For some, the winter holidays season is the busiest time of their year. If that is true for you, make plans now to take some time out for yourself to unwind, de-stress and have a little fun. If you put it down on your calendar, you will more likely make room for it when the time comes. This winter, the greater Seattle area not only offers traditional holiday-themed events, but also some others that you may not have heard of. Here are five of the best.
Seattle Center
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 684-7200

From Nov. 27 through Dec. 31, the Seattle Center presents its annual Winterfest full of lights, activities for the kids and celebratory live music. You can even take the monorail to downtown Seattle to do some last-minute shopping and then zip back when the crowds become too much for you. Events and activities include the Winterfest ice rink, ice sculpting and live performances. Most events are free and crows are at a minimum here. It makes a great escape from cabin fever, too.

Argosy Christmas Ship Festival
(206) 623-1445

Since 1949, Seattleites have enjoyed watching the parade of decorated ships pass by their waterfront communities, and Argosy Cruises makes it possible for you get in on the action as well. Each two to three-hour tour from over 45 different community home ports includes live music from various local choirs, the “Ho, Ho, Ho Contest,” a special craft area for the kids, full service bar for moms and dad and, of course, Santa reading the story of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a story he should know by heart by now. Tickets are $39 for adults, $35 for those age 65 or older, $21 for children and those under the age of three get in for free. Check out their website for full schedule.

Winter Festival & Crafts Fair
Phinney Neighborhood Association
6532 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 783-2244

The Phinney Neighborhood Association’s Winter Festival and Crafts fair is two full days of over 115 craft vendors, live entertainment and lots of food. Located at the Phinney Center, admission is $4, which helps to support the PNA Hot Meal Program and other worthy causes. It’s a great place to find that one-of-kind gift you didn’t know that you were looking for, warm up with some tasty baked goods and be entertained by various musicians and dancers on two stages. This year’s event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6 (times are TBD)

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Timbrrr! Music Festival
Leavenworth Festhalle
1001 Front St.
Leavenworth, WA 98826

Known as the “chillier sister fest” to Timber! Outdoor Music Festival, a summer affair held in Leavenworth, Washington, Timbrrr! Music Festival attendees will have the advantage of discount packages for skiing (downhill and cross-country), tubing and shoe shoeing by day, and rocking out with hot toddies in hand at night, all held in the German-like town. Be sure to visit the website as the date gets closer to see the artist lineup. The two-day event will take place on Jan. 29 and 30, 2016. Tickets are $55.

Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival
Benaroya Hall
200 University St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 283-8710

If you prefer your music to be a little more high-brow and classic, then the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Winter Festival is your cup of tea. Held from Jan. 22 to 31 at the Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, this festival is every classical music lover’s dream. Tickets range from $141 (three concerts) to $282 (all six concerts)This year’s series features the “best of,” a variety of classical composers and features these special guests:
Violin: James Ehnes, Erin Keefe, Alexander Kerr, Tessa Lark, Andrew Wan, Scott Yoo
Viola: Rebecca Albers, Che-Yen Chen
Cello: Edward Arron, Robert Demaine, Yegor Dyachkov, Astrid Schween, Bion Tsang
Piano: Andrew Armstrong, Gloria Chien, Max Levinson, Anton Nel, William Wolffram
Flute: Lorna McGhee

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Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at