By Nina Huang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
From the owners of Dochi and GoPoke comes a unique holiday pop-up experience that brings cheer and joy to the Chinatown-International District (CID) for everyone to enjoy.
Feeling the Christmas spirit in the heart of CID
“When you walk through the doors, you get into the holiday spirit and JolliDaze is meant to help you forget what’s out there,” Jason Le said.
JolliDaze recently opened its doors to the public to enjoy the dessert and drinks, as well as the holiday decor. Asian-inspired festive drinks like merry mocha (Vietnamese robusta coffee and hot cocoa whipped cream) and frosted Phin affair (Phin-dripped Vietnamese coffee stirred with condensed milk served with vanilla creme) are featured on their menu. Or you can indulge in sweet treats like cookies, churros, and ice cream.
When you step inside, you are quickly transported to what one would imagine the North Pole would look like. There are gorgeously decorated trees throughout, with colorful lights and candy canes hanging from the ceilings, and holiday emblems such as the gingerbread man everywhere.
There are even hints of nostalgia with old school TVs playing classic holiday films, Christmas figurines you’d only find in your grandmother’s cupboard, and, if you’re lucky, you can snag a seat in the Grinch’s corner.
JolliDaze is based on the idea of the Dochi experience to create a positive impact and make others feel better. The mission statement and vision behind JolliDaze is to create something positive to help people forget about the troubles in the world and remember the good times and nostalgia of their childhood Christmas memories.
“When we moved here from Hawaii, we frequented the CID a lot because we felt a sense of belonging and energy. It was somewhere where we felt like we belonged,” Michael said.
Jason and Michael both hope that JolliDaze will bring back more foot traffic to the neighborhood. It’s a great family destination for those craving a slice of winter wonderland.
“When we first opened GoPoke, no matter what time of day, it was always lively. We want to bring back that energy and traffic, and for people to come here and enjoy what we once knew,” Michael added.
A family affair
There are a total of seven Le siblings and everyone was involved in some way.
“It’s a big family thing,” Jason said.
It couldn’t have been done without everyone’s help. He may have sparked the idea at the end of October, but to have Michael and the rest of his siblings help with the interior design, painting, and decoration setup made it more meaningful. Everything came together in about a month and a half.
“I feel like it’s an exciting thing to do. It’s something we used to do as kids, we used to work together as a family. Working as a family to do something to provide our guests is pretty awesome,” Michael shared.
Jason also shared that all the nieces and nephews have been so excited to be a part of JolliDaze. Jason and Michael’s 5-year-old niece, Reagan Dumadag, has been the star of the Instagram channel thus far.
“I say I work for Reagan because a big part of what we do is for the kids. When they come here, they see their parents, aunties, and uncles work. We want to instill in them that we can do it together and hopefully they can learn and be inspired. They inspire us to do this, too, and I want them to be involved all along the way,” Jason said.
He added that they divided and conquered to go out and get anything related to Christmas. They shopped at places like thrift stores, OfferUp, and Craigslist because one cannot find these items at just any store.
“Every little detail, all the vintage items and classic collectibles, they were all handpicked. We did it all in five weeks and there were a lot of people going out to shop and find the items,” Jason said.
It’s all in the small details of the decor like in Santa’s cabin, or the vintage TV screens playing classic Christmas movies like Home Alone.
“Everything is classic so you feel that old childhood Christmas days, and what better food product is there than ice cream; sweets that make you happy,” he said.
For Jason, one of his best memories was during a Christmas in Seattle when it snowed because his whole family of nine were gathered together in the same location for the first time in a while. That was one of the most meaningful Christmases.
“We don’t always gather, but the feeling of if and when we do, would just be the warmest feeling,” he explained.
The tentative plan is to run the pop-up until mid-January and then turn it into a cafe and update the decor to match the seasonal themes through next year.
“During this time, especially when people are going through challenges, we want to remind ourselves how easy it is to be cheerful and happy and bring joy back to our lives. The reason why we spent the time on this experience is so people can spend time together and remind themselves of the fond memories of Christmas,” Michael shared.
Check out JolliDaze’s instagram for their updated hours. JolliDaze is located at 519 6th Ave. South in Seattle.
Nina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.