Get Your Holiday Tree in the Christmas Tree Capital of the World!

By Rachel Hansen

In the wake of Hood Canal’s timber boom it was discovered that the glacial till left after the fjord was carved was ideal ground for growing Douglas Fir trees. During the 1950s and 1960s, the area annually harvested several million, earning it the title as “Christmas Tree Capital of the World.”

Local u-cut and pre-cut farms around Hood Canal continue to “Keep it Real” by producing some of the finest Nobles, Grands, Frasers as well as Douglas Firs. Northwest growers claim that real trees help the environment and are recyclable and biodegradable while artificial trees will eventually end up in a landfill. 

Many families head to local farms each year to select their favorite and enjoy holiday activities like hayrides, petting zoos and visits with Santa. There’s hardly anything that’s more quintessentially Christmas than decorating a handpicked Pacific Northwest Christmas tree and gathering your family around a tree that you brought home together from Hood Canal. Want to start a new tradition? Olympic Forest Permits are $5.00 each and are good for one U-cut tree on the Olympic National Forest. Find your tree here:

Christmastown Santa

The 32' Santa Claus was first installed for the Seattle World Fair in 1962 by the Shelton Chamber of Commerce. 

Shelton Christmas Trees

During the 1950s & 1960s, the area annually harvested several million trees, earning it the title of "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" 

Guinness Record Win for Largest Lit Christmas Tree Display

In December 2019 Shelton celebrated their timber heritage and took Christmas head on and confirmed their Christmastown distinction with a successful attempt at the Guinness World Record for “Most Lit Christmas Trees” in one location. The previous record was set by the Hallmark Channel in 2015 (559 trees). Shelton’s win was recorded during the annual Santa Claus parade with a total of 797 qualified trees. The trees were arranged in a lighted maze that families could explore. 

Shelton Tree Maze

This year, Christmastown is once again presenting a series of holiday activities. On Cota Street the giant Christmas tree maze pays tribute to the 2019 Guinness World Record win. In fact, this one is even larger, with over a 1000 lit trees and plenty of twists, turns and surprised that will delight the young and young at heart! Open daily through December, families can wander the one-way maze free of charge. The maze is best viewed at night with thousands upon thousands of lights that make every festive family picture twinkle.  

Tree Maze

The 2021 Guinness Tribute maze is open through December on Cota Street in Shelton, WA. 

Tree Maze

Twinkle lights in the trees creates a sparkle in the eyes. The maze makes for great holiday photos!

Christmastown Market & FREE Holiday Activities

On the first two weekends in December, Christmastown will also feature an indoor Christmas market, with live crafting sessions, wreath and cookie workshops, live music, gingerbread challenge and cocoa and cookie wagon rides to view the lights. The wagon will feature three sitting areas for families and include music and a tour of the downtown lights. Dress warmly, bring your own blanket or purchase a souvenir fleece blanket with your dinner tickets. 

Travel down Railroad Avenue for a spectacular display of Christmas cheer. Retro decorations and lights line the shopfronts and cafe lights swooping across the street as you spy the giant Christmas tree in Post Office Park. Nearby, don’t forget to get a family picture with the historic caboose and engine decked with lights and garland.

Front Street Lights

Railroad Avenue in downtown Shelton is a popular shopping destination. 

Window Display

Store windows will display the 2021 Gingerbread entries. 

Roasting Marshmallows

Warm up with the traditional street fire-pits and marshmallow roasts.

December 3 at 4 PM, head to the Shelton Cinema for a holiday movie (free with food donation). This year's selection is Elf (2003). Shelton Downtown Merchants invite you to shop local with a rewards card valid during Christmastown week, December 3-12. Shop at participating businesses and when your card is full – enter to win a basket of local goodies.

As dusk falls Friday, Second Street will be closed for photos with the giant Christmas tree. At 6:00 PM Railroad Ave will be the location of Kristmas Town Kiwanis' Christmas block party! Enjoy marshmallow roasting, kiddie train rides, craft activities as well as caroling karaoke. Get family photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus when they make a special appearance at the event. 

Wagon Ride

The annual Santa Claus Parade little different this year. On Saturday, December 4 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, visitors to Shelton are invited to enjoy a reverse parade. What's that? Instead of the floats traveling down Railroad Ave, spectators walk by the stationary floats in the center of Railroad and performers are positioned along the route. Families can enjoy the parade displays, street bonfires, music, kiddie train rides, crafting and yet another visit with Santa and Mrs Claus. 

start a new family tradition

Mason County is proud of its timber town Christmastown heritage – but they are even more crazy about  the dramatic water views, majestic mountain backgrounds, unmatched tranquility and boundless outdoor activities. Here are just a few places to base your holiday adventures. Find lodging deals here:

Calm Cove Lodge

Built in 1930 on acreage chosen for its beauty, vistas and the protected waters of Calm Cove. Situated across the street from its own private beach! Relax on the covered porch, gather around the 90-year-old fireplace, birdwatch in the surrounding woods and fields. Slip a kayak into Hood Canal and journey the short distance to Alderbrook Resort or Downtown Union. A truly unique experience that is not soon to be forgotten. Check out Calm Cove Lodge here:

Alderbrook Skyhouse

Iconic 1970's PNW home on Alderbrook Creek with sky room views of the Hood Canal and Olympic Mountains. Surround yourself in nature with two levels of wrap-around decks, or walk amongst the treetops on the Skyroom balcony. This one-of-a-kind home sleeps 11, with three bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Perfect for a group retreat, family getaway, or reunion! See Alderbrook Skyhouse here:


For more information on the Christmastown activities and how you and your family can get in on the fun, visit

For quick inspiration, visit: 797+ Reasons to Head to the Hood.