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Hot Shopping: Holiday Charms from Thomas Sabo

Thomas Sabo holiday charms

The season’s a-jingle with sounds of joy as loved ones open gifts filled with dazzling charm bracelets and necklaces from Thomas Sabo. Choose from hundreds of different charms—there’s something for every special occasion—including holiday-themed gingerbread men, angels, snowflakes and good ol’ Saint Nick. On that note, with such thoughtful gift giving, you might just secure a spot on Santa’s nice list.—Nicole Capelo

Hot Shopping: Local Cards Are a Cut Above

Die-cut cards by Nib & Tuck

Looking for an elegant way to send your holiday greetings this year? Visit Nib & Tuck to find distinctive die-cut and laser-cut cards. Made right here in Vancouver, these cards feature timeless designs such as a dove, snowflake (pictured) and poinsettia. Your only challenge will be finding postage stamps pretty enough to match.—Sheri Radford

Hot Entertainment: The Top Vancouver Holiday Events in December

VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights. Photo by R. Chan

Ho ho ho! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with a chill in the air and seasonal festivities filling up the calendar.

Larger-than-life characters encourage singing along in The Magic of Santa! (Dec. 21 to 22).

Irving Berlin classics such as “Blue Skies” and “Sisters” sparkle in White Christmas: The Musical (to Dec. 23), based on the beloved film.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet puts a uniquely Canadian spin on a Christmas classic in The Nutcracker (Dec. 14 to 16).

David Sedaris reveals the down-and-dirty truth about surviving a job as a Macy’s elf in SantaLand Diaries (to Dec. 22).

The Christmas Carol Project (Dec. 16 to 18) is a musical interpretation of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale about Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim.

The Festival of Lights (Dec. 7 to Jan. 1) fills VanDusen Botanical Garden with more than a million twinkling lights.

Winter Harp celebrates the season with several concerts of harps and rare medieval instruments (Dec. 12, 13, 16, 22).

Click here for more Christmas event listings.—Sheri Radford

Where Vancouver’s Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Under the tree or in a stocking, here are some great gifts to give and get

By Jennifer Patterson

For Cool Kids

Hot Dates: Get Started on Holiday Shopping at Two Vancouver Markets

Tasci Handmade Glass, available at Circle Craft Christmas Market

November 7 to 11

‘Tis the season for markets aplenty—Christmas is, after all, just around the corner—so start tucking away gifts early to avoid holiday stress. The Circle Craft Christmas Market (Nov. 7 to 11) features goodies by Canadian artisans (including Tasci Handmade Glass, pictured), and Make It! Vancouver (Nov. 8 to 11) highlights one-of-a-kind handmade items.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Shopping: Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Bulldog photo copyright Willee Cole/fotolia.com

On Oct. 31, kids and adults get decked out as witches, goblins and Harry Potter characters before hitting the streets for an eve of trick-or-treating. Joining in on the fun are trusty canine sidekicks dressed as spooky jack-o’-lanterns, scrumptious hot dogs, terrifying T. rex and too-cute bumblebees. Purchase these hilarious pet costumes at Woofles & Meowz, Barking Babies and Michaels.—Jennifer Patterson

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…)

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…)

Hot Dates: New Year’s Eve

Grand Parade square in downtown Halifax, in front of Halifax City Hall, hosts Atlantic Canada’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. Festivities begin at 9:30pm, with live entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show at midnight.

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: Navigate Toronto Malls During the Holiday Rush

Malls like the Toronto Eaton Centre go all out for the holiday season (photo by Rasheed Clarke)

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? We know, finding gifts for everyone
on your list can be a daunting task. If you’re inclined to get all your shopping done in
one shot, the city’s premier malls and department stores offer multiple ways
to ease the experience.

Downtown’s largest shopping centre has cranked up its seasonal cheer with oversized snowflakes and giant silvery reindeer sculptures. The crowning gem is the Swarovski Christmas Wish Tree alight with more than 44,000 Swarovski crystal ornaments. In sight of this monolith, children can register to create their own holiday ornaments. Santa’s out in full force, too: bring your child to hear Saint Nick read a story, or schedule a 10-minute at-home Skype session with the jolly old man. Gift wrapping is available for a $5 donation benefitting the Children’s Wish Foundation. And when all your gifts are safely boxed and bagged, why not view the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity’s production of The Christmas Story? iPhone users can download the Toronto Eaton Centre’s mobile app to streamline their shopping experience.

Holiday stress often begins with packed mall parking lots. Yorkdale offers a remedy. The only shopping centre in the GTA to offer a mobile app for parking, which offers updates on your best parking bets every 15 minutes, plus streaming video of the mall’s upper deck lot. Yorkdale’s parking entrances are even equipped with electronic tabulators that note the number of spaces available, and valet parking is complimentary for MasterCard World cardholders. If you prefer public transit, visit with your TTC Family Day Pass and receive a $10 gift card when you spend $50 or more in the mall. Other bonuses include a complimentary coat check, Santa sightings, and a gift-wrap service.