Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting

Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting 2016

My cousins, friends, two beagles and I rented this gorgeous, cozy cabin in Leavenworth last weekend. Fully furnished with an air hockey table and arcade system in the upstairs loft, an outdoor jacuzzi and all the SmartTV options you can imagine, we cozied in for three days and two nights of unadulterated RELAXING.

Our weekend was filled with games, movies, stand-up comedy, incredible food (my cousins Truong and Nhi are amazing cooks!), and LOTS and lots of naps. Taking naps in a remote and cozy cabin surrounded by snow is kind of awesome.

It wasn’t my first time to Washington State’s own little Bavarian village, but it was my first time visiting during the holiday season. And it was a sight to behold – a spectacle!

All throughout December, crowds convene all over Leavenworth to frolic in the snow, go sledding, meet Santa, shop for kitschy goods, ride a horse carriage…and of course, eat bratwurst and indulge in German (and non-German) libations.

I would spend most of my time sipping mulled wine, a comforting blend of warmed Cabernet (or Syrah, if you prefer) and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and orange zest; a touch of honey.

It was a whopping 14 degrees when I was there, so drinking mulled wine would quickly become my choice activity. That and staying as warm as possible!

Here’s me defrosting at Icicle Ridge Winery. The irony is not lost on me.

Here’s David warming up at one of the village’s pop-up fire pits, which sooo came in handy.

Here are my cousins (real and honorary), donning their dapper duds and alpine hats:

And how cute are these shivering chihuahuas:

The day’s frigid and merry and I obsess over icicles. Honest to goodness icicles. They blew my mind.

But it’s at sunset, that the real magic happens…

Hundreds (maybe thousands?) gather in the town center for a ceremonious Christmas tree lighting like I’ve never seen in my life.

As we await just the right amount of darkness, a hush falls over the crowd.

And bundled in our hats and scarves, our noses red from the chill…we sing Silent Night.

I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed. It’s been a tough year with a lot of world turmoil. And here we were in this moment, with this peaceful crowd. Singing Silent Night.

All three verses.

Which, of course, no one knew. Hehe.

Moments later, all of Leavenworth is lit up with millions of lights. I’m talking, the entire town center: the shops, the restaurants, the gazebo, the horse carriages, the hotels nearby, every window, every street corner…and of course, the trees!

It was incredible! I highly recommend a visit. This may very well become an annual tradition.

A few tips for the Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting: it’s freaking cold and it’s freaking crowded.

  • Dress for the winter apocalypse, minus your weapons.
  • Wear VERY warm gloves and make sure to wear earmuffs or a stocking cap.
  • Hot Hands are handy!
  • Book early, and stay in a hotel in the town center, if possible.
  • If you must drive (like we did) – arrive early, and park as far away as possible. If you can handle a 10-minute walk or so, you’ll be glad you did when you see the hundreds of cars trying to leave the area afterwards! We sat in traffic for an hour to get out of town to head back to our cabin.
  • Drink mulled wine. It will warm your insides and your soul.

Interested? Here are the details:

Event: Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting
Location: Leavenworth, WA
Date: Every December, first three weekends (both Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 4:30pm

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