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Holiday Gift Guide


A supplement to the Skagit Valley Herald


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

In This Issue


Recipes Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole and Banana Pumpkin Bread

8-9 Christmas Tree Guide Everything you need to know about selecting the right Christmas tree, how to take care of it and where you can find your perfect tree.

SKAGIT PUBLISHING 1215 Anderson Rd. Mount Vernon, WA 98274 P: 360.424.3251 • F: 360.424.5300 Restocking: 360.424.3251 ©2012 by Skagit Publishing LLC All rights reserved.


A menu to celebrate Thanksgiving minus the crowd................................................. 4 Food banks provide to those in need, volunteer opportunities...................................... 5 Holiday shopping off to early start amid economic uncertainty......................................... 6 Recipes............................................................... 8-9 Retailers crowd shelves with holiday toys.......... 10 Cards accepted for Holiday Mail for Heroes program.................................................. 11 Christmas Tree Guide..........................................14-15 Jumping through hoops may save you money... 19 Holiday calendar................................................. 20-22


design & layout KATIE ERICKSON

Advertising director Mark Dobie

MEDIA consultants Stephanie Harper: Abby Jackson: Staci May: Michelle O’Donnell: Kathy Schultz: Katie Sundermeyer: Paul Tinnon: John Williams:

Display Advertising Manager Deb Bundy: advertising operations manager Sarah Hickman advertising operations FAWN FLOYD, Jody Hendrix, DANA PERRY, KAREN SHEPPARD, Patricia Stowell

Get Your Passport to

Scan this QR code with your smartphone to connect to the website, where you will find the most updated news and information about activities and happenings in Skagit County.

Presented by:

The L i g h t s of C hristmas!

Ride the Bus December 15th 4:30pm - 10:00pm Location: 88th Street next to the Police Station Starting November 23rd, participating Stanwood merchants will have Passports available. Pick one up and have it validated by three businesses. Then use your passport to ride the shuttle busses to The Lights of Christmas for FREE! Everyone who rides the shuttle will get a coupon for $2 OFF their entry to The Lights. No purchase necessary for validations.

For a list of participating merchants go to: Without a passport bus rides are $10 per family or $2 per person.

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Holiday for Two: A menu to celebrate Thanksgiving minus the crowd MICHELE KAYAL Associated Press

Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving is associated with big family gatherings. But that doesn’t mean you need a house full of in-laws, uncles and cousins to celebrate in a meaningful way. Newlyweds, empty nesters, young adults on their own, even a couple of friends can have their turkey and eat it, too, creating a day that resonates with their new phase of life and leaves behind the muss, fuss and hassle of the ginormous family blow out. “It really is a time for celebrating,” says Martin Novell, a Los Angeles-based marriage and family therapist. “It’s a time for giving thanks for the dreams that have been achieved, recognizing the disappointments and refocusing on the future by creating new adventures.” And none of that requires a crowd. Here are a few expert tips for creating a festive and memorable holiday for two:

says Davison. It just means you have to make them in smaller portions, even if you have to buy the casserole dishes to do it. Buy your vegetables in small amounts too, not in bulk bags. And perhaps most important, Davison says, prepare only what you’re really going to eat. “It’s one thing to use up a leftover dish, like mashed butternut squash. But you have more options if you don’t cook the whole vegetable to begin with,” Julia says. “Two people don’t really need a whole pureed butternut squash.”

settings — a favorite treat, a small book or gift of some kind. And do something special that you know the other person will love. “I love to make what people like,” Wells says. “I love people to say, ‘Oh you made this just for me.’”

HAVE FUN You’re not busy pleasing 15 relatives, so use that extra time for leisure, not for cooking or washing dishes. Go for a walk, take a hike, listen to some BE CREATIVE favorite music or go to a movie. Because you’re not Pomegranate molasses on the turkey? Coconut prepping a dozen side dishes and three or four pies, milk in the gravy? Go for it. It’s just the two of you, so you can even use the days leading up to the holiday who’s going to complain? “You’re not cooking for a crowd, so you can take some chances,” Davison says. for exciting activities. “One of the things a good marriage does is they spend a lot of together time,” “You can push the limits a little bit.” says Novell, who recommends, for instance, using the Ditto for the leftovers. “I always love the leftover days before Thanksgiving to search for a great new Thanksgiving meal the next day, the plate you shove wine to have with the meal. “So Thanksgiving isn’t in the microwave,” she says. “But that’s good for one KEEP IT SIMPLE only the holiday that’s on Nov. 22, but it’s a holiday day.” When it comes to cooking, take it down a notch. that starts way before that.” Branch out with your leftovers and make turkey But don’t skimp on taste or tradition. Roast a turkey curry, turkey soba noodle salad or a turkey gratin, a breast instead of the whole bird, says Betty Crocker START NEW TRADITIONS creamy stew topped with big hunks of your leftover Kitchens cookbook editor Grace Wells, or even Rock Yes, when the clan is together there’s football in baguette. Cornish game hens for a more elegant presentation. the yard. But there can be lots of rituals for two, as Buy what you can — rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing well. Consider visiting your favorite park with a bagel MAKE IT FESTIVE — at a gourmet shop or supermarket. And above all, breakfast, taking a long hike, or collecting leaves Go full force on the holiday trappings, says Betty don’t make a mess. “Why would you use three pans and other flora from your neighborhood to make a Crocker’s Wells. Pull out the beautiful tablecloth to make turkey and gravy?” says Julia Collin Davison, centerpiece together. “It’s an easy activity that feels and matching napkins, the china and the crystal. “If executive food editor of America’s Test Kitchen books. special to the day,” Davison says. “My parents go on a you’re newlyweds or baby boomers or somewhere in “If you can do it in one, why not?” long hike with the dogs that’s a little further away than between, you probably have nice dishes,” she says. Create a centerpiece with candles and gourds, or buy they usually go. And they have a nice bottle of wine. RESTRAIN YOURSELF Those two things make it feel different than your every a beautiful flower arrangement. Remember there are only two of you. Which doesn’t day.” Maybe even have a favor at each of your place mean you have to cut out the side dishes you love,

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Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

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Food banks provide to those in need, volunteer opportunities

AN INVITATION – Doug and Philip and your friends at Burton Jewelers

Skagit Publishing staff Contributions to food banks are particularly needed this time of year. They will gladly accept donations of any canned, dry or nonperishable food items and fresh, seasonal produce that anyone can bring. Baby food, diapers and other toiletries also are welcome. Area food banks also are in need of volunteers year-round. For drop-off times, here is a rundown of area food banks, with addresses and phone numbers. Call to verify hours before you go. Alger Food Bank 18731 Parkview Lane (north of Burlington), Sedro-Woolley. 360-724-5131. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. First and third Tuesdays. Open for emergencies as well. Anacortes 100 512 Fourth St., Anacortes. 360-293-6445. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. Community Covenant Food Bank Clear Lake. By referral only. Call Love I.N.C. at 360-424-1139. Mondays. Concrete Food Bank 45942 Main St., Concrete. 360-853-8505. Open noon to 3 p.m. second, third and last Thursdays. Hamilton Community Food Bank 571 Pettit St., Hamilton. 360-826-4090. Open 11 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays. Helping Hands 655 Cook Road, Sedro-Woolley. 360-856-2211 or www. Open 10 to 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays. La Conner Sunrise Food Bank 601 S. Second St., La Conner. 360-3333773. Open from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays.

