Governor Inslee and the First Lady Celebrate the Holidays

by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS

The Inslee family has several traditions that revolve around family, and this year the first couple of Washington state was happy to share its traditions with OLY ARTS.

According to first lady Trudi Inslee, Gov. Jay Inslee willingly transforms into an artist and storywriter over the holidays, as he’s also a 65-year-old grandfather who loves his grandchildren. Every year, Gov. Inslee reads aloud The Night Before Christmas and a book he wrote for his grandchildren 10 years ago, Sammy and the Santas. The first lady explains, “The children and adults (in our family) delight in finding the actual Santas in our house who are the characters in the story, also photographed by Jay…Jay has continued the tradition by writing and illustrating a new book for our grandchildren each and every year.”

The Inslee family has fond memories of the White House holiday party in Washington, D.C., and the Inslees enjoy opening the governor’s residence for public tours. “Whether in D.C., Olympia or Bainbridge, we have socks hung on the mantel and enjoy family and friends,” says Gov. Inslee.

The Inslees also share the joy many lifelong Olympians find in the vibrant life of local stores: “Wagner’s is always a favorite spot to enjoy great pastry and the smiles of Rudy and his crew,” says Governor Inslee. “We pick up extra cinnamon bread over the holidays and other tasty treats. We also enjoy walking around downtown and finding gifts at the local shops.”

Gov. Inslee did not indicate precisely where he buys the art supplies and writing pens for his grandchild-inspired books of holiday fun. Perhaps that’s a secret for Santa.

Here’s how to enjoy Olympia over the holidays with the first family of Washington state:

Downtown for the Holidays

The Olympia Downtown Association produces a holiday kickoff extravaganza each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

What: a festival with gingerbread houses, musical entertainment, wagon and trolley rides and photos with Santa. A parade at 3 p.m. is followed by a tree-lighting ceremony.

Where: Sylvester Park,
615 Washington St. SE, Olympia

When: noon – 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27

Learn more: 360-35-8948 |

Wagner’s European Bakery & Cafe

Wagner’s has served European treats in Olympia for the last 77 years. Owned and operated by three generations of the Wagner family, the shop specializes in pastries, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, waffles and European classics like its signature cinnamon bread.

What: European-style pastries

Where: 1013 Capitol Way S, Olympia

Learn more: 360-357-7268 |