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Christmas

A Halifax Holiday

Jeremy Webb's A Christmas Carol

Jeremy Webb returns as Scrooge in a Christmas Carol.

With its rich history and diverse population, Halifax has many beloved traditions and events to mark the Christmas season. The unofficial kickoff to Halifax’s holidays comes on November 17 with the Holiday Parade of Lights. This popular annual parade will draw some 100,000 spectators, so stake out a good vantage point early. The parade begins on Barrington Street, wending its way through the downtown, west on Spring Garden Road. There will be music, entertainment, floats galore and a visit from Santa Claus.

The action returns downtown on November 24, as Grand Parade square in front of City Hall hosts the city’s Christmas Tree Lighting. Once again, there will be family-friendly entertainment and a visit from St. Nick. If you miss that, you get a do-over on December 1. Drop by Sullivan’s Pond for the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting . The agenda includes a concert by Razzmatazz, fireworks and free rides on the Santa Claus Express Train.

As you’d expect, there are holiday concerts aplenty as well. On November 28, Cape Breton songstress Rita MacNeil performs her annual Christmas show at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue. Joined by pianist Frank Mills, she presents traditional holiday tunes.

And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the return of two wildly popular annual productions by Symphony Nova Scotia. Running from December 7 to 13 is an elaborate production of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s heartwarming story of a
little girl whisked into a fairytale land features performers from Halifax Dance and elaborate puppetry by Mermaid Theatre. Up next at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue is the Symphony’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. Guest soloists and the 80-voice Symphony Chorus give full impact to the Baroque masterpiece.

If you’re not in the holiday spirit by December 23, return to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for the annual Barra MacNeils Christmas concert. Another annual holiday favourite, this one pays homage to the province’s Celtic roots, as the Cape Breton group shares old-time music.

November and December are jammed with holiday plays and stage shows, too. The holiday show at Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street this year is Elf: The Musical. Based on the popular Will Ferrell comedy, it’s the fairytale story of Buddy. Raised as one of Santa’s elves, he discovers he’s human and heads to New York to track down his father.

On December 10, celebrations take a hilarious twist with Tis the Season. Cape Breton comedians Bette MacDonald and Maynard Morrison team up for a sidesplitting look at the holidays. If it never quite feels like Christmas until you see Scrooge, so drop by the Cunard Centre on December 13 for Jeremy Webb’s one-man performance of A Christmas Carol. After performing the show for several Christmases, Webb is an expert at bringing Scrooge’s uplifting tale to life.

Finally, say good-bye to 2012 and welcome 2013 on December 31 with the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations in Grand Parade square on Barrington Street. Beginning at 9:30 p.m., local TV personalities host a rollicking all-ages celebration, with live music and a spectacular fireworks display at midnight.

Where.ca’s 12 Cities of Christmas

Quebec City's Rue du Petit-Champlain decorated for the holidays. Photo by Jean-François Bergeron, Enviro Foto.

In this vast country of ours, landscapes, cultures, climates and in some cases Christmas traditions vary widely.

Here’s just a taste of the holiday season, from gorgeous decorations to quirky annual events, in top destinations across Canada.

Start the slideshow… (more…)

5 Steps to a Very Newfoundland Christmas

The annual Mummers Festival Parade (Photo by Christopher Deacon)

By Candice Walsh

Everyone has their own Christmas or holiday traditions, but in Newfoundland, sometimes we do things a little, well, different. Here’s how to celebrate the holidays like a Newfoundlander. (more…)

New App Tracks Santa’s Christmas Flight

NORAD Tracks Santa screenshot on an iPhone.

By Amanda Yiu

The countdown is on for Santa’s takeoff from the North Pole to all corners of the world, and this year you can track his amazing journey in real-time on the eve of Christmas with a new, free mobile app from NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command). (more…)

7 Performances to See in Toronto this Holiday Season

The Four Season's Centre's Nutcracker. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Between now and New Year’s you’ll find no shortage of things to do in Toronto, what with the sing-alongs and music performances and the shopping. (And even more shopping!)

