Catch a holiday event this season with the family

The most wonderful — and busiest — time of the year has arrived.

We were able to get a head start on shopping this year. And I scheduled a couple of vacation days the week before Christmas so that (hopefully) my house will sparkle for the holidays.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have one of those relaxing, cocoa-sipping, fireplace-watching, carol-singing Christmas Eves, like in the movies. But what can I say? We like to keep busy, and so many great events are going on during the next six weeks or so. If past years are any indication, I’ll still end up wrapping some gifts, decorating cookies, mopping floors, addressing holiday cards and stressing out like a mad woman on Christmas Eve.

If you haven’t warmed up for the holiday season yet, try one of these events:

1. Run for a cause and possibly hot cocoa

The Jingle Bell Run is a holiday-themed 5k on Dec. 6 that goes through the wooded campus of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. There’s also a 1.55-mile fun run and walk. The finish line has Christmas cookies, cider and cocoa. The cost of registration before Dec. 4 runs from $5 to $35. Kids 11 and younger can run for free. Proceeds go to Saint Martin’s Athletics. For more information, go to stmartin.edu/jinglebellrun.

The Reindeer Run will be at 9 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia. The event, which features a 5k run and a free 1-mile Cane Run, is a fundraiser for the Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers. The 5k costs $30. The event will feature a Christmas-themed costume contest and a visit from Santa Claus. Register at crimebusters.org or active.com or in person at South Sound Running, 3405 Capitol Blvd., Olympia. For more information, call 360-561-0266.

2. Catch a Christmas tree ceremony

Olympia’s tree in Sylvester Park, along Capitol Way South and Legion Way Southeast, will be lit during Downtown for the Holidays, which runs noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 30. The event includes a parade, visits with Santa and entertainment. For more information, go to downtownolympia.com.

The city of Lacey will have its “Lighting of the Christmas Trees” from 6-6:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 at Huntamer Park in Woodland Square, 618 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey. For more information, go to ci.lacey.wa.us and click on “Arts and Events.” The program includes cocoa, caroling and visits with Santa.

The 12th Christmas Tree Lighting Festival will be from 2-5 p.m. Dec. 13 at Tumwater City Hall headquarters, 555 Israel Road SW, Tumwater. The event features holiday crafts, performances by school choirs, the arrival of Santa on an antique firetruck and the lighting of the city’s tree. For more information, go to ci.tumwater.wa.us and click on upcoming events.

3. Brighten up those winter nights with some light displays

From Nov. 28-Jan. 4, walk through the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma and check out animal-themed displays made with more than a half-million lights. Zoolights runs from 5-9 p.m. nightly (except for Dec. 25). For details, go to pdza.org.

If you’d rather stay warm and in your car, check out Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park, the largest drive-through holiday display in the Northwest. It runs from 5:30-9 p.m. nightly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. For more information, go to piercecountywa.org/parks.

4. Take a walk through Christmas Forest

Check out dozens of decorated trees and wreaths at Christmas Forest Dec. 3-7 at the Red Lion Hotel, 2300 Evergreen Park Drive NW, Olympia. The event is organized by the Providence St. Peter Foundation, and raises money to support charity care and life-saving medical equipment.

For more information, including viewing times and admission prices, go to provforest.org.

5. Create the ultimate ‘Ugly Holiday Sweater’

Bring a boring sweater, and use buttons, ribbons and other embellishments to create an ugly holiday sweater that’s worth talking about from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Lacey Timberland Library, 500 College St. SE, Lacey.

The event is geared to adults and teens, and is sponsored by Friends of the Lacey Timberland Library. For more information, got to trlib.org.