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Ready for turkey day and the start of the holiday season? Whether you’re already finishing up your Christmas shopping or thinking of nothing but Thanksgiving until Nov. 29, it’s a good time to do some planning.

Permits are available now to cut your own Christmas tree in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and while it may seem early, the U.S. Forest Service recommends cutting your tree as soon as possible before winter weather makes access on forest roads difficult. Maps and information on cutting locations in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties are provided when you buy your permit at ranger stations during varying hours and for cash only, $10 for a tree up to 12 feet and $20 for a taller tree. Permits are also available at Seattle and Alderwood REI stores during their regular hours, with the option to pay by credit/debit card.

Downtown Seattle’s first official Christmas event, the Festival of Trees Celebration and lighting of the grand lobby tree, is Sunday at the historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel. For the festival, ornately decorated, themed trees will be auctioned Saturday to raise money for the Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Uncompensated Care at Seattle Children’s hospital, and will remain on display at the Fairmont Olympic through Dec. 4. Sunday’s event also includes a sneak peak at the Teddy Bear Suite, a longtime local holiday tradition that opens for regular hours Nov. 29.

Grab your running shoes and your turkey costume for another holiday tradition, the Seattle Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Run or walk the informal 5K to benefit the Ballard Food Bank or join in other Thanksgiving Day runs in Seattle’s Magnuson Park and at Bainbridge Island, Tacoma and Gig Harbor.

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And while you’re enjoying Thanksgiving, plan on getting up early the next day to join the festive crowds heading to Seattle’s downtown Holiday Parade, the official kickoff of the season Nov. 29.

For comprehensive listings of holiday events, see our Holiday Guide in Sunday’s NWArts & Life and in Weekend Plus throughout the season.

Madeline McKenzie:

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