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holidays

5 things to do in Calgary this week: Dec 11 to 17

By SILVIA PIKAL and MICHAELA RITCHIE

THE SANTALAND DIARIES

This Lunchbox Theatre show is stirring up some laughs by playing to the naughty elf in all of us. Based on the bestselling adventures of David Sedaris, who once worked as an elf at a Macy’s Santaland himself, this story follows a down-on-his-luck New York City actor as he finds himself in the exact same predicament. The show runs select dates until December 23.

Lunchbox Theatre, 115 – 9 Avenue SE, lunchboxtheatre.com

DINNER AND A FLAMES GAME 

On December 14, watch the Calgary Flames take on the San Jose Sharks. Enjoy dinner (and dessert!) before the game at Cardinale, a new Italian restaurant. Cardinale is a short walk away from the Scotiabank Saddledome. From 3 to 6 pm, Cardinale’s happy hour features $6 glasses of red and white wine, $8 Negroni cocktails and more.

Cardinale, 401 – 12 Ave SE, cardinale.ca
Scotiabank Saddledome, 555 Saddledome Rise SE, ticketmaster.ca   (more…)

Toronto’s Best Christmas Market

Eat, drink and be merry at the Distillery District’s holiday bazaar

Bundle up and walk the cobblestone streets of the historic Distillery District during the most magical time of year. From Nov. 16 to Dec. 23, the Toronto Christmas Market offers shoppers a chance to browse local handicrafts and sample hearty fare like poutine and schnitzel. You can also sip mulled wine under one of the city’s largest real Christmas trees, as carollers, brass bands and choirs fill the air with holiday cheer. If the weather gets chilly, you can always warm up in one of the cosy nearby boutiques, restaurants or bars.

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.

TORONTO EATON CENTRE
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.

YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE
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.

(more…)

Q&A with The Good Lovelies on their Christmas Tour

Get your fill of holiday music with The Good Lovelies.

This Canadian folk group takes the stage at Shenkman Arts Centre on Dec. 13 as part of their special Christmas tour. Where Ottawa editor Misa Kobayashi caught up with The Good Lovelies in advance of their local show to find out about their travel essentials, where they love to eat when they’re in Ottawa, and more.

What’s your favourite activity to do on the road?
Well, we bought some skipping ropes about a year ago. When we get restless, we get out of the car and jump rope for a few minutes. Invariably, we make friends with any young girls that happen to be around. They join in without asking. It’s a way more fun version of the elementary school playground! And we love eating in new places, checking out the local cuisine. Recently we had some incredible Indian food in Northern Ontario in Bruce Mines. Go figure! (more…)

Win Wyndham Reward Points for Your Worst Holiday Gifts

Cats are not eligible to enter Wyndham's Horrible Holiday Gift contest, much to Furball's chagrin. Photo by alli.

By Carissa Bluestone

The Wyndham hotel chain is running a humorous holiday contest for its Wyndham Rewards members (joining the points program is free). Snap a photo of the worst sweater, the most useless electronic device or the most cringingly inappropriate gag gift you receive, and enter it in “My Horrible Holiday Gift.” The grand prize is 2 million Wyndham Rewards points (a value of approximately $10,000). Four runners-up will receive 25,000 points. In addition, every entrant is automatically put into the pool for weekly drawings awarding 12,500 points. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for December 2 to 4

Minor Empire plays the National Arts Centre on Dec. 3.

Friday, Dec. 2
If you’re looking for something different and interesting, come check out Minor Empire, a Toronto-based band composed of Turkish and Canadian musicians. The band will be performing music from their debut album Second Nature, which brings together traditional Turkish music and electro-jazz. Minor Empire has received rave reviews and performed at the Sunfest World Music Festival and the Markham Jazz Festival. Catch them this Friday night, along with special guest Jane Bunnett.

The magic of The Nutcracker is coming to life this weekend at the National Arts Centre. The Pennsylvania Ballet will be performing the iconic show in the George Balanchine style, where children play the lead roles (with no allusion to romance between them) and the costumes and set design are gloriously rich. This holiday classic is sure to melt your heart and get you in the Christmas spirit. Show runs Thursday through Sunday with matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Canadian choral music will be at its finest this weekend at Coro Vivo Ottawa’s concert,”Northern Lights.” This large, vibrant choir will celebrate the uniqueness of Canadian choral compositions by showcasing some of the finest. Among them are Eleanor Daly’s arrangement of the “Huron Carol” and Mark Sirett’s “Dormi Jesu.” If you’re a choir music aficionado, or just looking to enjoy some fine music for an evening, this concert is sure to please. Concerts on both Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, Dec. 3
It’s back! Head out to 101 Frames, the annual fundraising auction where people can bid on fascinating, one-of-a-kind artwork at Gallery 101. This is the fourth year with the theme “the seven deadly sins.” In past years, eager art-goers were able to see artists’ interpretations of wrath, pride, and lust — and now’s it’s gluttony’s turn. After the auction, people get to indulge in a groovy dance party and live entertainment. Gluttony never looked so good! (more…)

The Jet-Setter Gift Guide

Is there a stylish travel lover in your life who has everything?

We’re willing to bet he or she doesn’t have at least one of the 19 items on Toronto Life‘s gift list for glamourous “jet-setters and playboys”. A fox-fur chapka, perhaps? A deck of golden playing cards?

At the very least, you might find something to add to your own wish list!

See all 19 items at TorontoLife.com.

Image by Alessandro Trezzi