by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

In its 30th 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 will be 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. In 2016, the event raised half a million dollars for the Providence Foundation. Over the years, the event has collectively 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 the 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. 2), Santa will be in residence, and the Hands On Children’s Museum will lead craft sessions.

Providence Christmas Forest

WHERE Hotel RL Olympia by Red Lion,
2300 Evergreen Park Dr. SW, Olympia

10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Tues., Nov. 28; Public Viewing
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wed., Nov. 29; Public Viewing
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 30; Public Viewing, Senior Day
5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Fri., Dec. 1; Gala Dinner & Auction
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 2; Public Viewing, Kid’s Day
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sun., Dec. 3; Public Viewing


360-493-7981 |