7 Ways to Ring in the Holidays in Bend

Selecting A Christmas Tree
This holiday season, get a permit to cut your own Christmas tree and make it a family outing.

For those moving to Bend in 2020, getting involved in local holiday festivities is often an important priority for your first winters here – and also a challenge during times when social distancing is required. Here are the top events you and your families can try out!

1. Get a Permit to Cut Your Own Tree

Central Oregon offers limited permits to cut a single tree in certain areas of the Deschutes National Forest. During COVID-19 restrictions, this is an excellent and healthy adventure you can go on with your family while still staying safe. Find the right tools, learn about what trees to watch for, and have fun hiking in a beautiful winter forest! Just remember to bring supplies, a compass, and stay careful! There’s no better time than 2020 to find your own tree.

2. Festival of Trees

Traditionally, Festival of Trees had families and businesses create beautifully decorated Christmas trees and auction them off with proceeds going to charity. This year, the event has been transformed into a clever Tour of Trees, now through December 5, that culminates into a virtual auction on December 5, 2020. Funds raised will benefit the Hospice of Redmond to provide services for terminally ill people and their families.

3. I Like Pie Run

The “I Like Pie Run/Walk” is a kid-friendly event designed to help kids get out and active before Thanksgiving. This year, it’s been re-designed so families can get together in small groups and choose times and places – plus inventive costumes and delicious pies designed to be taken and shared at the event. Post pictures on social media, and your group may be able to win various prizes, too.

4. Christmas Bags Pickleball Tournament

If you like Pickleball, you’ll want to check out this doubles’ tournament combined with a toy drive to raise money for kids in early December. You can knock off a few dollars on the entry fee if you bring a new toy, too. The event happens on December 5th at Pickleball Zone – masks and regulations will still apply.

5. Drop Off a Letter for Santa

While it may be more difficult to meet with Santa in person this year, there are opportunities for kids, nonetheless. One of our favorites are the two mailboxes that will be posted in the Old Mill District now through Dec. 19, designed to receive letters for Santa at the North Pole. Authentic letters are guaranteed a response, so there’s some fun anticipation, too – just remember to add your correct address!

6. Get a Gingerbread House Decorating Kit

Gingerbread house decorating is a perfect activity for staying inside and warm with your family while still celebrating a ton of holiday cheer. You can always pick up your own supplies and wing it, but for an excellent experience you can also pick up a decorating kit from Gingerbread Traditions at the Sunriver Main Lodge (instructions are included for those new to the whole experience). Or, if you don’t make it up there, you can find a lot of ideas online.

7. Get it to Go on #TakeoutTuesdays

If you’re busy, don’t have kids, and are still trying to get settled in, celebrating the holidays in 2020 may be a challenge. We suggest taking a look at #TakeoutTuesdays, where Bend residents take one day a week to order new foods from a local restaurant and support Bend’s businesses during these trying times (Grubhub, UberEats, Doordash, and many other apps are perfect for this, while other places do pickups). It’s easy, frees up some time to spend with a significant other, and it’s a great way to try warm, tasty winter foods that you may never have gotten to experience otherwise. Local favorites like Jackson’s Corner, Crux Fermentation, Sunriver Brewery, Worthy Brewing, and many more will have amazing seasonal foods!