The Benson Hotel’s 2020 holiday events move online

The 2019 gingerbread display, Portland’s Union Station, in the lobby of the Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon (photo by Cheryl Landes)

So much has changed in our lives since the lockdowns started from the COVID-19 pandemic in March, and now how we celebrate the biggest holidays of the year will be affected. Organizations have found creative ways to continue the celebrations, and the historic Benson Hotel in Portland is among them.

This year, the Benson Hotel is moving many of their holiday events online or making changes to accommodate the online format. They’re postponing any events that cannot be adapted online until 2021.

Here’s what to expect.

The annual Thanksgiving dinner has been cancelled. Instead, the hotel’s culinary staff will post favorite recipes to the hotel’s website and employees will share holiday gift-making ideas throughout November and December.

The gingerbread display has also been cancelled, so Chef Dave Dieffendorfer will share his favorite masterpieces during his 28-year career at the hotel in a video.

See pictures of the 2018 and 2019 gingerbread displays at the Benson Hotel.

Geranium Lake Flowers will share video instructions on how to make your own holiday wreath, which replaces the annual in-person wreath-making class at the hotel.

The annual holiday toy drive will be replaced with a Stay & Give package throughout December, where hotel guests can apply a portion of their overnight stay fees as a donation to the Red Cross.

The season wraps up with a ugly sweater photo contest on the Benson Hotel’s Facebook page. Check for updates there as well.

For a longer summary of the changes, read this blog post on the Benson Hotel’s website.

The Benson Hotel opened in 1913 on SW Broadway between SW Oak and SW Harvey Milk Streets in downtown Portland. The European-style hotel features crystal chandeliers from Austria, Italian marble floors, and Circassian walnut wood from Russia. Celebrities, dignataries, and the majority of U.S. presidents have stayed there throughout the past century.

For more information about the Benson Hotel or to make a reservation, go to or call (503) 228-2000.

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