But if culture is what you seek, check out Torontoist’s fab holiday shows round-up. They’ve reviewed of the seven theatre, dance and comedy performances from now through January 1 that range from family-friendly (the Nutcracker and the Wizard of Oz) to hilariously racy and quite possibly raunchy (Second City’s “Dysfunctional Holiday Revue” and Tarragon Theatre’s “A Very Lupe Xmas”).

10 Dazzling Holiday Lights Displays Across Canada

Photo by Om

By Kat Tancock

Baby, it’s dark outside—and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Brighten up your cold winter nights and get in the holiday spirit with these gorgeous Canadian lights displays. (more…)

Mummering: A Newfoundland Holiday Tradition

Photo courtesy of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland & Labrador.

By Candice Walsh

A mummer, by definition, is “a masked or costumed merrymaker, especially at a festival.” The origins of mummering are a little hazy and the tradition is scattered around the globe: the Brits refer to it as “mumming” and the Philadelphia Mummers Parade on New Years’ Day is an extravaganza of elaborate pageantry in the style of Carnival or Mardi Gras.

Newfoundland’s tradition is a little different from most, and only takes place during Christmas (the exception sometimes being Come Home Year celebrations). (more…)

Hot Shopping: Fun and Funky Holiday Gift Ideas

Now that we’ve officially hit December, the countdown is on. In just a few weeks, you’ll have tons of pretty presents under the tree. To make getting there a little easier, we’ve highlighted a few gift ideas that you can snag for someone on your list (including those out-of-towners), or use for inspiration. Happy hunting!

Black doesn't mean basic with this Empreinte bra.

Lingerie is a classic, and for good reason. Take the time to give your girl something she’ll love from Brachic (service is top-notch, so feel free to ask for help and suggestions). Along with higher-end brands like Empreinte (featured), Prima Donna, and Andres Sarda, this boutique has an extensive range of sizes (A to N with band sizes 28 to 46), as well as colours, materials, and fits. Thank us later. 433 Richmond Rd., 613-321-0401.

Hot Dates: What’s Happening for the Holidays

Ho ho holy moly! There’s a lot of festive events going on around town! Musical performances galore, an abundance of stage works, oodles of kid-friendly activities, and of course a plethora of places to cover your gift-giving needs. Have a look at what Toronto has planned this month for holiday-season revellers. (more…)

12 Days of Christmas in Ottawa

By Misa Kobayashi.

While the traditional carol offers up lords-a-leaping and swans-a-swimming, we bring you 12 ideas for fun outings and events to take you through the holiday season (no partridge required). (more…)

Hot Shopping: Cute Christmas Ornaments

This fun ornament offers a touch of Canadiana to any tree.

For all those eager beavers out there (ha ha) who are planning ahead, ornaments by Whigby are the ultimate souvenirs. Brightly coloured in “Canada red,” each of the ornaments feature an iconic symbol of our home and native land. There are nine shapes in total, which include a goalie, a polar bear, and a bush plane ($16.95). Get yours at Paper Papier, a boutique in the ByWard Market that’s also known for carrying unique stationery, writing instruments, and personal organizers. 18 Clarence St., 613-241-1212.

Hot Entertainment: Santa’s Super Ship

Celebrate with Santa on a Mariposa Cruise

DECEMBER 4, 11, 18 & 31 Celebrate the season with dinner and dancing on the water, courtesy of Mariposa Cruises. Families can visit with jolly St. Nick on the 5th Annual Santa Cruise while adults can partake in the Holiday Dinner Cruise for a “Winter Wonderland” feast of such dishes as roast turkey and prime rib, then cut a rug on one of two dance floors. Or, ring in 2011 with the ever-popular New Year’s Eve Gala Cruise—the gleaming Toronto skyline provides the backdrop for an unforgettable night. Departs from Queen’s Quay Terminal, Santa Cruise 10:30 a.m., $10, Holiday Dinner Cruise 7 p.m., $72.95, New Year’s Eve Cruise 8 p.m., $124.95; call 416-203-0178 or click here for more information and to book.