For the well-intentioned but over-the-top holiday.
Start the old-fashioned Griswold family Christmas by chopping down your own tree: Tromp through the woods with (or, you know, without) a saw and a permit (fs.usda.gov) or skip the frostbite and cruise for tree farms in Issaquah. Trinity Tree Farm (trinitytreefarm.com) offers complimentary cocoa and cider and expert tree wranglers to lash that Douglas fir to the Subaru. * Watch electric bills spike. Garden d’Lights (gardendlights.org) strings half a million bulbs around Bellevue Botanical Garden every year, while the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular in West Seattle (westseattlelights.com) syncs some 54,000 lights to music on 101.9 FM. * Pay tribute to crazy Cousin Eddie at one of Hotel 1000’s weekly Ugly Holiday Sweater Parties (hotel1000seattle.com). Battery-powered sweaters encouraged. * Avoid a holiday dinner disaster by attending the free Holiday Boot Camp at Willows Lodge in Woodinville (willowslodge.com). Barking Frog chefs share appetizer and dessert recipes, and a mixologist spices up your hot toddy. * Try this Seattle substitute for eggnog in a Bullwinkle mug: a blue blazer at Vessel (vesselseattle.com). This far flashier cocktail involves master mixer Jim Romdall setting your whiskey punch on fire.