12 Days of Christmas - The Portland To-Do List!
The air is crisp, the leaves have fallen and the rains are back (although it feels like they never left). October flew by and slowly all the surroundings are gearing up for the most festive season of the year. Christmas!
Over the years of living in the Portland area, I have developed somewhat of an ultimate Christmas activity list to get you in the holiday spirit and enjoy the most of this rainy festive season. Feel free to add to it!
These activities are not in a priority order, but I do love a numbered list. :)
As soon I see flakes appear in the weather forecast for Mt.Hood, I head on over to the Timberline Lodge website and start scouting the webcams on their site to see snow conditions to plan a trip up to the mountain. Aside from going up to mountain for snowboarding/snowshoeing, it's become a tradition now to drive up early morning (or stay the night at the lodge) at least once during the holiday season. At the lodge we enjoy the beautiful views of the mountain and have breakfast at the altitude of 6,000 ft., have a cup of their signature hot cocoa in front the fireplace and the giant Christmas tree the lodge puts up in the lobby. Plus, if lucky, run into their St.Bernard mascot to get some puppy therapy.
With the cozy cabin feel of the lodge, the Christmas ambiance and white flurries outside, it's one of my favorite winter activities.
2. Go to the Pioneer Square Christmas Tree Lighting
After you completed your black Friday shopping spree... Grab your squad, BFF, kids, spouse, significant other or your neighbors dog and head to downtown to kick off the Christmas season in PDX! It's gonna be "lit" as the youth say.
November 25th, 5:30 - 6:30 PM. Grab a hot cocoa, or if you're in the giving mood grab an extra one to spread the holiday cheer. ;)
3. Zoo Lights
Instead of making a zoo in your front yard with the herd of lit up deer and snowmen, (and causing a power outage for entire neighborhood)...leave the job to the professionals who deck out the Oregon Zoo with a million light bulbs to bring dazzling animal and festive holiday displays to life.
Save your energy (literally ha ha) for the sprints you'll be doing on Christmas Eve thru the mall to grab that last present on your list.
4. Pittock Mansion
Here's another reason for you local folks to go to the Pittock Mansion for a second time in your life. The Mansion and it's 23 rooms become transformed to a Christmas fairytale of the 1920's rich folk with vintage decor and it's intricate details.
5. The Grotto - Festival of Lights
Garden of lights, and beautiful sounds of the various choir performances as they echo through the Grotto. A peaceful escape from the holiday traffic and chaos. Great family entertainment as well with a petting zoo, puppet show and caroling.
Do not leave your children alone sitting on top of the cute lambs, unless you want them to be the next YouTube star. Just don't leave them on top of a lamb period (I'm sure your kid as much as that lamb will be terrified of that idea), that Instagram picture isn't worth it. The visit to the Grotto is.
6. Peacock Lane & Christmas Ships
The street that probably deserves it's own seasonal reality TV-show. Come see how the residents of Peacock lane compete with each other for the best front yard light displays.
I'd hate to live on that street however, talk about peer pressure to dress your house up!
If you would rather sit in one spot instead of walking around, you can go to the river front and watch the ships go sailing by with decorated lights! See their schedule here:
7. Portland Christian Christmas Concert
If you love music like I do, you'll appreciate a good orchestra performance. A night to dress up, grab your folks and wonder why you ever gave up on those piano lessons. That could've been you on stage...
A production of 300 singers & live orchestra & best part- it's FREE.
HOWEVER, you have to order tickets online as seating is limited.
Get your fancy holiday clothes out, your opera glasses & grab strong coffee before hand to prevent your husband from falling asleep to enjoy this classic ballet performance.
BTW the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is my favorite! Maybe because it reminds me of the "Home Alone" movie series. Both classics.
No, it's not an actual singing Christmas tree, sorry to disappoint you... BUT it is a great performance of talented in singers standing in the shape of one!
10. Trans-Siberian Orchestra
This show will blow your socks off. Orchestra & electric guitar combined? Yes please!
A musical twist on the classics complete with a fireworks show. You will definitely have ringing of the bells in your head long after the show.
11. Follow the Star - Nativity Story Live Set
Go back to the ancient times, to the city of Nazareth and see the real meaning behind Christmas. Spoiler alert - it's not Santa Claus.
Follow the story from the begging set by set with live gladiators, singing angels, and much more. So surreal that I've seen 6 year old shed a tear or two... Not sure if was of fright or amazement when the angel showed up to tell the news to the sheep herders.
Please beware it is an outdoor event, bring your mittens.
12. Polar Express - An actual train ride.
If you've read the story book, you can experience it for real complete with golden train tickets. Wear your pajamas, sip hot cocoa and go on a festive train ride to the "North Pole". Your kids will enjoy it! Maybe you will too, depending how strong your hot cocoa is haha. Just kidding.