Is the relentlessly merry-merry hustle-bustle of the season wearing you down? Here are five ways to recharge.
1 Winter solstice celebration
Sunset, Sunday, Dec. 21, at Solstice Park, 7400 Fauntleroy Way S.W., West Seattle: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=4453.
Join your neighbors for a quiet, informal acknowledgment of the darkest day of winter, Sunday, Dec. 21. A small group of hardy souls (though perhaps not Seahawks fans, given the timing) will gather at Solstice Park in West Seattle beginning around 4 p.m. to watch the sunset and just … breathe.
2 Holiday lights
Clam Lights, Renton, through Jan. 1; Garden d’Lights, Bellevue, through Jan. 3; Woodland Park Zoo WildLights through Jan. 4. Details on all three here.
In the dark days of winter (see above), a stroll through a twinkling fairyland of lights is always cheering. There are options at most points of the compass: Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens; Clam Lights in Renton’s Gene Coulon Park; and WildLights at the Woodland Park Zoo. Read Madeline Mckenzie’s roundup for details. See also our gallery of household lights for a little pick-me-up without leaving home.
3 Duke Ellington's Sacred Music
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave.; $14-$38 (206-523-6159 or srjo.org or brownpapertickets.com).
Seattle Pacific University composer and professor Stephen Newby, who sings the national anthem at Sounders matches, debuts as a soloist for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra’s annual concert of Duke Ellington’s sacred music at Town Hall. Ellington’s sacred music concerts began in 1965 at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and has become a meditative seasonal tradition since. Read jazz critic Paul de Barros’ informative preview for more background.
4 Handel's 'Messiah'
8 p.m. Friday, 1 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 19-21), Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $23-$88 (206-215-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).
Handel’s emotionally direct, English-language work about Christ’s birth, ministry, death and resurrection will be performed Friday-Sunday by Seattle Symphony, Seattle Symphony Chorale and four renowned soloists — as it is every year, writes Tom Keogh. Guest conductor Cristian Macelaru says, “Having all these incredibly talented, accomplished artists joining forces, striving for the same goal and going in the same direction, is a beautiful thing.”
5 The Big Chanukah Show
7 p.m. Saturday, Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island; $5-$10 (206-234-7600 or sjcc.org).
One other way to escape the Christmas crush: Celebrate Chanukah! The Stroum Jewish Community Center hosts a vaudeville-style show featuring music, comedy and winter-season entertainment this Saturday. Enjoy!