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Enjoy these COVID-safe holiday activities and giving

Christmas ship, circa 1960 (Seattle Municipal Archives)

It has been a hard year! For many people, the feelings of joy and celebration typically felt during the holiday season have been replaced by sentiments a bit more melancholy in 2020. If you fall into this category, fear not. We are here to help!

Over the past nine months, we have been amazed at the creative ways individuals and organizations have adjusted to COVID restrictions. For programs like the Georgetown Super 8 Film Festival, much of their annual planning revolves around bringing people together for a large community screening in the fall. As COVID infections continued to rise, the planning team quickly realized an event like this was not going to be possible this year. During last year’s screening, the films were shown on multiple monitors in a gallery lobby. When looking for a way to shift their event, festival director Laura Wright thought maybe they could utilize the same technology in a socially distanced setting, while also helping neighborhood businesses impacted by the pandemic. 

 “Watching businesses close and the street [Airport Way] look somewhat abandoned gave me the idea that we could use this technology to create something to activate this street and give people a reason to go for a walk,” Laura said.

Utilizing funds from their 2019 Duwamish River Opportunity Fund award, they rented window space in popular Georgetown establishments and set up outward facing monitors that play the winning films on a loop for people to watch safely from the sidewalk. Audio for each film is accessed on the viewers personal device by scanning a QR code or visiting the festival website.

“More than ever we need to be able to celebrate each other, see evidence of life before the pandemic, and be reminded that we will get through this together (as we have through so many other difficult things) and be stronger for it.”

The films are playing now through January 9 and offer a great opportunity to get out on the town for a fun, COVID-safe activity over the holidays.

Inspired by this project, we compiled a list of other things you can do over the next few weeks to get out on the town or give back to people in need.

Get Out on the Town

Georgetown Super 8 Film Festival – Visit their site for a list of films and screening locations.  Open through 1/9.

Story Porch, Wa Na Wari – This outdoor installation transforms the front porch of the art and cultural center into a “celebration of West African spiritual practices and ancestral storytelling.” It is part of a larger exhibit entitled “Shaping the Past” that considers the role of public spaces, monuments, and the public’s relationship to both. The exhibit is open to the public 7 days a week through 12/31.

Visit Black Santa – 100 Black Parents is hosting a FREE visit with Black Santa this Sunday, December 20, 12-4 pm, at Debonair Decor in the Pacific Place Mall. Visitors need to RSVP to receive free ticket and arrival time. Social distancing and masks are required.

Stonington Gallery’s Skyward: Group Exhibit on the Realm Above – Available to view both virtually and in-person, this exhibit features pieces by various indigenous artists that invites viewers to look skyward to our celestial neighbors for inspiration. Open through 1/30.

Street Mural Tour – Street art has long been an element of Seattle’s urban landscape. Over the past nine months, more and more murals have popped up with messages of anti-racism and social commentary on the COVID-19 pandemic. Use this link to map out your own city mural tour and help increase the database by submitting new pieces.

Shop Local

Shop Your Block – Shop Your Block brings the local economy to you! Use the retail map to search for retailers near you by business name, neighborhood name, or product keywords. 

Virtual Native Art Markets – Support local, indigenous artists by shopping at the 2020 Virtual Native Art Market through the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

Rainier Beach Arts and Crafts Market – Purchase goods from South Seattle artists online through Sunday December 20.

Seattle Green Book – Utilize Seattle’s Black-owned businesses directory to support local Black-owned establishments and people holding space for the Black community around the Puget Sound.

Intentionalist Online Shopping – Intentionalist is an online guide to intentional spending that supports small businesses and diverse local communities.

Give Back

Donate to Your Neighborhood Food Bank – Find the food bank nearest you and learn what items they need most.

Toiletry Drive with Seattle Parks – Four Seattle community centers are accepting donations of single use, hotel-sized toiletry items to support Seattle Parks and Recreation hygiene services for community members during the holidays. Donations accepted through 1/8.

Support Seattle Music Venues and Theaters -Music venues and performing arts centers have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Help save independent venues by purchasing merchandise or donating to Keep Music Live.

Help Feed Women Experiencing Homelessness – Chef Jason Hester is preparing Christmas brunch and dinner services for more than 100 women at YWCA’s Café Angeline’s Day Center. You can help by donating Costco gift cards or holiday decorations.