Neighbors in Need 1615 S. Second St., Mount Vernon. 360-420-0558. Open 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays. North Whidbey Help House 1091 Hathaway St., Oak Harbor. Open 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays. 360-675-0681. Salvation Army Food Bank 3001 R Ave., Anacortes. 360-293-6682. Open 1 to 3:45 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Invite our Northwest friends to our


Come Saturday, December 1st, to this all-day event where you will have a chance to meet and learn from our friends who help us present to you some of the most distinctive jewelry and home collections in the Northwest. This is the time to take advantage of 12-1-12 only pricing and you will enjoy our greatest selection of jewelry and fine gifts. Enjoy shopping but also enjoy the excitement of knowing how these fine things are made and presented. SHOLDT DESIGNS have the most distinctive selection of Bridal Jewelry. Represented by Sholdt family member Kalee Sholdt.

Shepherds Heart Care Center 8224 S. Main St., Lyman. 360-840-4940. Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every third Thursday monthly. St. Vincent de Paul 4001 St. Mary’s Drive, Anacortes. 360-2939821. Open 10 to 11 a.m. Fridays. There is a food drop box at the office if closed. Tri-Parish Food Bank 935 Peterson Road, Burlington. 360-7570128. Open 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Donations to the Skagit County Food Bank Distribution Center, 250 W. Moore St. (Highway 20), Sedro-Woolley, are shared among the member food banks. www. or 360-416-7585.

SIDNEY HOAGLAND will show ROYAL CROWN DERBY bone china and GIEN French dinnerware as well as introduce California-made ANNIE GLASS Huge Sapphire collection from Sri Lanka. Our supplier SHEAHAN STEPHEN, who cuts the sapphires in Sri Lanka will be in our store with his amazing collection. New PER AMORE wedding rings that are truly an artform presented by MARSHALL TREAGER of Guertin Brothers, American made wedding bands.

You will enjoy this all day event on Saturday, December 1st. Each of our special guests will have money-saving offers – just for that day.

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Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Holiday shopping off to early start amid economic uncertainty Kavita Kumar St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Don’t try to tell retailers it’s too early for holiday shopping. Toys R Us stopped accepting reservations because of high demand last month for the Tabeo tablet and Wii U game console as part of its new hot-toy holiday reservations list, which allows consumers to reserve popular items for later in the season. Wal-Mart told investors last month that the company has already lined up $400 million in early holiday layaway sales in its program that launched a month earlier than last year. That is more than half the amount that shoppers put on hold in layaway at Wal-Mart during all of last year’s holiday season. Top items so far include 50-inch televisions, Apple’s iPad tablet and trampolines. But there are still a lot of question marks about this holiday shopping season, which is the most important time of the year for most retailers. The most recent jobs report, which showed that unemployment dropped to 7.8 percent in September — the first time it has dipped below 8 percent in three years — has provided some good news heading into the holidays. But lackluster economic growth — as well as the looming fiscal cliff with tax increases and deep spending cuts that could take effect early next year if Congress doesn’t reach a budget deal — is also weighing heavily on consumers, analysts say. Still, the National Retail Federation is expecting a 4.1 percent increase in holiday sales this year — its most optimistic forecast since the recession. That is below the 5.6 percent increase in actual sales during last year’s holiday season. “Overall, we would view this forecast as good news considering the variables and uncertainty that still exists in our economy and the things that are on consumers’ minds,” Matthew Shay, the president of the NRF, recently told reporters on a conference call. Retailers’ seasonal hiring looks to be on par with if not slightly larger than last year. Wal-Mart said it will bring on about 50,000 holiday workers this year — up slightly from last year. Kohl’s is boosting its holiday workforce by 10 percent to about 52,700 employees. And Macy’s is inching up its holiday hiring by 2.5 percent to about 80,000 seasonal workers.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

In total, the NRF expects retailers will hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal employees this year, which compares to 607,500 seasonal employees hired last year. One sign that consumers are still feeling a lot of economic pressures is the big response to holiday layaway programs already this year. After a strong showing to layaway programs last year, a number of retailers have dropped or lowered their upfront fees and rolled out the programs earlier than last year. In early September, Toys R Us announced it was dropping its $5 service fee on layaway orders placed through Oct. 31. Like Wal-Mart, it also started its holiday layaway program about a month earlier than last year. “To date, the number of layaway orders initiated in our stores has increased significantly over last year, a testament to how the free layaway offer is resonating with consumers,” Katie Reczek, a Toys R Us spokeswoman, wrote in an email. As for inventory levels, Shay said retailers seem to be taking a mixed approach. About a quarter to a third of stores have indicated they are boosting inventory while the same amount say they are lowering inventory, he said. “I think that wide range reflects there is still uncertainty in the economy,” he said. “People are hedging their bets.” It’s been yet another roller-coaster year for retailers, he noted. The year started off with strong sales, which then tapered off in the spring. There was a strong summer, but it has then slowed again, too. Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF’s chief economist, said the economy remains in a state of high anxiety. “And I don’t expect that anxiety to dissipate,” he said. But at the same time, he said that consumers are in some ways in a stronger position than they were last year with slightly more income, more savings on hand, and higher home values in their portfolio. “I think that certainly influences peoples’ willingness to spend because they feel a little bit Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

perhaps richer,” he said of the influence of home values. “I never count the consumer out. The economy may be in a lower gear, but as we’ve experienced, the consumer is certainly resilient.” James Russo, Nielsen’s vice president of global consumer insights, said his firm has seen this year the highest level of consumer confidence heading into the holiday season than it has seen in the past four years. “That gives us some sense that they have a cautiously optimistic approach for the holidays,” he said. “So there is some reason for hope.” Another good sign is that consumers have indicated they will not be using shopping lists as much as in the past, which means that shoppers may be more willing to make impulse buys. “During the recession, one of the things we noticed was consumers were going in with shopping lists and weren’t taking their children into the stores with them” to be more disciplined with spending, he said. “But it’s softening up.” Online is once again expected to be a big winner this holiday season. Gift cards and consumer electronics also are expected to be popular once again, Russo said. Nielsen is also expecting increased spending across a number of both gift-giving and entertaining categories during the holidays such as food and beverages. Wine sales, for example, are expected to climb 6 percent this holiday season, according to Nielsen. “We were drinking during good times and during bad times,” Russo said. But now consumers are beginning to trade up from cheaper alcoholic beverages to more premium items, he said.

Happy Holidays from our Family to Yours!

