The winter holiday week rests on a solid foundation of quintessential Methow Valley interests: trees, recreation, family fun, wildlife, food, worship, giving, and music. Here’s a quick guide on how to take advantage of them over the next couple of weeks.
With the early, heavy snowfall and the wildfires of recent years, Christmas trees are a bit harder to come by. The annual Christmas tree sale at Hank’s Harvest Foods to benefit the Methow Valley Community Center sold out quickly this year. But if you don’t mind snowshoeing out a bit with a sled, there are still plenty of trees in the forest.
Grab your permit at one of the local vendors (fourth-graders get a free permit) and make an expedition of it. You might also check the bulletin board on methownet.com for private cutting opportunities. If you prefer to purchase a tree, you will probably need to go out of the valley. Or consider decorating a living tree in your yard with lights!
Fat skis and skinny, sleigh rides and sleds, ice skates and bicycles, fishing rods and snowshoes — pull the winter gear out of the closet and get out into the winter wonderland.
• Alpine skiing: skitheloup.com.
• Ice skating: winthroprink.org.
• Snowshoeing: methowtrails.org/conditions.
• Ice fishing: okanogancountry.com/fishing–hunting-winter.
• Snowmobiling: www.facebook.com/methowvalleysnowmobile.
• Sleigh rides: www.sunmountainlodge.com/sun-mountain/sleigh-rides.
• Movies: The Barnyard Cinema features “The Grinch,” in addition to a line-up of other newer films. thebarnyardcinema.com.
• Breakfast with Santa: Saturday, Dec. 24, 7:30-10:30 a.m. in the dining room at Sun Mountain Lodge. Breakfast and kids’ menus available. sunmountainlodge.com.
• Cookie decorating: Saturday, Dec. 24, 3-5 p.m. in the library at Sun Mountain Lodge. Free. sunmountainlodge.com.
• “The Night Before Christmas” reading: Saturday, Dec. 24, 7 p.m. in the main lobby at Sun Mountain Lodge. Free. sunmountainlodge.com.
• Twisp Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count: Friday, Dec. 30. Meet at the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery at 7 a.m., and convene at 5:30 p.m. for the après-count potluck dinner (vegetarian chili provided) and count tally at Jen and Richard Fisher’s Winthrop home. All are welcome, from novices to veteran birders. Bring binoculars, lunch, warm clothes and field guides. Optional items include skis, snowshoes and spotting scopes. More info: Peter Wimberger (253) 303-2264; or Jen Fisher (206) 419-2548.
• Christmas prime rib at BJ’s Branding Iron in Twisp: Sunday, Dec. 25, from 1-5 p.m. Prime rib, twice-baked potatoes, and all the fixings as well as dessert. It’s all on the house, “because no one should have to pay for a meal on such a blessed day,” Branding Iron owners Bill Bates and Melissa Holt said.
• Christmas dinner at the Brewster Legion: Sunday, Dec. 25, from 2-5 p.m. or while supplies last. Open to the public by donation.
• Christmas Day dinner on the mountain: Sunday, Dec. 25, from 5-9 p.m. at Sun Mountain Lodge. Special menu. Reservations required. sunmountainlodge.com.
• New Year’s Eve dinner and party: Saturday, Dec. 31, from 5 p.m.-1 a.m. at Sun Mountain Lodge. Dinner 5-10 p.m. with special menu. Family playroom 5-8 p.m. S’mores and firepits. “Blue Wave” band dance party 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Special menu available. Fireworks at midnight. sunmountainlodge.com.
• Christmas worship at the Methow Valley United Methodist Church: Saturday, Dec. 24, 7:30 p.m., traditional service of lessons, carols, and candlelight. Sunday, Dec. 25, 10 a.m., familiar sacred carols and hymns of the season. Free. More info: (509) 997-9292, email@example.com, http://methowvalleyumc.org.
• Christmas gathering at Friendship Alliance Church: Sunday, Dec., 25, 10 a.m. Free. www.winfac.org.
• Christmas worship at St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Twisp: Saturday, Dec. 24, 4 p.m., Christmas Vigil Mass. Sunday, Dec. 25, 11 a.m. Christmas. Sunday, Jan. 1, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Free. stgen.sacredheartbrewster.org.
Embrace the holiday spirit by giving. Nonprofit organizations The Cove and Room One provide year-round support for residents in need but demand is greater around the holidays, particularly with regional food bank distribution shortfalls. Your donation to these organizations spreads holiday cheer. thecovecares.com, roomone.org.
Buying gifts for friends and family? Support a thriving Methow Valley economy by shopping local. Visit Twisp’s and Winthrop’s Chambers of Commerce for vendor listings (twispwa.com, winthropwashington.com). Mazama doesn’t have a Chamber of Commerce but has several options for gift shopping.
Music can be uplifting at all times of the year, but it has deeper resonance in winter since it cultivates a holiday spirit. The Methow Valley offers such a wide range of live musical experiences in the next two weeks — from ukuleles to classical guitar, from line dancing to open mic, from choirs to caroling, culminating in the Bill Evans tribute — that only a true Grinch won’t find something that appeals. To watch and listen or to participate, check the full listing of live music on page A5.