Getting away for the holidays

This Christmas season, don’t just shop online — get out and explore.

As you probably deduced from my previous columns, I’m one of the most starry-eyed, pathetic, and hopelessly incurable romantics that ever came down the pike. Indeed, this affliction is so intense I sometimes mistake reality for a fantasy and, vice versa, fantasy for reality. (But alas, I’ve never been lame enough to believe in the “deep state” conspiracy like our goofy President does.) To a larger or lesser degree, this dream-world state is common to all writers. However, it seems especially prevalent among novelists and screenwriters.

Given such a warped condition, you probably suspect our grand and glorious month-long winter festival — from Thanksgiving through New Years — is of special significance to a romantic. The colorful lighting, the gaiety, the warm, sentimental mood, and the spiritual and religious overtones, all wrapped in warm tradition and surprise gifts, are tailor made for the fantasy-prone mind. And our little suburban enclave captures the Christmas atmosphere and magic as well as any other small community in the immediate area. Step into any of our restaurants and/or bars on any particular evening between now and the new year and you’ll immediately notice the seasonal rush of energy. I’d certainly encourage all of you to support our local businesses, not only the clubs but the other merchants as well.

Of course, our local stores can’t compete with the huge selections offered by the malls and Seattle’s retail core. Even though Bezos’ operation has raised hell with brick and mortar shopping, Southcenter has apparently survived, still relatively crowded and colorful despite the folding of Macy’s and Sears. Granted, it’s much easier to order your gifts from the living-room couch instead of fighting the crowds and traffic, but let me encourage you to get out of the house long enough to at least stroll through Southcenter or around Pike and Fourth just to experience the music, excitement and twinkling lights.

Dwelling again on my romantic nature, I suggest you share the evening with someone you love. You might sample a few roasted chestnuts from the celebrity vendors outside the Olympic Hotel — or whatever it’s called now. (Perhaps the Four Seasons?) Then, hand-in-hand and soul-to-soul, amble through the lights on the naked trees along Fifth Avenue, or admire the window displays in Macy’s and the grand pianist in Nordstrom.

Always leave enough time to snuggle in the rear booth of some secluded, intimate little lounge away from the hustle and bustle outside. Enumclaw is sadly lacking in quiet, candle-lit, rich mahogany-wooded clubs where you can experience a hot buttered rum and share a kiss or two while gazing warmly into one another’s eyes. I might suggest two of my favorite Seattle lounges: the Hunt Club and Canlis. These places are damned expensive if you’re there for dinner but, instead, you can simply waltz into the lounge for a drink or two, which are also expensive but probably affordable for holidays and other special occasions. (Ties are not necessary and jeans are accepted though, perhaps, frowned upon.) I might also mention Oliver’s at Fourth and Pike. It can get rather crowded during the cocktail hour, but later in the evening it’s quite comfortable.

At any rate, given all the clubs scattered about King County, I’m sure you can find a secluded little corner booth that’s just perfect for you and yours.

And cheers to all!

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