Holiday Hot Tips


You don’t need to brave the horrors of a crowded mall in Portland where we have several local craft fairs that feature truly unique artisans and extra special gifts.

SATURDAY MARKET Portland’s longest running outdoor market stays open all the way through Christmas Eve every Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Waterfront and Ankeny Parks in downtown Portland. Extended holiday days and hours.

CRAFTY WONDERLAND Quarterly hipster craft extravaganza gives us two days in honor of the holiday season, December 8th and 9th, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center (777 NE MLK Jr Blvd). Goodie bags and free admission.

BIKECRAFT Nothing goes together better than Portland queers and bikes, so check out this one-of-a-kind and oh-so-Portlandia fair December 1st and 2nd 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at Sandbox Studio (420 NE 9th Ave). Admission is free and prizes are given throughout the fair.


Lots of different types of venues where you can see holiday lights without running up your own electric bill.

PEACOCK LANE The homiest of all the light shows, Peacock Lane is simply a neighborhood in Southeast Portland that has agreed to celebrate their holiday spirit with lights, nativity scenes and Santa replicas since the 1920s. The lane is between SE Stark and Belmont, one block east of Cesar Chavez, and runs 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. December 15th – 31st with pedestrian only nights the 15th and 16th. You can even take a horse drawn carriage!

ZOO LIGHTS More than a million LED lights with animal themes take over the Oregon Zoo from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. November 21st thru December 31st. Features include moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees, animal silhouettes and a light-bedecked steamer train.

CHRISTMAS SHIPS See lights floating merrily down our city’s main stream from December 7th – 21st (with a special performance in Camas/Washougal December 1st) featuring a 55 – 60 boat fleet of volunteers.


Just a few ideas to make the yuletide gay.

GLITTER Gays tend to like glitter all year round but now is your opportunity to really get out the reflective glitz. It’s the perfect contrast to the Pacific Northwest natural look and can add just the right contrast to a real tree. Glittered looks have appeared in more vendors’ lines either as new collections or as updates on popular classics like Kurt Adler nutcrackers.

EURO/RETRO MASHUP Mid-century modern is the perfect motif for a cheeky yet stylish take on the holiday season. Rockefeller Christmas accessories can be both festive and ironic and it’s fun to throw in a little 70s Scandinavian charm into the mix of bubble lights. Rumor has it Santa actually resides in Lapland, and it should be easy to get good decorations from Ikea.

SEASIDE CHARM I keep seeing the idea of a coastal Christmas popping up everywhere and there are lots of ways to integrate a nautical theme into the season. Think seashells, candles and metal lanterns. Plus, it’s a great excuse to make a winter escape to Cannon Beach for some cute new ornaments, and hopefully, a seaside cabin with a hot tub. Think of it as a present to yourself.


We already know that no one likes Fruitcake, but what other food and booze ideas can we come up with that bridge the traditional and the new?

PARTY COCKTAILS I love a good eggnog or hot buttered rum but here’s a particularly different winter punch recipe for a drink dubbed “Santa’s Helper.” Soak peeled and sliced cucumber wedges and crushed mint overnight in Bacardi Limon. Then right before the party, strain out the solids and add limeade concentrate, no-sodium soda water, and enough cranberry juice to create a beautifully crimson cocktail. Garnish with lime slices.

For a more individual drink try this one!

1 peppermint stick, crushed
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce peppermint schnapps
1 ounce Triple Sec
1 small candy cane

Use crumbled mint bits on the rim, then combine the vodka, schnapps, Triple Sec and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain the mix into the martini glass and garnish with the candy cane.

Alternately, if you’re really lazy, just make some hot chocolate and hang a cane on the rim of the coffee cup until it melts into the warm chocolate.

DESSERT TABLE Party guests love variety, and a table of tiny desserts can give you the opportunity to throw in some handmade creations while not feeling bad about filling the bulk of it with store bought goodness. Luckily, in this foodie town there are a ton of local bakers and candy makers that will make the whole table look fancy and homemade. Try mini-cupcakes from Cupcake Jones, traditional candy such as peppermint bark from Willamette Valley Confectionary (a handmade candy company run by our own A&E editor Ken Hoyt), or the more traditional holiday petit fours and ribbon candy from the decidedly not-Northwest, but still delicious, Swiss Colony. That last one’s part of my bi-coastal family tradition.

Alley Hector

About Alley Hector

Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.

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