D i f f e k rence! c a l B & Come Experience the Judd

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012



Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole INGREDIENTS


2 cups mashed sweet potatoes ½ cup butter, melted ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs, lightly beaten ½ cup 2 percent milk 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup crushed cornflakes ½ cup chopped walnuts ¼ cup packed brown sugar ¼ cup butter, cubed Yield: 6 servings

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Spoon into a greased 1 1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over potatoes. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until the topping is lightly browned. * Associated Press

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Pumpkin Banana Bread INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon nutmeg ½ teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Floured baking spray 1 mashed ripe banana (about ¾ cup) 1 cup pumpkin purée ¼ cup canola oil 1 large egg 2 egg whites 2 cups all-purpose flour 2/3 cup sugar

Makes: 1 loaf (12 slices) Preparation time: 10 minutes Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 ½-by-4 ½-inch loaf pan with floured baking spray. In a large bowl, place mashed banana, pumpkin purée, oil, egg and egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to banana and pumpkin mixture and beat until just moist. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool slightly before cutting into slices. * From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per 1 slice. 196 calories (23 percent from fat), 5 grams fat (0.5 grams sat. fat), 33 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 206 mg sodium, 18 mg cholesterol, 2 grams fiber.

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Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

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Thursday, November 22, 2012


Retailers crowd shelves with holiday toys Shan Li and Adolfo Flores Los Angeles Times

With the holiday season approaching, retailers are rushing to put the latest toys on shelves and roll out extra services, all to woo parents who may be spending a bit more on Junior this year. Among the items ready to go are Lego Friends construction play sets, Monster High dolls, Batman Dark Knight action figures and collectible Squinkie Zinkies, all expected to be big sellers this year. A ghost of Christmas past — the Furby toy that resembles an owl — is reappearing this year, decked out with extra features. It’s too early for lists for Santa Claus, but hightech toys that fly, talk and even get fed using smartphones are already getting attention from retailers and parents. Merchants say they are scurrying to cater to children’s increasingly tech-savvy tastes with products including tablet computers such as the Leapfrog LeapPad 2 and Kurio, analysts said. Toys R Us recently stepped into this burgeoning market for the school-age set with its own $150 Tabeo tablet for kids. “We’re so tech-oriented that kids naturally pick up on that because we’re always on it,” said Charlene Shin, 32, a Glendale, Calif., homemaker who expects to buy more digital toys for her two kids this Christmas. “There is a direct correlation between how much time parents spend online and how much kids are aware of technology.” Technology has crept into even classic toys such as a Barbie with a built-in video camera and battery-operated cars and helicopters that are controlled by smartphone applications instead of separate remotes. Hasbro Inc.’s Furby — an electronic furry toy that made a huge splash in the late 1990s — is relaunching this holiday. With an accompanying app, for example, tablets and smartphones can be used to “feed” the toy by choosing food from a menu and flicking it from the screen into its mouth. “This season will just be another link in this chain in a massive shift toward technology” in the toy industry, said Jason Moser, a research analyst at Motley Fool. Aside from digital gadgets, kids are sure to ask for more traditional construction sets, dolls and toys linked to hit movies or TV shows, analysts said. The economy will continue to play a key role in how much and when parents spend on their kids,


Thursday, November 22, 2012

with analysts predicting the toy industry will see sales grow slightly or stay flat compared with last year’s holiday season. With U.S. retail sales totaling $21.2 billion last year, toys are big business — especially during the final months of the year, when toy merchants can rake in as much as 40 percent of their annual sales. Shoppers this year will drop an estimated $586.1 billion during that time, according to the National Retail Federation, with a healthy chunk of that holiday budget going to toys. Just this week Mattel Inc., the nation’s largest toy maker, reported a strong third quarter, boosted by sales of American Girl dolls and Fisher-Price toys. The company was upbeat going into the allimportant holidays. Merchants that carry toys typically spend much of the year researching the hottest trends, ordering and then planning promotions to persuade parents to open their wallets. This year, retailers say, consumers are likely to start seeing a blizzard of ads in the last half of November — after the presidential election wraps up and television is finally free of campaign commercials. Price remains a primary concern among budgetconscious shoppers. “Price points will still be an issue,” said Laurie Schacht, co-publisher of gift guide the Toy Insider. “Toys that fit under the $50 category, under the $25 category and even under the $10 category will be popular.” Competition is already under way among retailers eager to court children and parents earlier than ever. Best Buy Corp. promised to match prices of online competitors on select items. Target Corp. followed this week by also vowing to match prices from Web rivals Inc. and the online stores of retailers such as Toys R Us, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Best Buy. The discount chain is also adding QR codes — digital bar codes that can be scanned with a smartphone — onto some of its hot toy picks so shoppers can order the plaything right in the store Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

aisle and get it delivered to their homes. Wal-Mart extended its layaway program by one month and slashed the fee for opening an account. It has also launched Toyland Tuesdays, when prices on select toys are reduced each week. Wal-Mart spokeswoman LaToya Evans said toys are usually popular items for layaway as parents budget for the season. “Last year millions of Americans relied on layaway at Wal-Mart to provide a great holiday for their families,” Evans said. Toys R Us also offers layaway and this year rolled out a reservation program for some popular gifts well before anxious shoppers start rushing to malls. Harried parents were able to reserve them in stores until Oct. 31, pay a 20 percent deposit, then pick them up and pay the rest by Dec. 16. “We can provide customers added opportunities to alleviate stress during the holidays,” company spokeswoman Adrienne O’Hara said. “This way, you don’t have to wait in line or call the store every day” asking if an out-of-stock toy had been replenished. That will be a big help for Nichole Joubert, 42, who is budgeting about $600 to buy gifts for her three kids. The Glendale resident, who is on disability, said her extended family is more financially stable this year and expects to shell out more money to ring in the holidays. Two of her kids want their own laptops. A third wants a new Nintendo DS game console. “She just got a DS and now she wants a new one,” Joubert said. “I’m not getting it for her, but maybe her grandmother will.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS Want to send some words of encouragement, gratitude and cheer to soldiers who are on deployment or in the hospital this holiday season? The American Red Cross is collecting cards with these sentiments now until Dec. 7. The Red Cross is inviting the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer by mailing them to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 207915456. The cards are then screened, packaged and shipped off to Red Cross volunteers across the U.S. and on military installations overseas for delivery throughout the holiday season. More than 4.7 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families have been delivered since the program began in 2006. To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than Dec. 7. Individuals are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary donations or using glitter or any other kinds of inserts with the cards. More information and card requirements are at Warm Beach Camp presents:


G re a t y Holidaea! Gift Id




Cards accepted for Holiday Mail for Heroes program

We Don’t Make This Stuff Up is a compilation of some of the most interesting, and admittedly sometimes funny, calls police have answered in this community since the 1970s. Police work can be mundane, but also unpredictable – the same officer who chases a bank robber in the afternoon may have been at grandma’s house that morning helping to repair her eyeglasses. Those are the calls we focus on here – the ones that make you ask, “Really?”

