The Ho! Ho! Ho! holidays are all over Edmonds.

So much to explore and enjoy, best shared with family. Where to start?

Tree Lighting Ceremony returns!

The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony (yes, it’s back on!) kicks off the festivities in style Sat., Nov. 27, 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m., at Centennial Plaza, 5th Ave. N. and Bell St. My Edmonds News publisher Teresa Wippel emcees the event, with the traditional appearance of Santa (and Emily the Elf, 1:30-3:30 pm, at nearby Edmonds Historical Museum), lots of treats and beverages, and donation drives.

Look for Bench and Board artist/owner Jill Hall and her evergreen wreaths. Part of the proceeds of sales will go to the Edmonds Food Bank. If you can’t make the tree lighting, you can pre-order them online.

Title sponsor: Certa Law Group, PS.

Afterwards, head to the Masonic Lodge, 515 Dayton St., for the after-party, 5:15 p.m.-7 p.m., and take a picture with Santa.

Bug out a little early for a quick bite at The MAR•KET on 508 Main St. before it closes at 8 p.m. Sourdough bread bowl chowder and fish and chips will hit the spot.

Venture out of downtown for a spell.

Take a ferry ride to Kingston and catch a rainbow, and an orca or two surfacing in the glistening sea. Say hi to Wesley, the resident Anna's Hummingbird of Edmonds Marsh, a well-known wildlife sanctuary. Head down to the Pier and maybe spy a bald eagle (Edmonds boasts three nesting pairs) swooping down to steal fish straight out of a seagull's mouth. 

See Murphy, the Mbu Puffer Fish mascot at Aquarium Co-Op (9661 Firdale Ave.). Grab a pair of binoculars and spot the actual bald eagles' nests high above the chimney tops of hillside homes nearby. Do some trainspotting by Marina Beach, while your children build driftwood forts, skip rocks, and pretend to be astronauts, rocketing off into space from the comfort of the playground.

Slurp Yua Ramen noodles (99 Ranch Market, 22511 Hwy. 99), share a giant Milkie Milkie (23830 Hwy. 99) bingsoo (Korean shave ice), team up to beat the clock in the Entangled Escape Rooms (21300 68th Ave. W.), and challenge each other on arcade games, like Super Mario Bros., at Another Castle Video Games (23303 Hwy. 99) — all in Edmonds’ International District (the Holiday Trolley will visit Uptown for two Sundays in December...more below).

Serious shopping begins in downtown Edmonds.

A suggestion before doing any serious holiday shopping. Go over to the Edmonds Downtown Alliance (Ed!) website and study the “2021 Edmonds Holiday Gift Guide” for super-great finds.

Okay, two suggestions. Do a family gift exchange and spread out, starting at The Wishing Stone, everyone’s go-to store for crystals, gems, and fossilized treasures.

Lots of stores and restaurants are offering holiday and anniversary specials and discounts throughout Nov.-Dec. too, including The Wishing Stone and Fire and The Feast. Definitely worth noting.

Then, make a weekend of it every weekend

Holiday Market and Trolley make shopping fun and easy.

Arrive early every Sat. morning in time for the annual open-air Holiday Market and Holiday Trolley to get you where you wanna go.

The next Holiday Market is Dec. 4, and every Sat. before Christmas, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the same general location as the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Browse, snack, and load up on artisan gifts. Over 60 vendors to choose from, for everyone on your list.

After you’ve had your fill at the Holiday Market, hop on the Holiday Trolley, which starts rockin’ and rollin’ at 11 a.m., and meet Emily the Elf in all her cheerful glory. In its 7th season, the trolley makes several stops throughout downtown Edmonds and the waterfront, as Emily the Elf plays tour guide. Hop off and stroll around, there are plenty of boutiques, shops, galleries, and restaurants to check out...or linger awhile longer. Your call.

This year, the trolley will also visit various points in the Uptown area for two Sundays (Dec. 12, 19), starting and ending at the Hwy. 99 Safeway parking lot.

Trolley runs every 30 minutes.

Schedule: Downtown Edmonds, Sat., Dec. 4, 11, 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Uptown Edmonds, Sun. Dec. 12, 19, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

But wait, there's more!

Take part in Ed!’s Ornament Stroll Shopping Event — new this year. Spend $40+ at any one of the 21 participating businesses and receive a festive, unique ornament. (Limit one ornament per person, while supplies last.) Collect them all and share on social media with #edmondsholidays. It’s the local merchants’ way of saying thanks for your business. Ed! has all the info, including a list of those participating local businesses.

Take everyone to Santa Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina, btw, for tacos, burritos, and chicken strips, and snag an ornament. They’re on the list!

All that shopping works up an appetite, doesn’t it?

Kids can grab delicious Canarino Gelato for dessert and say hi to Santa in his workshop behind the plexiglass, 203 5th Ave. S. #4, Nov. 27-Dec. 19, Thurs.-Sun., and Dec. 20-23, every day, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Book early to guarantee a session, appointments only. (He’ll also be behind the window of Sound Styles, 100 5th Ave. N., Dec. 11 and 18, noon-2 p.m. Safely wave and pose for pics with him from outside.)

Visit Edmonds also has “Dining for the Whole Family,” featuring plenty of other kid-friendly options (brunch, Italian, poke, burgers), if you’re still undecided.

Break up all that shopping and dining with a few other holiday attractions:

And hey, if you’ve bought a lot, and you will, save some time…take all your packages to Rogue and let the holiday elves wrap them for you nice and pretty. For a good cause, too — Edmonds-Woodway Class of 2022 Safe and Sober Grad Night. $2-$5 per item donation. The gift-wrapping fundraiser happens Saturdays, Dec. 4, 11, 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Rogue is located on 112 5th Ave. S.

Before you leave for the day, be sure to drop off your Letters to Santa at the big red-and-white mailbox in front of the log cabin Visitor Center, 120 5th Ave. N. You have till Dec. 16, 5 p.m., for a reply from St. Nick himself. Sponsor: Bench and Board.

Find more festive things to do with your family at Edmonds Holidays’ Holiday Events Calendar.

Feature photo, Sugg Family: Matt Hulbert

Additional photos by Matt Hulbert and Carol Banks Weber: Emily the Elf, more of the Sugg Family enjoying the holidays in Edmonds, Santa’s Mailbox, Susan Babcock’s 2012 “Winter Walk” mural, Teri’s ToyboxLittle BipsyCline JewelersGarden Gear & GallerycrowCole Gallery’s Nov. exhibit, “A Gathering of Friends” by Michelle Waldele, Bench & Board.