Who says our Christian friends have to have all the fun on December 25th? Sure, they get the tree, the new toys and gadgets, the family time. But who says we Jews have to be stuck at home just because the health club is closed?
Start with Latkepalooza: Just like “Fiddler on the Roof” (see below), it’s tradition! Tradition for the under-35 crowd, that is. Hop in a cab Christmas Eve and head over to the Q nightclub on Capitol Hill for the annual Jconnect/Jewish Federation Young Adult Division blowout so you can get your once-a-year catch-up with your childhood friends or to make new ones. Great drinks, loud music, and people dressed in their cocktail best doing their darnedest to stay upright. It’s a great time and far warmer than riding shotgun in Santa’s sleigh. Tickets cost $20 now, go up to $25 on Monday the 17th, and cost $30 at the door. Visit www.jconnectseattle.org or contact Josh Furman at email@example.com. Doors open at 9. The real party starts much later.
If that Q is not your style, there’s always the mysterious, enigmatic other Q, the one pulling the strings behind superspy James Bond. Theaters are open and “Skyfall,” one of the grittiest, most explosive Bond flicks ever, is still moonraking in the bucks at theaters all over town, as are dozens of other feel-good romcoms and Oscar wannabe contenders — ’tis the season, after all. And you’ll need something to keep you awake after your Chinese dinner.
On the 25th, if you’re still in the movie-going mood, check out the “Fiddler on the Roof” Sing-A-Long. You know it’s Jewish when the intermission includes a Chinese food buffet! Those crafty folks over at the SIFF Cinema know a day out for Jews when they see it, and they’re taking full advantage. The Norman Jewison adaptation, starring Chaim Topol, of the old Sholom Aleichem story starts at 1 p.m. and ends sometime in the middle of 2013. Yes, the movie is that long, but at least you’ll have the buffet. Visit www.siff.net/cinema/detail.aspx?FID=261&id=45907 to purchase tickets.
Want to head outdoors? Go climb a rock. Yes, we know, actually heading up to the hills to go rock climbing is at best a wet, slippery affair in late December. But not if you do it inside! Stone Gardens in both Seattle and Bellevue are open on the 25th, meaning you can scramble as up, up and away from your beloved family as you’d like. You still need someone to belay the rope, though. Visit www.stonegardens.com for information and locations.
If want to go up in the air but have a softer landing, the trampoline-filled warehouse known as Sky High Sports in Bellevue is open on the 24th until 5 p.m., and on the afternoon of the 25th, starting at 2 p.m. Visit sea.jumpskyhigh.com for details.
If you do plan to head for the hills, whether for a day of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing or to hit the slopes, the trails are always open. If you need to rent equipment, be sure to do so the day before, as most sporting-goods stores are not likely to be open to take care of those needs.
If you like to go fast, but you’re not so excited about the cold, K1 Speed indoor go-karting is open on the 24th and 25th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Their location on Bel-Red Rd. on the Bellevue–Redmond line has plenty of space to zoom around the track and get out that frustration from all those crazies on the road. You just miss out on the wind blowing through your hair. Visit www.k1speed.com for more details.
While these activities are fun, it certainly feels good to help others. Hospitals throughout the area rely on volunteers for many non-essential services, but those people often want to spend Christmas at home with their families. Call your local hospital a week or so before the holiday to find out what sorts of volunteer opportunities are available — just don’t show up on the 25th and expect to have someone available to get you started.
A couple other volunteer opportunities: Serve meals for shelter residents through the Compass Housing Alliance. There are as many as 60 opportunities available at several locations in Seattle for people to cook and drop off dishes as well as to serve them. Contact Compass’ volunteer coordinator Kevin Friedrich at 206-357-3108 for details.
Or take a carousel ride. Proceeds from the Wonderland Carousel at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle benefit Treehouse for Kids, which provides activities and educational support for foster children throughout the area. But they also need six to 12 volunteers to staff the carousel each shift all the way through Jan. 1. Families are welcome. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Finally, why not spend time with family and friends? What better time to get your fellow Jews together — and maybe some non-Jewish friends with no other place to go — for an afternoon cocktail party or a Woody Allen movie night? Do it in the guise of trying all those Christmas foods you say you’d otherwise never let into your own house. Minus the ham, of course.
Merry, um, December 25th, everyone!