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December: -Police received a report of a hysterical woman on Third Street. Officers sped to the scene and discovered a woman who was upset with her family due to a disagreement about her singing ability. Police left without giving a critique of their own. -Four Grinch’s, ages 15 and 16, went on a crime spree from Country Corner to Anacortes High School, stealing Christmas decorations and burning them in a bonfire. The four started by stealing a Santa Claus and a Marlboro sign. Then they took a 4-foot nutcracker and candy canes near St. Mary Catholic Church and another Santa near Mount Erie Elementary. A motorist got their license number before they took off toward the high school, where they found reindeer and returned to the campfire. They set up the decorations and admired them, then burned them one by one. Then they went home, where they found their parents waiting for them. A detective said the owners of the decorations may press charges and the parents of the young men would ensure them make restitution. This 112-page paperback book is available for $10 at the following locations or online now at Watermark Book Company 612 Commercial Ave Anacortes, WA

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide


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22: 5th Annual La Conner Turkey Trot, 7:30am 23: Skagit Christmas Special Exhibits - Historical Museum, till 12/31 24: Small Shop Saturday - National Shop Local Day “Christmas Tapestry” – Carol Peters, Jazz Pianist - Maple Hall, 7:30pm Holiday Tea - Arrival of Father Christmas, Christianson’s Nursery 25: Season of Giving - Benefiting Hospice of the Northwest 30: Final Friday Art Walk, 5-7pm

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Small Shop Saturday - Holiday Open House - Merchant Hosted Santa Pancake Breakfast - Maple Hall, 8:30-11am Kiwanis Craft Bazaar - La Conner Middle School, 9:30-2pm Community Tree Lighting - Gilkey Square, 5pm 2: Season of Giving - Benefiting Humane Society of Skagit County 8: Small Shop Saturday - Surprise Packages Christmas Boat Parade, 6pm 9: Season of Giving - Benefiting Boys & Girls Club Sma ll Small Town Holiday Music - Maple Hall, 2pm Shop 15: Small Shop Saturday - Tis the Season! Favorites S atur day 22: Small Shop Saturday - Wrapping It Up 721 S. First St. • La Conner • 360-466-2665

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Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

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Museum of Northwest Art 121 South First Street, La Conner Open: Sun/Mon 12-5, Tues-Sat 10-5 360.466.4446

– WeAlways have free free gift gift wrap wrap –

Skagit County HiStoriCal MuSeuM 501 S. 4th Street, La Conner, at the top of the hill 360.466.3365, Tues - Sun 11am - 5pm, $4 Adults $8 Families $3 Seniors & Children 6-12 Members & Under 6 Years Free

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Christmas Tree Guide Know what to look for when selecting a Christmas tree Know what to look for when you select a Christmas tree. The information in these tips comes from the National Christmas Tree Association. Before you set out to buy a tree, measure the space where it will be displayed so you know what height and width to select. Familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the tree varieties. If you plan to display numerous or heavy ornaments, or lights on the tree, choose a species with stiff, strong branches. Examine the trees under good lighting, and note whether the trees are stored in a manner that helps preserve their freshness. Ask the tree seller when the tree shipment was received; the longer it’s been on the lot, the less likely it is to be fresh. Test the needles of firs for freshness by bending one over your finger. A fir needle that breaks crisply is a fresh needle. Pine tree needles, which are more fibrous, bend rather than break when they are fresh; a pine needle that breaks is too dry. Beware of trees that have discolored foliage, a musty smell, wrinkled bark or excessive needle loss. These are signs of dryness and deterioration. If you have questions about tree varieties on the lot, or tree care, ask the seller. Sellers will likely have information sheets or reference sources to help answer your questions. Christmas tree species have characteristic shapes, needle textures, foliage colors and fragrances. Here are some tips to help you select the best tree for your home. Douglas fir: Its dark green or blue-green needles are soft to the touch and have a light, sweet fragrance, making it a favorite of the Christmas tree species. Noble fir: This species’ four-sided needles are bluish-green on top and silvery-white on the underside. It has a naturally symmetrical shape, and its sturdy, stiff, horizontal branches and long-lasting freshness after cutting make it highly desired. Fraser fir: Flat needles are dark green on the upper surface with silvery-white bands on the underside. This pyramid-shaped tree has a pleasant scent and strong branches great for displaying heavy ornaments or lights. Frasers are superior trees for their ability to retain needles and withstand shipping. Balsam fir: Similar to Fraser fir, the attractive trees are dark green and have long-lasting needles. Its bark has blisters that contain a fragrant, sticky resin, and the trees retain their pleasant fragrance. Grand fir: Sheared trees have a thick-foliaged appearance. Needles are arranged in two defined rows on twigs, and show both the dark green tops and silvery lower surface. It emits a strong fragrance. Blue spruce: Colors range from silvery-blue to blue-gray to bluish-white on sharp-pointed needles. Blues have a naturally symmetrical form, good needle retention, and a resinous odor. Buy them as a living Christmas tree, then they can be planted outdoors after the holidays.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

LOCAL TREE FARMS Nothing is quite like the aroma of freshly cut Christmas trees. If you are planning to select or cut your own this season, we’ve compiled a list of some local tree farms and other sites where you can choose a tree that’s perfect for you. Alan Acres Tree Farm 27314 36th Ave. N.W., Stanwood. U-cut, open 8 a.m. to sunset daily, Nov. 23 through Dec. 23. 360-629-3877 or AlPINE MEADOWS TREE FARM 3285 Valley Hwy 9 Deming, WA 98244 Anacortes Kiwanis Sunrisers at Sebo’s Do-It Center 1102 Commercial Ave., Anacortes. Pre-cut trees, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily starting Nov. 26 until sold out. 360-293-3191.

MCDOUGALL’S ENCHANTED FOREST 16387 Calhoun Road, Mount Vernon Mount Vernon Lions Club 2111 Riverside Drive, Mount Vernon Pre-cut trees by donation all hours daily (drop box open all day/night), Dec. 1-22. 360-424-1888 Papa’s U-Cut Christmas Trees 22989 Franklin Road, Mount Vernon U-cut, open from 9 a.m. to dusk daily, Nov. 24 through Dec. 24. 360-391-3582

BERRY BARN 14285 LaConner-Whitney Road, Mount Vernon


Big Lake Trees 19117 Highway 9, Mount Vernon U-cut, open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends, Nov. 23 through Dec. 17. 360-422-5124 or www.biglaketrees. com.

Schuh Farms 15565 Highway 536, Mount Vernon and 9828 Highway 532, Stanwood Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Nov. 21 through Dec. 23. 360-424-6982 or 360-629-6455.

