It’s time to rock around the tree, roast chestnuts on an open fire and dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Upcoming events on Whidbey Island are ushering in the holiday season.
At 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2, NW Bookkeeping Services is hosting its second annual Elf Reading at Wicked Teuton Brewing Company. Kids can enjoy free cookies, candy and hot cocoa while elves read books in English and Spanish at this free event. Donations will be accepted for Mother Mentors of Whidbey Island at the reading.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Island County will host a series of events at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge. The 24th annual Festival of Trees gala and live charity auction will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 2. Enjoy an elegant night of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a dinner catered by Zanini’s while bidding on local treasures and extravagantly decorated trees.
Guests at this event must be at least 21 years old. Tickets cost $125, and the dress code is formal.
The next morning, the lodge will host the Teddy Bear Breakfast. Seatings take place at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3. Tickets cost $5 for guests ages 12 and under, and $15 for teens and adults. Event festivities include breakfast, entertainment, a teddy bear parade and raffles. Guests are asked to bring a new stuffed animal to donate to a child in a crisis situation. Youth must be accompanied by adults.
The final Big Brothers, Big Sisters event will be Mingle with Kringle, a casual event taking place from 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 3 at the lodge. Celebrate with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, door prizes, contests, raffles and a photo booth. This event will feature Santa and DJ Moose Moran.
Guests must be at least 21 years old. Tickets cost $25, and the dress code is casual, cocktail or holiday attire.
A series of special events will also take place in downtown Oak Harbor Dec. 3. Join the Oak Harbor Main Street Association for a Holiday Open House from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Participating merchants in the historic downtown area will have specials, treats, tea and more for local shoppers. Live music will be played at Harborside Village from 2 to 3 p.m., and free cocoa and cookies and a photo booth will be at 810 SE Pioneer Way from 3 to 5 p.m.
The fun will continue that evening with the Santa Parade and tree lighting from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Santa and his helpers will light the tree around 5:30 p.m.
While hanging out with Santa downtown, keep an eye out for the Oak Harbor Yacht Club’s Lighted Boat Parade, which departs from the marina at 4:30 p.m. and is expected to arrive at the Coupeville wharf around 5:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, at 3 p.m. Dec. 3, the Bells of Whidbey presents Christmas Bells are Ringing, an English Handbell concert benefiting SPiN Cafe. The event will take place at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Admission is by donation, either of money or items that the cafe needs, such as high protein food items, canned soup, men’s and women’s underwear, warm socks, gloves, gently used coats, shaving materials, backpacks, body wipes and hand warmers.
The Whidbey Community Chorus will present its holiday concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 4 p.m. Dec. 11 at First Reformed Church in Oak Harbor.
The Ballet Slipper Conservatory of Oak Harbor will put on a production of the classic holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. Show times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Oak Harbor High School auditorium. The performance features nineteen dancers.
Orlando’s Bar and Southern BBQ presents Jingle Jazz, an evening of Christmas music performed by Anacortes-based jazz band A’Town Big Band at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11. At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Orlando’s will host Oak Harbor group SeaNotes Big Band for the Swinging Sounds of the Season, with a dance lesson to precede the performance. Admission to both performances is free.
In downtown Oak Harbor, the Green Ticket Cash Giveaway is ongoing now through Dec. 16. Earn a green ticket for every $20 purchase at a participating location and be entered to win cash prizes in various amounts.
Nov. 25 through Dec. 16, visitors to downtown Oak Harbor may also vote for their favorite Toy Soldier. Soldiers decorated by local residents, businesses or organizations will decorate Pioneer Way between Dock Street and Allure Salon. The winner will be announced Dec. 17.
Children ages 5-12 and their caregivers can join in a morning of Paper Chains and Candy Canes at the Oak Harbor Library. The crafting will take place from10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 21.
Those looking for a creative way to celebrate the holidays can pick up a gingerbread house kit from the Coupeville Library on Nov. 27. Kits are free, though participants are asked to bring a food item to donate to Gifts from the Heart. Participants can submit their creation to the library’s gingerbread house contest through 11 a.m. Dec. 17, at which point judging will take place. Winners will be announced at 1 p.m. Dec. 18.
Take a guided tour of the tree lighting, parade and holiday lights of Coupeville and Langley with Island Transit Dec. 3. The event is free. Participants can reserve a seat by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 360-678-9536.
The traditional Greening of Coupeville parade and tree lighting will take place beginning at 4 p.m. Dec. 3. Downtown Coupeville buildings will be decked out in their Christmas finest, and Santa may even make an appearance. The Oak Harbor Yacht Club’s lighted boat parade will arrive in Penn Cove around 5:30 p.m.
Two holiday art shows will take place in the Coupeville Rec Hall. The first will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11. The second will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18. Both will feature the work of Whidbey artists.
The Saratoga Orchestra will present A Very Merry Whidbey Christmas at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Coupeville High School commons. This holiday concert will feature special guests Christina “The Singer Tina” Atteberry and The Shifty Sailors. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a sing-along Messiah.
Children ages 5 and up and their caregivers are invited to participate in Snowflake Science at the Coupeville Library at 10 a.m. Dec. 22. Participants will read a snowflake story and create their own snowflakes.
The Lighting of Langley tree lighting ceremony and community celebration will kick off the holiday season on the South End from 2 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 26
Another beloved Langley tradition is back this year — the 14th annual Holly Jolly Parade will take place at noon Dec. 3. This year, the Langley Chamber of Commerce has 10 local sponsors that will be giving away $50 donations to help cover the costs of creating a parade float. Prospective paraders with a big idea but a little budget can email the Langley Chamber to apply. Information and applications can be found at www.visitlangley.com.
South End residents will also have the opportunity to see The Nutcracker; Whidbey Island Dance Theatre will present the classic Christmas ballet Dec. 9 through Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. on Fridays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, with an additional 7 p.m. performance on Saturday, Dec. 17. Performances will take place at the South Whidbey High School auditorium.
The Freeland Library will host Craft and Cocoa for adults and families at 10 a.m. Dec. 17. Sip some hot cocoa while making a hand warmer to keep you cozy during the winter. This project requires minimal hand sewing, and materials are provided by Friends of the Freeland Library. Registration is required and can be completed online at www.sno-isle.org.