A Walk Through Providence Christmas Forest

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

In its 29th year, Providence Christmas Forest is a different kind of winter wonderland—a forest of trees and wreaths decorated in themes from traditional to surprising. One tree will have a NASCAR theme, while another was inspired by Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. The forest is the biggest fundraiser for the Providence St. Peter Foundation, which funds capital improvements, equipment and Providence St. Peter Hospital programs, with a focus on serving vulnerable or low-income populations. Over the years, it’s brought in $9.8 million.

The 25 trees and 11 wreaths, some decorated by professional designers and others by artistic amateurs, will be sold to the highest bidder at a Dec. 2 gala dinner. Trees sell for $800 and up. “Last year, we had a bidding war on one tree, and it went for $5,500,” said event manager Stacey Genzlinger. Trees that fetch top prices include more than just decorations. “Cowboy Christmas,” which got last year’s high bid, came with a leather chair, ottoman and other lagniappe.

While wandering through the forest, visitors will be entertained by community groups including senior choirs, high school orchestras and local dance companies. On Senior Day (Dec. 1), seniors get $1 off admission and decorated mini-trees will be on sale for $50 each. On Kids’ Day (Dec. 3), Santa will be in residence, and the Hands On Children’s Museum will lead craft sessions.

UPDATE December 21: On December 19, The Olympian reported this event had raised $533,000 for the Providence St. Peter Foundation.

What: Providence Christmas Forest

Where: Hotel RL Olympia by Red Lion,
2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW, Olympia

When: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30;
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1;
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3;
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

How much: $1-$6

Learn more: 360-493-7981 | Christmas Forest

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