DBC TREE FARM 16204 Calhoun Road, Mount Venron HOLIDAY FOREST 3125 280th St. N.W., Stanwood Johnson’s Christmas Trees 9865 District Line Road, Burlington U-cut, open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends, Nov. 17 through Dec. 23. 360-757-4294 McLean Road Christmas Tree Farm Corner of McLean and Penn Road 15621 Penn Road, Mount Vernon U-cut, open from 9 a.m. to dusk daily, Nov. 23 until sold out. 360-424-3829

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Tazer Valley Farm 7314 300th St. N.W., Stanwood U-cut, open 10 a.m. to dusk Thursdays through Sundays, Nov. 23 through Dec. 22. 360-391-1923 or www. Mount Baker Ranger District 810 Highway 20, Sedro-Woolley Open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, through Dec. 24, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends after Thanksgiving (Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, Dec. 8-15). 360856-5700, or

Christmas Tree Guide hOW TO CARE FOR YOUR FRESH CHRISTMAS TREE When a Christmas tree is cut, over half of its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your displayed tree. Here are some care tips for displayed trees:

1. Display trees in a traditional reservoir type stand with adequate water-holding capacity. This is the most effective way to maintain their freshness and minimize needle loss. 2. Once home, make a fresh cut perpendicular to the stem axis to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. An angle or v-shape makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and reduces the amount of water available to the tree. 3 . Place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go six to eight hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. 4 . If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water. 5 . As a general rule, indoor stands should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.

6 . Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling down the sides of the trunk to

fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.

7 . Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree.

8 . The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.

9 . Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.

10. Use lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, to reduce drying of the tree and to not overload electrical circuits. 11. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set. 12. Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed. 13. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it


from the house.

14. Go to and type in your ZIP code to find a

recycling program near you. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.

Prepared by Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric Hinesley and edited by the Scientific Research Committee of the National Christmas Tree Association.

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Shop, Dine & Celebrate

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•Wonderful Christmas Selection •Great Gifts •Gift Certificates •Complimentary Gift Wrapping 312 So. First Street, Downtown Mount Vernon • (360) 336-5598 OPEN Mon-Fri, 9-6 • Sat, 9-5

406 S. First Street Downtown Mount Vernon 360-336-9530 • M-Sat. 9:30-5:30 • Sun. 12-4

Sunday, December 16th at 3pm Tickets: $16 –$22 $ 2 off for Lincoln Members

FREE Parking at back door

360-336-8955 16

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide


Never Ordinary.

Real fun toys for kids

Loads of local soaps

and special treats to make the occasion complete!

Holiday delectables from our deli Simon G. • Jewels by Star • Steven Kretchmer Diamonds & Custom Design 401 South First • Downtown Mount Vernon • 360-336-2843


A community owned natural market since 1973 Find us on Facebook!


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Free Gift Wrapping (360) 336-5984 724 South First Street Downtown Mount Vernon

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Shop, Dine & Celebrate

in Downtown Mount Vernon High Quality Merchandise at a Fraction of Department Store Prices

Newborn to Youth 16 25%-50% OFF STORE WIDE


ng 50% Off all clothi (Excludes New Clothing) -25% off everything else



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Monday - Friday 9:30-6:00 | Saturday 9:30-5:30 | Sunday 12:00-4:00


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Jumping through hoops may Save You Money By Susan Tompor Detroit Free Press

Get ready for hoops season. No, not the NBA regular season. We’re talking about the holiday shopping season, in which consumers jump through all kinds of hoops to save money. And Peggy Houghton is one of the star players. When Houghton, 47, bought an iPad in September, she didn’t just pull out her credit card. She first drafted a play by calculating how much she’d spend, making special trips to a grocery store to buy gift cards for another store to cover the cost of the iPad and ultimately saving $2 per gallon of gas. Some shoppers might want to copy this idea if it makes sense during the holidays. Or not. Houghton hears plenty of people tell her they don’t have time to score deals like she does. She doesn’t have oodles of time, either, as a professor at Baker College in Flint, Mich., and co-creator of writing-style guides that simplify detailed manuals at But she doesn’t buy into the “No-time-to-save-money” excuses. Her blunt reply: “Do you watch TV at night?” Various promotions that will run for the holiday season — such as free layaway programs, extra reward points for online purchases or special deals on gas — can be attractive. But what are the rules? Houghton, who did work to understand the rules, was happy after she tapped into a promotion involving gift cards and gas discounts. Shoppers need to know that the Kroger promotion varies throughout the year and has different rules in different states. As for Houghton, she got lucky with some timing. After doing some advance shopping, she knew she’d spend about $1,100 on an iPad at Best Buy, given the features she wanted and a warranty. She heard Kroger was offering four times the points for discounts on gas if you bought gift cards during a limited time. She bought $500 in Best Buy gift cards from Kroger in August. And she bought another $500 in Best Buy gift cards from Kroger in September. She received 4,000 points total — or 2,000 points for each month. That gave her $2 off a gallon up to 35 gallons during a two-month period at Kroger stand-alone stations. That was a total savings of nearly $140 on gas after spending $1,000 on Best Buy gift cards at Kroger. One trick with this one: You’d only get that maximum $2 off on a gallon in one fill-up. So to boost your savings, you’d fill up when the car is closer to empty, or you’d use the car with the bigger tank. How well this works also depends on how close you are to a participating location that offers fuel through the Kroger program. At the Shell stations that take Kroger points, the most you can get off is 10 cents a gallon. “There’s a boatload of possibilities with gift cards,” Houghton said. Dale Hollandsworth, a spokesman for Kroger in Novi, Mich., said different promotions are tested in different markets. The four-times-your-points deal is a special offer that is around only a few

times a year. He would not say when it would return. But Kroger often brings it out during shopping seasons, such as back-to-school and Christmas. Typically, shoppers get two points for each dollar spent on a gift card bought at Kroger. In that case, a $500 gift card bought at Kroger would amount to 1,000 points or $1 off per gallon of gas. The key, of course, is picking up the gift cards that you’re going to use anyway — maybe Home Depot or Lowe’s if you’re buying paint to spruce up a guest room. “A lot of the younger people seem to have caught onto this gift card deal,” Hollandsworth said. He works with a man who stops at Kroger to buy gift cards — say, for an Applebee’s — every Friday evening before taking his wife out to dinner at a restaurant. “He really doesn’t go anywhere without picking up the appropriate gift card,” Hollandsworth said. He noted that a customer who has a Kroger credit card could save an extra 5 cents a gallon, too, on top of promotional points. Sure, this is a strategy that you need to manage like a business. What are you going to buy? What are you going to spend? What’s the latest deal at the supermarket or store on gift cards? Sometimes, it can work if you take the time to see how some deals, including using coupons and loyalty programs at drug stores, can interconnect — which is another savings tool that Houghton uses. The gift card one, though, was a little trickier than others. “It’s very difficult for me to even explain this to other people,” Houghton said.

