Monday, December 12th, 2016
Kids, or Kids at Heart, Will Love Christmastime in Fairhaven Village, Bellingham
Hilary Parker

Horse-drawn carriage rides past Village Books.

I can think of little else so magical as celebrating Christmastime in Bellingham’s Fairhaven Village. The trees are illuminated with tiny white lights and evergreen wreaths deck the street lamps. The windows are filled with cheerful holiday displays, and everyone offers a smile or a hello.

Shop display in Fairhaven, Bellingham, Wash.

And there is Christmas magic afoot in Fairhaven sure to delight your children, grandkids or kids at heart.

Start on the Village Green, where a display of trees draws visitors’ attention. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see the red post box for sending letters directly to Santa at the North Pole!

Letters posted here are delivery directly to Santa.

Or if you’re in Fairhaven on a Saturday during the season, children can visit Father Christmas himself in the lobby of the Fairhaven Village Inn. The cozy, elegant lobby is a grand spot for children to have a chat with Father Christmas, while the adults can snap a photo to remember the visit.

Girl visits with Father Christmas, Fairhaven Village Inn, Bellingham

As is tradition when Santa visits the Village Inn, he hands out a Victorian-era treat of an orange instead of a candy cane.

While at the Village Inn you won’t want to miss the horse-drawn carriage ride around the Fairhaven shopping district. Pile into the carriage pulled by the beautiful coal-black draft horses of Cramer Classics of Everson. There is no charge for the rides, but donations can be made to the horses’ “carrot fund.”

Horse-drawn carriage pulls up to Fairhaven Village Inn, Bellingham

Our entire family enjoyed the ride along 10th Street to Larrabee Avenue to 11th Street and down Mill Avenue back to the Inn. The ride isn’t too long, which is just fine considering the nippy temperatures. Be sure to bring a hat and a scarf!

Carriage ride past Paper Dreams, Fairhaven

Father Christmas and the carriage rides are available Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m., between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Christmas shopping on the sly

Fairhaven is always a great place to shop for a one-of-a-kind gift, and the merchants outdo themselves each year with a selection of wonderful options.

Festive Fairhaven

I think it’s fun to bring the kiddos to Fairhaven to do a little covert Christmas shopping for them. We make a tour of their favorite places in Fairhaven – from Village Books to Fairhaven Toy Garden to Fairhaven Bicycle  – to ooh and ahh over all the fantastic items for sale.

Bears and bunnies at Fairhaven Toy Garden

Then, I make mental notes of gift ideas that I can come back for later. Or, if dad or grandma are along with, one of us can sneakily double back to buy the gifts that day.

Our day wouldn’t be complete without a treat. Cookies from Avenue Bread are a favorite with my kiddos, but there is certainly no shortage of places to get a cup of cocoa or a little snack.

With bellies full and anticipation high for Christmas morning, we head home from our Fairhaven adventure.

For more Christmas ideas see Holiday Events in Bellingham and Whatcom County.

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About the Author:

Hilary Parker is a writer and editor living in Bellingham. She is the mother of two and stepmother of three, ranging in age from 6-13. Her Brady-Bunch style family likes to explore the local trails.