Celebrating the Holidays in the South End

Story and photos by Susan Fried

Nothing really beats seeing a child’s eyes light up when they see Santa Claus, or even seeing a child with the opposite reaction, bursting into to tears after being forced to sit on the lap of some chubby, bearded man in a red suit. The secular part of modern Christmas is for children and for the memories we have of our own childhoods around this time of year.

There were lots of events in the South End and Central District of Seattle that gave children and their families a chance to visit with Santa, have fun, and create new memories.

Starting at the beginning of December, the Royal Esquire Club held a Holiday Bazaar, where people could do a little shopping, have their photo taken with Santa and also get free gifts for their children and everything they need to make Christmas dinner at home.

The Rainier Beach Merchants Association association held “Light Up The Beach 2018” where the community was invited to celebrate the holidays at local businesses. Families could enjoy fresh cookies and do arts and crafts at Merrill and Merrill or cross the street and watch dance performances at Rainier Dance Center and—of course—get a free photo with Santa at the Safeway.

NAAM was open to families Dec. 15 and 16 with free presents for kids and another chance to see Santa.

There was also an event entirely focused on children, the Creative Youth Holiday Carnival at Midtown Center which included youth vendors and lots of opportunity for kids to create art, dance, listen to storytelling, and have fun.

And if the children in your life still hadn’t had a chance to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas they could swing by Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on Sunday and write a list, drop a letter in Santa’s mailbox, or tell him in person.

Northwest African American Museum

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London, 8, gets a free present from HellaBlack HellaSeattle’s toy drive, during the Black Santa Visit at the Northwest African American Museum on December 15.
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Domino has his photo taken with Santa December 15 at the Northwest African American Museum. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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London, 8, holds her little friend after they both had their photos taken with Santa December 15 at the Northwest African American Museum. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Eddy, 2, has his photo taken with Santa December 15 at the Northwest African American Museum. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Light Up The Beach

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A group of Rainier Dance Center students perform December 7 at Light Up The Beach 2018. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Tomeka Price and her sons Jaylon, 4, and Braylon Powers, 7, work on a snowflake at the offices of Merrill and Merrill Insurance December 7 at Light Up The Beach 2018. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A photographer prepares to take pictures of people with Santa at the Rainier Beach Safeway December 7 at Light Up The Beach 2018. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Some Rainier Dance Center students have fun during a break between performances December 7 at Light Up The Beach 2018. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Creative Youth Holiday Carnival

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King Swan, 8, dances during a dance off at the Creative Youth Holiday Carnival December 15 at Midtown Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A group of kids show off their dance moves during the Creative Youth Holiday Carnival December 15 at Midtown Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Shiane, 6, and Naima, 7, paint Kwanzaa candles during the Creative Youth Holiday Carnival December 15 at Midtown Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Santa greets people as they arrive at the Creative Youth Holiday Carnival, Saturday December 15 at Midtown Center. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

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Harriet Walden has her photo taken with Santa (her son, Chukundi Salisbury) at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on December 16. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Teresa, 4, drops a letter in Santa’s mailbox after having her photo taken with him December 16 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Zyla, 2, and her brother D’Kai, 3, pose for their Great Aunt Stephanie December 16 at the 100 Black Parents-sponsored family visit with Santa December 16 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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D’Kai, 3, checks to see if Santa’s beard is real during the 100 Black Parents sponsored family visit with Black Santa December 16 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Featured Image: Chukundi Salisbury plays Santa at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. (Photo by Susan Fried)

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