mount Baker Theatre on Wednesday, December 18 or Thursday, December 19. This special two-show event is presented by OPUS Performing Arts in collaboration with Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth.

At time of publishing, tickets cost between $12 and $20 and can be purchased on the Mount Baker Theatre website or in person at the box office on North Commercial Street.

Lynden

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Be whisked away to the magical world through the wardrobe at the Claire vg Thomas Theatre. In this musical adaptation of the second book in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, follow the four Pevensie children as they try to end the fairytale land of Narnia’s eternal winter—with no Christmas—curse. Tickets can be purchased anytime at the theatre’s website or at the box office Tuesdays through Fridays. Shows run November 29 through December 15.

Northwest Lighted Christmas Parade

Lynden Fire Department adorns their truck for the parade with a familiar face. Photo courtesy: Lynden Fire Department

Title sponsor Edaleen Dairy is proud to present this lovely annual tradition. After nightfall on December 7, watch as brilliantly lighted floats travel from the Fairway Shopping Center all the way down Front Street and into downtown. Bring lawn chairs and something to warm your hands—this is a Lynden tradition that shouldn’t be missed.

Jansen Art Center Art Jingle

Head to the Jansen Art Center on December 7 for the annual Art Jingle. From 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. guests can enjoy live Christmas music in the piano lobby, sit in on art classes from local artisans provided by the Kids Do Art! Program, pick something up from the studio sales, explore the holiday market, and more. The Jansen Art Center’s website has more details.

Christmas at Bellewood

Santa will stop by Bellewood Farms during Bellewood’s Christmas Festival. Photo courtesy: Bellewood Farms

Beginning November 30 and lasting through December 24, pick up your real Christmas tree at Bellewood Farms. This year, choose from Firs, Nobles, or Frasers grown and cut by Apline Meadows Christmas Tree Farm in Deming. Every weekend through December 22, celebrate at Bellewood’s Christmas Festival. With appearances by the real Santa himself, cookie decorating, s’mores, bonfire, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and more.

Roller Betties Holiday Scrimmage

On December 1, head to the Lynden Skateway to catch this special “Cats vs. Tinsel” double header scrimmage. Doors open at 4:45 p.m. with the first scrimmage beginning at 5:30 p.m. Get in early to grab a good seat—this event is popular! Suggested entry donation is $5. There will be a 50/50 raffle. Get ready to prepare for the upcoming season 13. Check out the updated bout rules on the event Facebook page.

Ferndale

Olde Fashioned Christmas

On the weekend of December 6, members of the Ferndale Heritage Society dress up to illustrate how our ancestors celebrated the holidays in each of the 12 cabins in Heritage Park, each with its own theme. For the $5 entry fee for adults and $3 for kids, participants can partake in crafts and games, visit a working old-time general store, purchase period Christmas gifts, and listen to live music. Snap a photo with Santa, grab a warm cookie, and enjoy all the historical offerings and education this event has to offer. For more information on tickets, visit the Ferndale Heritage Society website.

Photo courtesy: Ferndale Chamber of Commerce

Community Tree Lighting

After nightfall on December 6, watch as the large tree in Centennial Riverwalk Park lights up the night. There will be free cookies and hot chocolate from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. while the festivities carry on. If you’re lucky, you may even get a glimpse of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, as well. This event is sponsored by the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.

Winter Arts and Crafts Festival

Stop by the Pioneer Pavilion Community Center on December 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to check out a top-notch holiday market. This is the first holiday market sponsored by the Ferndale Arts Commission, and is sure to be a hit: booth space sold out quickly! There is no cost to enter. More information can be found at the event Facebook page.

Featured photo by Royal Reinsch of 1PaperBoat

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