The days are getting shorter and the nights longer. This year the winter solstice is on December 21. With sunrise at 7:54 am and sunset at 4:20 pm, there will be less than 8 hours and 26 minutes of daylight on that day.
Many people bring cheer into dark nights by stringing lights on a Christmas tree and outside their homes. Others have celebrated Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, which ended on December 10.
Likewise, you might have a family tradition of going to see brightly colored lights during these dark days. Some local gardens, parks, zoos and streets celebrate with special lighting events in the holiday season. If you haven’t visited them, you might enjoy creating a new family tradition.
Fantasy Lights. November 22-January 1, 5:30-9 pm. Spanaway Park. The largest holiday drive-through display in the Northwest, with nearly 300 elaborate displays. Info on the Fantasy lights website.
Snowflake Lane. November 23-December 24, 7 pm nightly. Along Bellevue Way. Falling snow, dazzling lights, festive music, toy drummers and dancers. Info on the Snowflake Lane website.
Zoo Lights. November 23 – January 6, 5-9 pm nightly. Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. See the zoo transformed into a colorful winter wonderland with over 700,000 lights. Details on the Point Defiance website.
WildLights. November 23 – January 5, 5:30-8:30 pm nightly. Woodland Park Zoo. Seattle’s wildest holiday lights festival has sparkling lights, faux snowball fights, animal encounters and more. Details on the Woodland Park Zoo website.
Garden d’Lights. November 24 – December 30, 4:30-9 pm nightly. Bellevue Botanical Garden. Over half a million sparkling lights formed into the whimsical shapes of plants, flowers, birds, animals and waterfalls. Details on the Bellevue Botanical Garden website.
5th Annual ‘A Bonsai Solstice.’ December 16, 4-7 pm. Pacific Bonsai Museum, Federal Way. Bundle up and enjoy the serenity of the museum’s bonsai collection illuminated by subtle, holiday lights. Live acoustic music. Details on the Pacific Bonsai Museum website.
Winter Solstice Walk. December 21, 7-8:30 pm. Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle. Whatever holiday traditions you follow, join Arboretum staff to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Lights and introspection lift spirits and remind us that more light is on the way. Register here.
Light your own landscape
When it’s dark and wet outside, sitting on the patio or cooking a meal on the grill may not be appealing. But you can still enjoy viewing your landscape from a window. Adding lights enhances your view of trees, plants, water features and landscape art from inside your house.
You may want to consider:
- Lighting trees from below to illuminate their branch structure.
- Placing lights among shrubs and other plantings to show their shape and color.
- Placing lights underwater in a pond or waterfall.
- Lighting boulders or landscape art.
- Adding lights next to paths and stairways for safety.
We specialize in energy-efficient LED lights that can transform your patio and plantings. Contact us if you would like to discuss lighting design.