WAYS TO SAVE MONEY FOR THE HOLIDAYS: • Read fine print of special promotions. Go online to see whether consumers are complaining about any drawbacks to deals. • Wal-Mart has a gas promotion through Dec. 24 that can work if you have a Wal-Mart gift card, Wal-Mart MoneyCard or Wal-Mart credit card. • With the MoneyCard or Wal-Mart credit card, a driver could save 15 cents a gallon at Wal-Mart centers. With the Wal-Mart gift card, the driver could save up to 10 cents a gallon. The discount is available at Murphy USA or Wal-Mart gas stations at Wal-Mart stores. • To free up disposable income, stop spending on some items that aren’t necessities in October, November and December to create more room in your budget. • Pay attention to coupons in the paper and at online sites. If traveling for Thanksgiving, make sure to bring coupons that could work along the way. If driving, consider options for saving money on gas during the trip, too. Susan Tompor is the personal finance columnist for the Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Holiday Calendar “SCROOGE The Musical”: Enjoy a ghostly holiday tale based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 16Dec. 9, at Seattle Musical Theatre, 7400 Sand Point Way, Seattle. $35-$40. 206-363-2809 or HOLIDAY ART AND GIFT SHOW: The Skagit Art Association’s second annual Holiday Art and Gift Show will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 14-30, at 177 Cascade Mall Drive, Burlington. Choose from a wide variety of original artworks, including paintings, photos, fused glass, jewelry, woodworking, fiber arts and more. Enjoy artist demonstrations, live music, kids’ crafts and more. Free admission. PHOTOS WITH THE GRINCH: Bring the family for photos with the Grinch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23-25, at Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham. Get a photo CD for $10. 360-671-2626 or FESTIVAL OF TREES GALA: The Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation’s 24th annual Festival of Trees Gala Auction is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at St. Joseph Center, 215 N. 15th St., Mount Vernon. The black-tie Gala and Auction includes hors d’oeuvres and beverages, live music and a live auction of more than two dozen designer-decorated trees and other items. $85 until Nov. 16, then $100. Proceeds will benefit a project to enhance and upgrade the Cardiac Care Services Special Observation Unit at Skagit Valley Hospital. The Festival of Trees will be open for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at St. Joseph Center, 215 N. 15th St., Mount Vernon. View more than two dozen designer-decorated trees and enjoy kids’ activities, live entertainment, photos with Santa and more. $5 adults, $3 children ages 18 and younger, $2 seniors. 360-814-5747.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Meta Performing Arts will perform Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story Nov. 23-Dec. 2, at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. $10-$25. Thursday, Nov. 29, is a special “pay-what-you-can” performance, with tickets on sale that day at the box office. 360-416-7727, ext. 2, or SKAGIT CHRISTMAS: Check out special exhibits showing how early Skagitonians celebrated the Yuletide season Nov. 23Dec. 21, at the Skagit County Historical Museum, 501 S. Fourth St., La Conner. Enjoy story times with Mrs. Claus, carol singing, gingerbread houses and more. Free with museum admission. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. $4, $3 seniors and children ages 6 to 12, $8 families, free for members and children ages 5 and younger. 360-466-3365 or “A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Seattle’s ACT Theatre presents Dickens’ classic holiday tale Nov. 23-Dec. 30, at The Allen Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle. Showtimes vary. $27-$55 plus applicable fees. 206292-7676 or WINTERFEST: Enjoy six weeks of free and affordable activities and entertainment beginning Friday, Nov. 23, continuing through Jan. 6, at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle. Visit Center House for free performances of music and comedy, jazz and dance, cultural celebrations, ice sculpting, student showcases and more. The Winterfest Ice Rink will be open daily (except Christmas) Nov. 23 through Jan 6, offering skating for all ages. $2-$7. For information, including a complete schedule of events, call 206-684-7200 or visit VISIT FATHER CHRISTMAS: Kids can visit with Father Christmas in his bright red sleigh from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at Christianson’s Nursery, 15806 Best Road, Mount Vernon. A professional photographer will be on hand to capture the occasion or take your own photos. No reservations required. 360466-3821 or www.christiansonsnursery. com.

HOLIDAY CONCERT: La Conner Institute of Performing Arts will present pianist Carol Peters at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at Maple Hall, 104 Commercial Ave., La Conner. Peters will play a “Christmas Tapestry” with jazz gospel/rhythm & blues arrangements of Christmas classics interwoven with readings and poetry. $15-$17. Youth ages 17 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult, based on availability. 360-466-2665 or PICTURES WITH SANTA: noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at Skagit Valley Gardens, 18923 Peter Johnson Road, Mount Vernon. Bring the kids for photos with Santa. Enjoy hot cider, cookies and more. Free, but donations will be accepted to benefit The Friendship House in Mount Vernon. 360-424-6760 or CHRISTMAS PARADE, TREE LIGHTING: Enjoy the holiday parade at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, down First Street in downtown Mount Vernon. Following the parade, greet Santa at the ceremonial tree lighting in Pine Square. Free. 360-3363801 or TREE LIGHTING, ARRIVAL OF SANTA: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at Alpha Park on Fairhaven Ave., Burlington. Santa Claus will arrive to light the tree, followed by caroling, cider and treats at the new Burlington Skagit County Regional Byway Center. 360-757-0994.

AN IMPROVISED CHRISTMAS CAROL: 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, Nov. 29-Dec. 30, at Intiman Playhouse, 201 Mercer St., Seattle. “An Improvised Christmas Carol” brings Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic to the stage with a twist. The audience gives suggestions up front, and Unexpected Productions’ improvisers use the suggestions to tell an all new tale of how Christmas can (or can’t) change Ebenezer Scrooge’s life! $15 plus applicable fees. 800-838-3006 or NORTH WHIDBEY FESTIVAL OF TREES: The event will take place from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, Nov. 30, at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge, 155 Ernst St. The black-tie event includes dinner, silent and live auctions of professionally decorated tree and other items, music and dancing. $75 until Nov. 1, then $85. Proceeds benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County. 360-279-0644 or www. • Festival of Trees public viewing: Enjoy a walk through the forest of intricately decorated trees from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge, 155 Ernst St. Music and refreshments. Admission by donation to benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County.

“FrUiTCaKeS”: Enjoy performances of this touching holiday tale Thursdays through Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 22, at The Whidbey Playhouse, 730 SE Midway Blvd., Oak Harbor. Mix together a batch of fruitcakes, three dozen Christmas THE LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS: More trees, 10,000 outdoor Christmas lights, a than a million Christmas lights will be chicken pox epidemic, two southern spindisplayed at the 16th annual Lights of sters, an estranged old man, a lost cat Christmas, from 5 to 10 p.m., Nov. 29Dec. 2, Dec. 6-9, 13-16, 18-23 and 26-29, named Tutti Frutti and a Christmas hog named Buster and you’ve got the recipe at Warm Beach Camp, 20800 Marine for a fun-filled and touching evening filled Drive, Stanwood. Spread over 15 acres, with holiday cheer. Into this world comes the largest holiday light display in the Jamie, a kid who has run away from home Northwest also features family-oriented and come as far as his money will take entertainment, live music, theater, crafts, food, pony rides, a petting farm, Polar Ex- him. At first he thinks this town’s inhabitants are “nuttier than fruitcakes.” press Train rides and overnight getaway $16. 360-679-2237 or www.whidbeyplayoptions. Meet Santa Claus or talk with “Bruce the Spruce” Christmas tree. Gen- eral admission: $9-$15. ‘Pay-what-youcan’ nights are offered Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and 29. Season passes available. Theater events are extra. Call 800-228-6724 or visit

