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Ho Ho Ho! Santa greets diners at this family-owned eatery in South Seattle

The family-owned restaurant decks the halls and gives back to the community every holiday season. #k5evening

SEATTLE — A family-owned restaurant in South Seattle has transformed into the North Pole for the holidays.

The Stonehouse Café in Rainier Valley goes big for Christmas — from festive decorations and a holiday drink menu, to free photos with Santa.

"We really appreciate our community and try to do little things like that to excite the area,” said co-owner Max Heigh.

They also give back to the neighborhood. On Dec. 4, the restaurant hosted a toy drive brunch and offered discounts to diners who brought toys for children. The event raised 70 toys, which will be donated to nearby non-profit Treehouse.

Seasonal drinks include specials from their espresso bar, like peppermint or gingerbread lattes, and cocktails like Spiked Eggnog and Rudolph's Mule, garnished with mint and rosemary from the on-site garden.

The small building adjacent to the dining room, where the family produces side business Laina Ice Cream, has been transformed into Santa’s Workshop.

"Mom does the decor, she gets really crazy with it,” Heigh said, laughing. "One of the top reasons we purchased this property, and I'm not kidding, was because it reminded her of a gingerbread house. So, here we are.”

The Stonehouse Café has a number of upcoming holiday events, including Gingerbread House Decorating and Wine Night on Dec. 9. Information is available online.

Families can enjoy free photos with Santa in his workshop Dec.10-11 and 17-18 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

There are also holiday cookie making kits available for purchase inside the café.

The Stonehouse Café is located at 9701 Rainier Ave. S. and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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