Celebrate the Season: Mercer Island 2022 Holiday Event Guide

November 30, 2022 | by Sophia Maggio

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As the air chills in the Pacific Northwest, Mercer Island is illuminated with the festive energy of the holiday season. All through December, Mercer Island’s local businesses and organizations fill the calendar with family-friendly wintry activities and delightful annual festivities. Between tree sales and magnificent light displays, these events will satisfy your nostalgia, encourage new holiday traditions, and ensure plenty of merry moments along the way.

Tree Lighting and Firehouse Munch 

Friday, December 2nd, 6 – 8 pm, at Mercerdale Park, 77th Avenue SE and SE 32nd Street

Every December, friends and families across the island gather for the annual Tree Lighting. The tree lights up at 6 pm, but to catch some holiday music beforehand, arrive early for the Mercer Island High School choir’s seasonal performance at 5:40 pm. From 6:30 to 8 pm, the festivities continue at the nearby Fire Station 91, which hosts a chili feed, Santa photos, arts and crafts, and other activities.

MIVAL Holiday Show

Mercer Island Community & Event Center (MICEC), 8236 SE 24th St

  • Monday through Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm

MIVAL Gallery, 2836 78th Ave SE

  • Wednesday through Saturday: noon – 6 pm
  • Sunday: noon – 4 pm

This winter, the Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL)’s annual Holiday Art & Craft Show comes to two separate locations: the MICEC Gallery and the MIVAL Gallery. The MICEC show runs through December 16th, and the MIVAL Gallery Show runs through December 23rd.

Both galleries feature wreaths, jewelry, ornaments, cards, gift tags, scarves, bags, paintings, sculptures, blown glass, and more. MIVAL encourages gallery-goers to shop small and support local artists with their holiday gift purchases.

Mercer Island Holiday Tree Lot 

Saturday, November 26th – Sunday, December 11th (Saturdays & Sundays only), at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, 3605 84th Ave SE

  • Saturdays from 10 am – 6 pm
  • Sundays from noon – 6 pm

Shop for a mixed-green wreath, garland, or the biggest tree in the neighborhood at this year’s Tree Lot. The Christmas tree selection includes Noble, Fraser, Douglas, and Nordmann Firs, which range from three- to 10-feet-tall. All trees are sourced from Hunter Family Farm in Olympia, WA. One hundred percent of the profits from the Tree Lot will be donated to Mercer Island Youth & Family Services (MIYFS).

Santa’s Mailbox at Island Treats

Photo courtesy Island Treats

Saturday, November 26th – Island Treats, 7605 SE 27th Street #106, Mercer Island, WA

Santa’s very own mailbox has appeared at Island Treats! This is no ordinary mailbox; and letters won’t just disappear to the North Pole, never to be seen again. The letters placed in this special mailbox guarantee that Santa and his elves will reply back!

So, kids – get out your papers, crayons, and stickers to write your very best note to Santa. Tell him how good you’ve been this year. Seal up your envelopes and make sure to put your return address on the envelope or the elves won’t know where to send your letter from Santa.

The last day to drop off your letter to Santa and get a reply by Christmas is December 17th. Look for Santa’s mailbox at Island Treats, between 10 am and 5 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

Chamber Gingerbread Man Holiday Contest

Thursday, December 1st, 2 to 4 pm – Island Treats, 7605 SE 27th St #106

Tuesday, December 6th, 2 to 4 pm – Mercer Island Thrift Shop, 7710 SE 34th St

Thursday, December 8th, 2 to 4 pm – Sahara Pizza, 8425 SE 68th St #104

Visit a local business and “catch” the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce’s Gingerbread Man. The first three locations have just been announced. Catch him this Thursday, December 1st, at Island Treats from 2 to 4 pm for a fun prize! Kids and adults welcome for this festive holiday activity.

Holiday Sip & Shop

Friday, December 9th, 4 to 8 pm

Join in the shopping fun at Mercer Island’s first annual Holiday Hop Sip & Shop. Participating businesses include Barrels Wine Bar, Hip Zephyr, Island Treats, Kitchen & Market, L’Experience Paris, The Boutique Lounge, and Terra Bella. Grab a stamp card and get a stamp at each location to be entered into a drawing for a grand prize – a gift card bundle from all participating shops. Feel great about shopping local this holiday season.

Lights Up at the J

Thursday, December 1st – Sunday, January 1st, daily after 4 pm, at Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 East Mercer Way

Throughout the month of December, locals can stop by the SJCC to celebrate the Festival of Lights. This year, Hanukkah spans from Sunday, December 18th through Monday, December 26th, but this stunning light show remains on display all month.

Hanukkah Art Workshop

Wednesday, December 7th, 5:30 – 7 pm, at Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 East Mercer Way

Cost: $10-$15
Channeling the creative spirit of Hanukkah, Rabbi Laura Rumpf facilitates an art workshop inspired by classic and contemporary Jewish teachings. Appropriate for both creative amateurs and avid artists, the workshop provides a plethora of materials, ranging from aluminum foil to acrylic paints. Tickets are $10 for SJCC members and $15 for guests and can be purchased here.

