Every parent can relate this time of year. You’re frantically trying to hunt down that perfect gift, squeeze in a Santa visit, and bake Pinterest quality cookies, all while trying to create magical memories your kids will remember for a lifetime. Just thinking about it can be exhausting. But one visit to Warm Beach Camp’s The Lights of Christmas will take that last item (and more) off your holiday to-do list. Read on for the inside scoop on this cant-miss holiday extravaganza.

photo: Angela Alanis

Lights, Lights, and more Lights!
With over one million lights covering every tree, cabin, and gingerbread man, walking into The Lights of Christmas may be the next best thing to walking into the North Pole. Eyes will be twinkling as you take in Santa’s elves and sugar plums, scenic mountains, even a lighthouse scene. As you wander to the sounds of holiday music, you may even start to think you’ve walked into one of those wonderfully cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies we’re all secretly obsessed with this time of year.

Don’t have the energy to fight another big holiday crowd? The lights at Warm Beach are spread over 15 acres so even at peak times there’s plenty of room for a stroller or to safely let your toddler explore a few feet ahead.

photo: Angela Alanis

Other Activities to Do and See 
If the amazing spectacle of lights isn’t enough to thoroughly hypnotize your little ones, take a ride on the Polar Express train or chat with Bruce the Spruce, the talking Christmas tree. Stop and take a picture with Frosty who is often seen strolling by, cruise by the petting farm, go on a pony ride or take in a holiday show (or two) at one of five entertainment stages . If you want to achieve the elusive “two birds with one stone,” Santa Claus will be on site just awaiting to hear the minis wish lists. And if you still have some holiday shopping to do, be sure to stop by the Toy Shop, Joyland Ornament Shop and gift shops. Psst! If all these activities make you hungry, follow the heavenly smell of fresh homemade donuts that will make any kid wait patiently in line for a sugary bite (OK, maybe Warm Beach can’t perform a Christmas miracle, but the donuts are really good and well worth the wait).

photo: Angela Alanis

5 Course Meal or Dessert Matinee? It IS a Wonderful Life!
For families with kiddos 8 and older, head over to the Cedar Lodge for the Holiday Dinner Theatre. Relax and enjoy a 5-course meal, while watching the “radio version” of It’s a Wonderful Life live on stage. If you don’t think your little wiggle worms can make it through the four-hour dinner theatre, try the Dessert Matinee on Sundays, which goes just over two hours. Make your reservations online, and be sure to book early!

photo: Angela Alanis

Know Before You Go
1. Bundle up! With the exception of food and performances, expect to spend the majority of your time outside. Even if it doesn’t feel too chilly at first, it will after an hour or two of walking around.

2. Hit the ATM before you go. The Camp accepts credit/debit cards at the gate, but cash is preferred at the many of the cafés and concession stands inside. Good to know: There is an ATM on site, so if you forget to stop at the bank you won’t have to be tortured by the sweet smell of the donuts.

3. Leave your heels at home. Aside from a quick ride on the Polar Express, you’ll be exploring the 15 acres on foot so throw on your most comfortable walking shoes. Tree roots have also pushed their way up into some of the sidewalks so keep an eye out.

4. You can stay the night! Not ready to head back to reality so soon? Warm Beach Camp has numerous cabins and holiday-themed lodges you can reserve for the night. Check their website for more info or to reserve your space. But book early, as space is limited.

5. If you don’t encounter traffic, the trip will take you approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Seattle. Pack some snacks, crank up the holiday tunes and make the most of the drive north.

photo: The Lights of Christmas Facebook page 

The Lights of Christmas
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center
20800 Marine Dr.
Stanwood, Wa 98292
Online: warmbeach.com/lights-of-christmas

December 4-7, 11-14, 18-23, 26-30, 2014
Gates open at 5 p.m.; festival closes at 10 p.m.

$15/adults (13 and older); $10/youth (4-12); 3 and under Free. Discounts are available for seniors and military. Purchase tickets at the gate or online.

Pay What You Can Nights: The folks at Warm Beach don’t want anyone to be left out of their “holiday dream-come-true.” If you can’t afford the full price of admission, plan your visit for one of the Pay What You Can Nights and do just that. Your bill will reflect the regular price, however you only pay what you can afford, with no minimum payment required. Pay What You Can is available December 4, 11, 29, and 30, 2014.

Free parking is available on site, watch for the attendants to direct you.

photo: Angela Alanis

Will you be attending The Lights of Christmas this year? Let us know about your experience in a comment below.

— Angela Alanis

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