Cut your own Christmas tree in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest; Festival of Trees; Gingerbread Village, Holiday Parade, Nov. 17-23.

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If you don’t want to hear anything about Christmas until after Turkey Day next week, stop, move along, nothing to see here. But if you’re ready to start planning for the holiday season, we have news you can use.

Permits are on sale now to cut your own Christmas tree in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. Whether you’re continuing a family tradition of heading to the woods to find the perfect tree or thinking of trying it for the first time, maps and information are available with permits at ranger stations and REI stores in Seattle and Lynnwood. Lynnwood REI sells the permits daily and is the only location that accepts credit and debit cards for them. It’s cash only everywhere else: $10 for trees 12 feet and shorter, $20 for trees taller than 12 feet.

U.S. Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Renee Bodine recommends getting out to cut your tree as soon as possible before winter weather gets extreme, and to call the nearest ranger station the day you go to get the latest weather and road conditions.

For Christmas-tree inspiration, head to the Fairmont Olympic Hotel for the Festival of Trees display, noon Saturday through Nov. 28, with 20 grandly decorated trees to be auctioned to benefit Seattle Children’s hospital. To help kick it off, join the Festival of Trees Celebration 2-5 p.m. Sunday, with Santa, a holiday boutique, entertainment, lighting of the Fairmont lobby tree and opening of the hotel’s Teddy Bear Suite. Starting Monday, the popular holiday-themed Teddy Bear Suite is open daily through Dec. 24.

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The Gingerbread Village of holiday creations by Seattle architecture firms and Sheraton culinary staff opens Tuesday at Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers. “Fairy-tale castles” is the theme this year. Donations benefit the Northwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

And while you’re enjoying Thanksgiving on Nov. 22, remember to plan to get up early the next day to join the festive crowds heading to Seattle’s downtown Holiday Parade, the official kickoff of the season next Friday.

For comprehensive listings of holiday events from now till New Year’s Eve, see this Sunday’s edition of NWArts & Life and check Community Datebook every Friday.

The details

Tree-cutting permits: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, Outdoor Recreation Information Center inside REI, 222 Yale Ave. N., Seattle (206-470-4060); 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays, REI, 3000 184th St. S.W., Lynnwood (425-640-6200). Call for hours and current conditions: Mt. Baker Ranger Station, Sedro-Woolley (360-856-5700, Ext. 515); Verlot Public Service Center, Granite Falls (360-691-7791); Snoqualmie Ranger Station, North Bend (425-888-1421); Enumclaw office (360-825-6585); and Glacier Public Service Center (360-599-2714). More information:

Festival of Trees: Celebration, 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., Seattle; free, donations welcome; Teddy Bear Suite open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Dec. 24; free, donations to Seattle Children’s hospital suggested (

Gingerbread Village: Tuesday through Jan. 1, Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers, 1400 Sixth Ave., Seattle; free, donations collected for Northwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (206-621-9000 or

Holiday Parade: 9 a.m. Nov. 23, from Seventh Avenue and Pine Street, ending at Fourth Avenue and Pine Street; Seattle (

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or

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