Evergreen Covenant Church: Children’s Gingerbread House Decorating Event

Saturday, December 3rd, 9:30 – 10:45 am & 11:30 am – 12:45 pm, at Evergreen Covenant Church, 3200 78th Ave SE

Cost: $8 for gingerbread houses, $5 for cookies
The Evergreen Covenant Church invites young architects to build gingerbread houses and decorate cookies. The event is appropriate for ages 3 through 13, and families can register their kiddos for one of the two morning sessions here. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Kahoot! Trivia: Nontraditional Holiday Movies 

Tuesday, December 13th, 6 – 7 pm

Test your mastery of holiday movies with this online Kahoot! trivia party, hosted by the King County Library System. Compete as an individual or team up for questions on nontraditional holiday movies like Die Hard and Gremlins. The library calls it appropriate for ages nine and up, and asks that participants register beforehand on the event webpage. Players will either need a computer that allows a split-screen option, or two separate devices: one for the Zoom app and one for the Kahoot! app.

Island Choral Experience Annual Holiday Performances 

Thursday, December 8th – Friday, December 9th, 7pm

Saturday, December 10th, 7 pm & 1 pm

Congregational Church on Mercer Island, 4545 Island Crest Way 

From December 8th to December 10th, the Mercer Island girls’ choirs will perform a series of winter shows. The youngest singers in Kinder Choir and Prep Choir kick off the first performance on December 8th, followed by the Island Girls (4th through 6th graders) on December 9th and 10th.

The Dickens Carolers & The Friends of Mercer Island Library Book Sale

Dickens Carolers – Sunday, December 11th, 2 – 3 pm, at Mercer Island Library, 4400 88th Ave SE

In this four-decade tradition, caroling quartets feature singers in luxurious, Victorian-style dress, doing renditions of holiday favorites, both traditional and contemporary. The performance is sponsored by The Friends of the Mercer Island Library and runs during the group’s pop-up book sale, below.

Friends of the Mercer Island Library Book Sale – Thursday, December 8th – Saturday, December 11th (see flyer for times, above), at Mercer Island Library, 4400 88th Ave SE

Support the library while shopping for books to give as holiday gifts or just to cozy up with this winter. They restock the sale each day, with plenty of seasonal books and options for young readers. The Friends of the Mercer Island Library collect book donations throughout the year to sell at this annual event, with the proceeds benefiting the library.

Island Youth Ballet “Excerpts from the Nutcracker”

Saturday, December 10th – Sunday, December 18th (Saturdays and Sundays only), at Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 East Mercer Way

Cost: $42 for Standard Admission, $55 for VIP Premium Admission. Visit the website for tickets and showtimes.

This dynamic performance aims to reconnect audiences to the wonder and imagination of the holiday season. Ballerinas in elegant costuming dance among mice, fairies, and other magical characters on their way to the Land of the Sweets.

MIPA Holiday Lights Driving Tour

Begins Thursday, December 15th – various locations around Mercer Island

The Mercer Island Preschool Association’s elves are back and scouting the island for the most festive light displays of the season. They will soon create a Mercer Island map of these brightly lit properties, available for purchase with proceeds benefiting Mercer Island Youth & Family Services. The site will go live on December 15th for purchase of the digital map download, which will include driving routes and musical suggestions to create a festive holiday mood, along with a scavenger hunt for little ones.

Argosy Christmas Ship and Boat Parade

Sunday, December 18th, 8:40 – 9:45 pm, at Luther Burbank Park Swimming Beach, 2040 84th Ave SW

The Argosy Christmas Ship is planning its holiday voyage to Mercer Island. Around 8:40 pm, the glowing vessel will arrive at Luther Burbank Park, with the Touchstone Quartet performing an onboard concert. Enjoy the live music and shimmering lights from a bonfire on the swimming beach, a short walk from the south lot of the park. For the full Christmas Ship schedule, click here.

Girl Scouts Toy Drive

Saturday, December 10th, 9 am – 4 pm, at Mercerdale Park

The Mercer Island Girl Scouts are collecting new, unwrapped gifts for children in King County. All presents are welcome, especially items for infants through two-year-olds and children ages 10 through 17. After the toy drive, the Girl Scouts deliver all donations to the King County Toys for Tots warehouse, which distributes holiday presents to local children and teens. Contact Kara Lucas at [email protected] with any questions.

Chabad Mercer Island Menorah Lighting

Monday, December 19th, 6 pm, at Mercerdale Park

Cost: Free (Donations encouraged)

To celebrate the fifth night of Chanukah, Chabad Mercer Island presents its annual Grand Menorah Lighting. After the ceremony, the organizers present Chanukah treats and gifts for children, as well as a giant menorah hand-carved from ice.

Illuminate MI 2022

Throughout December, at outdoor locations throughout Mercer Island

Every year, dedicated City staff install holiday lights in the Town Center, Mercerdale Park, and various other spots. Watch local landmarks light up in silver and gold at popular “illuminated” spots include the Greta Hackett Sculpture Park, the Mercerdale Giant Sequoia Tree and the pedestrian median on 27th Ave SE.