I love big holiday traditions as much as the next gal, but it's the little, personal ones I appreciate the most. Over the last several years, a good friend of mine always gets together to admire the holiday decorations -- it used to be around the Kirkland waterfront, where she used to live, and they had the crazy strings of lights in a mad tangle. We loved it. Over the last few years, we've moved our tree-spotting to downtown Seattle, for a yearly trek to the Fairmont Olympic, to gaze upon their holiday trees and window-gaze at the nearby Luly Yang boutique

Yes, we're girly, it's what we girly-girls do, gaze at sparkly trees and dresses. Would you expect anything less of the Magpie?! It's such a simple tradition, gazing at decorated trees, but it's something I look forward to every year. We pass by decorations so quickly in our day-to-day activities. We're practically numbed to the holidays, since stores put out their decor by early October. But when the air is crisp, there's a hint of frost, and all the bare trees are aglow with lights in the city, it's worth taking an evening to seek out the places that make the season extra-bright. 

The Fairmont Olympic has all the Seattle Festival of Trees up on display, right before Thanksgiving -- they're individually decorated with different themes and auctioned off to raise money for Seattle Children's Hospital. It's a great annual tradition, and you get a chance to see the trees for a short time, but they're usually whisked away to their new owners by early December. It's a shame they're not up longer, but the Fairmont still has a stunning decorated tree in the lobby. We've missed the auction trees in previous years, but still make the holiday festive, having cocktails in their swanky Georgian Room, and making sure to linger in front of the Luly Yang boutique windows. 

Everyone puts up a tree or has a big festive dinner -- this little tradition my friend and I have is totally ours. We wouldn't do this with anyone else but each other, and it's a symbol of our very long-lived, much-treasured friendship. It's a celebration of us, and the fact we can be 100% genuine with one another, which is a wonderful thing. So my Jaunty Holiday Advice is to celebrate your own personal traditions, however small, unique or weird. Traditions are a reminder that the most precious gifts aren't wrapped in bows, they are the rituals that celebrate our cherished relationships.

Jaunty Fine Print: Photography by Denise Sakaki

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