The Christmas season has become all-encompassing for many families. It often signifies at least a month’s worth of decorations, decadent food, and special events. We especially love the holiday events that pop up all across our community because they create an opportunity for our family to try new things and celebrate the season together. For something a little extra special, head to Suncadia for a night or two this holiday season and immerse yourself in a Christmas-themed wonderland.

Suncadia is the perfect getaway for the holidays not only because it’s just 90-minutes from Yakima — but also because it has a fantastic holiday spirit. While the resort boasts a long list of holiday activities, you could also choose to just relax amidst the gorgeous decorations in the lodge. The beautiful décor at Suncadia will put even a Scrooge into the spirit of the season. Twinkling lights, gingerbread houses, old-fashioned sleds, and soaring Christmas trees are tastefully spread across the property, creating a lovely holiday environment.

Suncadia boasts an enormous selection of annual Christmas traditions that begin during Thanksgiving and extend through the New Year. So robust are their offerings that they publish a small booklet that details all of the events day-by-day. A Holiday Bazaar, children’s story times, holiday carolers, tree lighting celebration, holiday movies, Santa visits and a winter market are just a few of the mountain of events Suncadia plans for families during the season.

Our family of five arrived early on a Sunday morning just in time to enjoy a leisurely brunch with Santa and friends. A large convention space was transformed into a fun space for families to enjoy breakfast. Santa has a special corner where he patiently listens to children’s wishes and parents snap photos, elves guide and assist with the enormous buffet offerings, and children enjoy the life-size playable Candy Land. Santa wanders around and talks to the children, drawing them out with a few kind words while moms and dads sit back and enjoy the slow-paced morning and another coffee (spiked, if you prefer). We took a long walk after brunch, winding along paved paths through snow-clad trees. We finally ended up at the Swim and Fitness Center where the kids reveled in racing down the two inside waterslides before we all ended up in the hot tub outside. The kids sang songs and splashed each other as snow fell around us.

If you’d prefer something a bit colder than a heated swim center, walk over to the outdoor ice skating rink. Available for all ages, the rink is small but fun. We had never ice skated as a family and everyone loved it.

One of the most unique offerings at Suncadia is the Elf Tuck-In. We pre-arranged to have a pair of Santa’s elves show up in our hotel room to tuck our three children in. During registration, the staff takes down your children’s preferences so that when the elves show up at your room they mysteriously know an awful lot about your kids — helping them suspend the fantasy of Santa a little longer. The elves talked to each of our three children about what they wanted for Christmas and all the special things that Santa had noticed about them. Carter was wide-eyed when the elf talked about loving Harry Potter books and being on the ski team. Lennox was mystified that they knew she wanted a special Doc McStuffins doll for Christmas. Quinlen loved knowing Santa’s elves had noticed how well she was doing in school. The elves read a special book to the kids and then tucked them into their beds, leaving each of them a small stuffed animal as a present.

Outdoor activities, while weather dependent, could keep you busy for a week. If there is plenty of snow you can sail down the hill on inner tubes. Sign up for a family sleigh ride in the horse park. People of all ages will enjoy being pulled along by two gentle Percheron horses — Tip and Lucky. Suncadia’s own Nelson Farm offers a Winter Elk Experience where you can see the elk up close each afternoon.

Several miles of groomed trails give you the chance to explore Suncadia on cross-country skis or snowshoes. There are also guided snowshoe or cross-country ski tours off-property, customized to a family’s ability and fitness level.

Suncadia is supported by a variety of local businesses which offer plenty of off-property winter fun as well, including guided snowmobile tours to get you into some lovely backcountry scenery. Anglers will love the chance to explore the Yakima river with the walk and wade guided winter fly fishing tour that is 2-3 hours long. If wading sounds too difficult, they also offer great winter fly fishing in a drift boat. When the river flow is low in the winter and the water is icy clear, chances are good that you’ll snag a big fish.

A favorite Suncadia offering is the Snowshoe and Brew Tour. A Suncadia outdoor pursuit guide takes groups on a fun 5-mile snowshoe adventure from the Suncadia Lodge to Roslyn, stopping along the way at the historic Roslyn Cemetery. Roslyn has the state’s oldest continuously operating saloon, The Brick Tavern, where guests can enjoy a flight of local craft beers.

If the weather is too cold or snowy you could spend your entire visit inside the lodge experiencing any number of fun activities. Santa’s Workshop offers three fun classes: Gingerbread house building, Bear Factory, where your child can select a bear and then build it and accessorize it, and a class where you make hand-crafted ornaments to add to your family tree.

No special getaway would be complete without some spa time and the Glade Spring Spa at Suncadia is a lovely place to unwind during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays. In addition to their normal full-spa offerings, they put together several unique holiday packages including a Hot Stone & Hot Toddies massage followed by their signature yummy hot toddy drink.

Almost every evening the lodge offers complimentary S’mores out by the fire pit at the main lodge; our family loved roasting marshmallows as snowflakes fluttered around us. This was a special treat to enjoy after a long day of activities.

Besides playing life-size Candy Land over and over again, our family really enjoyed just sitting by the fire in the lodge near the beautifully-decorated Christmas tree and playing checkers and Go Fish — complimentary games provided by the front desk. We loved Suncadia and can hardly wait to return and try a new round of special activities next time.

Note: Because of a fire this fall, the main 'Portals' restaurant at Suncadia is not open, however the Gaslamp Grill offers the same menu and a full bar, and the 56-Degrees Bar is also serving food and cocktails. The coffee shop and snack bars are also open.