The Final Ho

Once again, it’s the holiday season, and along with it, so many events that have become a tradition for me. 

Over the next couple of weekends, I’ll be attending my wife’s Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle holiday concert, the Norwegian Commercial Club’s Fishermen’s Night seafood feast, emceeing the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce’s Julebord, the Bothell-Kenmore Chamber’s annual Holiday Wine Walk and multiple holiday parties that have somehow been wedged on to the calendar.

I also have certain things I try to accomplish during the three week December stretch prior to Christmas. The writing of an annual family update letter to accompany our Christmas photo cards, writing and producing a Christmas song and video with a good friend who’s a singer and producing my 18th annual “Ho Ho Brother” Christmas CD. It’s a collection of unique holiday songs and comedy bits I create, that’s basically a one-hour escape into the Christmas season. Over the almost two decades I’ve been doing that project, I’ve tried my best never to use the same exact song twice.

However, the one event I’m looking forward to most is coming up this Saturday. It’s the annual Santa Claus Arrival at the Country Village in Bothell. I arrive at 6, put on my Dickens-style town crier outfit and then run around ringing a bell, announcing that Santa is on his way. Then at 7 o’clock, I dash over to his arrival spot and welcome him to Country Village. I was thinking I had only been doing that a decade or so, but in going back over my earlier blogs, I’ve been enjoying this tradition since the year 2000. This will be my 18th Santa Claus arrival at this folksy collection of shops.

And my last.

I’ve blogged about my adventures there before. There’s this one from 2009, and another from 2015.  There was the year we changed Santa’s and when I wrote about the artist who does holiday sculptures who actually looks like Santa.

Now, after almost two decades of welcoming Santa to the Country Village, we’ve arrived at the final time. Yes, the Village has been sold to a developer and beginning mid-2019, they’ll begin tearing down those vintage buildings, clearing out the land, and building a mixed-use setting of condos, apartments and stores. It’s the way of the world and by this time next year, everything will be just a memory.

Over the years, we developed a nice little holiday routine around this event. We arrive at the home of friends who live nearby, have a pre-function, then I head down to the village to cry. The rest put the party on pause, come down to watch me do my thing and then we all head back to holiday party, part 2.

I have to give a shout out to Leann Tesorieri, who runs Country Village. She was the one that asked me to do this event years ago and has been inviting back ever since. I’ve already interviewed her for a documentary I plan to do about Country Village so that future Bothell residents can realize what was once there.

Saturday is going to be a special day. One last time, I’ll put on the town crier garb, run around the Village saying, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” and telling the crowd once again that my face may not look familiar, but my hand rings a bell.

It’s tradition. Join me if you can. I’d recommend getting there and wandering around by 5:30 for the sake of parking.

So, Ho-Ho.  I’m saving the last one for Saturday.

Tim Hunter

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