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Holiday Calendar CHILDREN’S SHOPPING EXTRAVAGANZA: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Skylight Room at Hillcrest Park Lodge, 1717 S. 13th St., Mount Vernon. Kids can shop for holiday gifts for everyone in the family — all priced at $5 or less. 360-336-6215. JOIN SANTA FOR BREAKFAST: Enjoy pancakes and ham from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Hillcrest Lodge, 1717 S. 13th St., Mount Vernon. Bring your camera for photos with Santa. $5. 360336-6215. LIGHTED CHRISTMAS PARADE: The Sedro-Woolley Lighted Christmas parade will get under way at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, through downtown Sedro-Woolley. Events begin with pony and train rides for kids from 3 to 5 p.m. followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree and the parade. After the parade, kids can pose for pictures with Santa. 360-855-1841 or JINGLE BELL RUN/WALK: 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Moose Lodge, 813 S. First St., Mount Vernon. Join the fifth annual run/walk to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. There’s also a 1K Run With the Elves for kids ages 11 and younger. Dogs are welcome. For information or to register, visit PANCAKE BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: La Conner Rotary will host the annual Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Maple Hall, 104 Commercial St., La Conner. Join Santa for pancakes and more. $8. SANTA PAWS: Mark your calendar for a great photo opportunity with Santa at two locations of Skagit Farmers Supply Country Store on Saturday, December 1. We will be at the Burlington Skagit Farmers Supply Country Store at 1276 South Burlington Blvd. from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. From 3:00 pm until 5:00 pm, we will be at the Sedro Woolley Skagit Farmers Supply Country Store at 917 Moore Street, Sedro Woolley (on SR 20, just east of SR 20/SR 9 on the south side of SR 20). What better gift to give your friends and family than a photo of you and your best

friend with Santa! We welcome all dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, parrots and more. You supply the pet and we supply the Santa hat, reindeer ears or other Christmas accessories for the perfect festive photo. The nicely framed photo is printed on site for a cost of $10. All proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Skagit Valley. Donations of pet food will be accepted at both locations to help the shelter and needy pets in the community. So, take your pick of locations, but don’t miss this photo opportunity! Hope to see you there! TEDDY BEAR AND CHARACTER BREAKFAST: Seatings at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge, 155 Ernst St. Enjoy a buffet breakfast and child-friendly holiday show featuring Frosty the Snowman, Santa and Buddy the Elf. $10 ages 13 and older, $5 ages 12 years and younger. Bring a new teddy bear or other stuffed animal to donate to a child in crisis. Proceeds benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County. Register by Monday, Nov. 28. 360-279-0644 or AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center, 27130 102nd Ave. NW, Stanwood. Kids are invited to get free photos with Santa, lots of goodies, crafts, music and more. Free. 360-629-0562. COMMUNITY TREE LIGHTING: Join the fun from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Gilkey Square, in La Conner. Enjoy singing, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus arriving by antique fire truck. Free. 360-466-4778. PHOTOS WITH THE GRINCH: Bring the family for photos with the Grinch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1-2, at Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham. Get a photo CD for $10. 360-671-2626 or HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE: Join Santa Claus aboard the Lake Whatcom Railway’s Christmas train at 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 1-22, leaving from Wickersham, 10 miles north of Sedro-Woolley on Highway 9. Meet

Santa and his elf, sing Christmas carols and enjoy music by Ben the banjo player. $20 ages 18 and older, $10 ages 2 to 17, free for ages 1 and younger. Tickets must be purchased in advance from Lake Whatcom Railway, P.O. Box 91, Acme, WA 98220. When ordering tickets, give a second and third choice of date and time, as the train rides often sell out. 360-5952218 or

CELTIC CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION: Enjoy Geoffrey Castle’s Celtic Christmas Celebration at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Concrete Theatre, 45920 Main St., Concrete. $20. 360-941-0403 or

HOLIDAY LIGHTS & SHOPPING: Join Mount Vernon Parks and Recreation for a holiday tour of Country Village and Garden D’Lights from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, departing from HOLIDAY CONCERT: The 16th anHillcrest Park, 1717 S. 13th St., Mount nual Skagit Habitat for Humanity benefit concert will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Vernon. Visit the historic Country Village Shops in Bothell, home to more than Dec. 2, at Salem Lutheran Church, 2529 40 quaint boutiques, specialty stores N. LaVenture Road, Mount Vernon. Free and cafes. After exploring the holidayadmission, donations will benefit Skagit decorated shops and enjoying a no-host Habitat for Humanity. 360-428-9402 or late lunch/early dinner, head over to the Garden D’Lights, comprised of more than PICTURES WITH SANTA: noon to 4 p.m. half a million tiny lights, which transform Sunday, Dec. 2, at Skagit Valley Gardens, the Bellevue Botanical Garden into a 18923 Peter Johnson Road, Mount Verblossoming winter wonderland. $53-$55. non. Bring the kids for photos with Santa. Register by Dec. 5. Enjoy hot cider, cookies and more. Free, but donations will be accepted to benefit NATIVITY FESTIVAL: Check out hundreds of nativity displays, live music and The Friendship House in Mount Vernon. more at the Arlington Nativity Festival 360-424-6760 or www.skagitvalleygarThursday through Sunday, Dec. 6-9, at The Church of Jesus Christ of LatterSING-ALONG MESSIAH: The SaraDay Saints, 17222 43rd Ave. NE, Arlingtoga Chamber Orchestra will present a ton. The non-denominational event will community sing-along of G.F. Handel’s include nativity displays from around the “Messiah” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, world, holiday music by local musicians, at First Reformed Church, 250 SW Third decorated Christmas trees, a live nativity Ave., Oak Harbor, and again at 7 p.m. at scene, refreshments, children’s activities, Trinity Lutheran Church, 18341 Highway a dress-up photography room and more. 525, Freeland. Audience members will be Festival hours are 4 to 8:30 p.m. Thursinvited to sit within sections arranged by day and Friday, noon to 8:30 p.m. Saturvoice range and participate in singing the day, and 3 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6-9. chorus sections of the “Messiah.” Bring a A special choral concert will take place vocal score if you own one or rent one for at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free $3. Singing is not required; listeners are admission. welcome, too. Donations will be ed at the door. 360-221-2353 or www. CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: Celebrate the lighting of the community Christmas PICTURES WITH SANTA: noon to 4 p.m. tree from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Sunday, Dec. 2, at Skagit Valley Gardens, Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, 819 18923 Peter Johnson Road, Mount VerCommercial Ave. The town crier and stunon. Bring the kids for photos with Santa. dents from Anacortes High School, Fidalgo Enjoy hot cider, cookies and more. Free, and Island View schools will perform. Free but donations will be accepted to benefit pictures with Santa and hot cocoa and The Friendship House in Mount Vernon. cookies from the American Red Cross. 360-424-6760 or www.skagitvalleygarFree. 360-293-7911.

Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Holiday Calendar CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: Celebrate the lighting of the community Christmas tree from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, 819 Commercial Ave. The town crier and students from Anacortes High School, Fidalgo and Island View schools will perform. Free pictures with Santa and hot cocoa and cookies from the American Red Cross. Free. 360-293-7911. SWING INTO THE HOLIDAYS: The Economic Development Association of Skagit (EDASC) will host a dinner, dance and auction at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Swinomish Lodge, 12885 Casino Drive, Anacortes. Dress in your festive holiday attire and enjoy a social hour with music by the An-O-Chords beginning at 6 p.m., followed by an elegant catered dinner, lively auction bidding, entertainment and dancing to the sounds of Swingtime Express. $75, $575 table of eight. 360-336-6114 CHRISTMAS CONCERT: “On a Cold Winter’s Night”: Cantabile of Skagit Valley will celebrate the holiday season in song with two area performances: Friday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., Anacortes Christian Church, 1211 M Ave., Anacortes. Saturday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 415 S. 18th St., Mount Vernon. Admission by donation. “THE NUTCRACKER”: Skagit Valley Academy of Dance presents the 23rd annual performance of this class Christmas story Friday through Sunday, Dec. 7-9, at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. 360-416-7727, ext. 2, or

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: Enjoy a pancake breakfast, live entertainment and a chance to meet Santa from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Anacortes Senior Activity Center, 1701 22nd St., Anacortes. $5. 360-293-1900 or

south along the waterfront and ending up in Shelter Bay. This year’s theme is “Northern Lights.” 360-466-4902 or TIP: Most restaurants along the channel require reservations during the parade.

CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR: The fourth annual Oak Harbor Soroptimist Christmas Home Tour will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. The tour includes five homes located around Oak Harbor. Sample a special homemade cookie and pick up a recipe card at each home. $15. Proceeds benefit Soroptimist programs for women and girls. Tickets are available at The Casual House, McBride’s Hallmark, or call Barb at 360-679-8531.

THE NUTCRACKER: Fidalgo DanceWorks will perform this beloved holiday tradition at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at Anacortes High School’s Brodniak Hall, 1600 20th St., Anacortes. The production features dazzling ballerinas, a heartstopping battle and an enchanted sleigh ride through a winter wonderland to a magic kingdom of living treats where the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns. $10-$15. 360-299-8447 or visit

CHRISTMAS PARADE: The Anacortes Lions Club’s annual Christmas Parade will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, along Commercial Avenue to Causland Memorial Park in Anacortes. Line-up begins at 10 a.m.

PHOTOS WITH THE GRINCH: Bring the family for photos with the Grinch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8-9, at Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham. Get a photo CD for $10. 360-671-2626 or

HOLIDAY HOME TOUR: The 20th anniversary tour will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, starting from the Sedro-Woolley Museum, 725 Murdock St. Participating homes will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Enjoy historic homes decorated for the holidays, Christmas music and more. Pick up a walking tour guidebook at the Museum. Bring a flashlight. $5. Advance tickets are available at Oliver-Hammer or at the Museum. 360-855-0203.

AFTERNOON WITH SANTA: Spend an afternoon with Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Balloon Man and a life-sized living Christmas bear at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Camano Center, 606 Arrowhead Road, Camano Island. Kids of all ages can enjoy a variety of holidaythemed activities. Free. 360-387-0222 or

LIGHTED BOAT PARADE: The Swinomish Yacht Club’s annual Lighted Boat Parade will get under way around 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, departing from the north basin of the Port of Skagit marina in La Conner, turning

WONDERLAND WALK: Enjoy Christmas lights, caroling and hot cocoa from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15, at Washington Park, 6300 Sunset Ave., Anacortes. The park will be decorated in Christmas lights. Free. 360-293-1918 or

HOLIDAY CONCERT: Fidalgo Youth Symphony will present its Holiday Concert at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. Enjoy a variety of Christmas and holiday music performed by young musicians ages 5 to 21. $15 adults, $10 seniors, $1 for children and students. 360-416-7727, 866-624-6897 or WINTER CELEBRATION: Fidalgo DanceWorks will present its annual winter dance concert at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Anacortes High School’s Brodniak Hall, 1600 20th St., Anacortes. Dancers of all ages will perform a tribute to the season in a variety of dance forms, from modern and jazz to tap, hip hop, and more. $10. 360-299-8447 or CELTIC CHRISTMAS COMMUNITY CONCERT: The third annual Anacortes Celtic Christmas Community Celebration featuring violinist Geoffrey Castle will take place at 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Transit Shed Event Center, 100 Commercial Ave., Anacortes. The 4 p.m. matinee show will be geared toward families with children. Food and beverages available. General admission is free, with a suggested donation of $20 to the Rick Epting Foundation for the Arts, or a new unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item to benefit Toys for Tots and local food banks. Reserved seating is available for a suggested donation of $25 through Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006 For information, call 360-293-3134.


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Thursday, November 22, 2012

| Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Holiday Calendar LIGHTED BOAT FLOTILLA: Decorated boats will parade up and down the Guemes Channel beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, starting from Cap Sante Boat Haven in Anacortes. Subject to rough weather. 360-293-3134. HOLIDAY SYMPHONY CONCERT: The Skagit Symphony and Skagit Symphony Chorus will present the annual holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. The program will feature soloists Katherine and Bronn Journey. Roupen Shakarian conducts the orchestra, and Dave Cross conducts the Skagit Symphony Chorus. Advance tickets: $20-$40 from the McIntyre Hall box office, 360-416-7727 or 866-624-6897. For more information, visit “HERALDING CHRISTMAS”: The Skagit Valley Chorale, accompanied by Sinfonia 1685, will present its annual holiday choral performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. $16-$25. Discounts available for seniors and students. 360-416-7727 or PHOTOS WITH THE GRINCH: Bring the family for photos with the Grinch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15-16, at Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham. Get a photo CD for $10. 360-671-2626 or

KIDS’ CHRISTMAS PARTY/PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Christ The King Community Church will present a Christmas party and dinner for kids ages 4 through sixth grade from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Sedro-Woolley Community Center, 703 Pacific St., Sedro-Woolley. Parents can drop off the kids and spend an evening out on their own. $5 per child. Registration required. 360-853-2039 or

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HOLIDAY CONCERT: Bronn and Katherine Journey and friends will present their 31st annual Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 17, at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. In addition to traditional Christmas classics, the evening will include Broadway, folk, classical and sacred music. $20-$24. 360-416-7727 or WINTER CONCERT: The Mount Vernon High School Choirs will present their Winter Concert at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. $6-$8. Some discounts available for the 4 p.m. performance. 360-416-7727 or “THE NUTCRACKER”: Northwest Ballet Theatre: Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 22-23, at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon. $20-$30. 360-416-7727 or PHOTOS WITH THE GRINCH: Bring the family for photos with the Grinch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22-23, at Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham. Get a photo CD for $10. 360-671-2626 or

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Skagit Valley Herald • Holiday Guide

Thursday, November 22, 2012


SVH Holiday Guide | November 23, 2012  

The SVH Holiday Guide features local stories, events and gift ideas.

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