There are more than just twelve days of Christmas. In fact, the city of London has been celebrating the holiday season since early November, with the annual Santa Claus parade and Christmas train having already stopped through town. But don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to continue celebrating the holidays in London. In Canada, as you may have noticed, Christians and non-Christians observe many traditions that have Christian origins, including Christmas. Many of the activities below have no religious significance but are definitely a part of the winter holidays in Canada.
There’s nothing more festive than sliding around on metal blades whilst drinking hot coco. Hit the ice at one of London’s public outdoor skating rinks at Victoria Park, Covent Garden Market or Storybook Gardens. Make sure to bring warm clothing to bundle up – layers will provide extra padding when you predictably lose your balance.
Spend Time with Santa
Catch the jolly big guy every Saturday between 11am and 3pm at Cherry Hill Mall on Oxford St for a free photo-op. Saint Nick also makes frequent appearances at Masonville and White Oaks Mall.
Find a one-of-a-kind gift for that special someone. Check out CRAFTED Art Show and Sale at The ARTS Project downtown London, open Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm to 5pm. The craft show features a selection of unique handmade gifts from over 20 participating artists across Southwestern Ontario. CRAFTED has made finding that special, one-of-a-kind gift a whole lot easier. Or, visit Covent Garden Market on Sunday December 18 from 11am to 4pm and shop the annual Merry Makers Fair. The festive market features handcrafted products for everyone on your list.
Enjoy a Holiday Feast
On Wednesday, December 7, you can enjoy a special Christmas meal at one of Western University’s residence dining halls. Dine on prime rib roast, roasted mushroom wellington and a very fancy crepe bar.
Build a Gingerbread House
Do you know the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel? It’s the story of two children captured by a witch and held hostage in a house made of cake and sweets. This holiday season, you can create your own candy castle. Grab a gingerbread house kit at a grocery store then head over to Bulk Barn to load up on candy decorations. Or, if you’re a caffeine addict, grab a Starbuck’s gingerbread house for $29.95 and recreate a candy coffee house. The IESC will be hosting a Holiday Networking Tea on December 22nd on campus, arrive early to help build a gingerbread house with other students (register here).
Experience Christmas Past
Travel back in time with Victorian Christmas at Eldon House. Enjoy the elaborate holiday decoration of Victorian Christmas tradition in London’s oldest family residence.
Light the Night
Victoria Park is all lit up for the holiday season. When darkness hits, grab a hot chocolate from Williams Café and take a romantic walk through London’s Winter Wonderland. Not a fan of long walks in the cold? Lights can be viewed for free from the City Hall Promenade Deck, 12th floor of City Hall, 300 Dufferin Avenue.
Get into the holiday spirit with a musical performance. On December 18, take a trip around the world at Sultans of String Christmas Concert. The celebrated musical group will deliver a performance of world music inspired Christmas carols. Tickets for students are $15.
Hit the Slopes
Looking for a thrilling winter activity? Less than 30 minutes from Western University, sits Bolar Mountain. Though it’s more of a large hill than a mountain, you’ll be able to ski, snowboard or tube down the slopes as soon as snow hits.
See the Nutcracker
This travelling ballet performance is a Canadian tradition. Ballet Jorgen will be stopping through London’s Centennial Hall on December 21, and tickets can be purchased for as low as $65.00.
Not into graceful dancing and classical music? You can check out the Muttcracker, a special holiday performance by President’s Choice’s Super Dogs. Take a break from studying and head over to Western Fair District on Saturday, December 10; performances take place at 2pm and 7pm and advance tickets cost $15.
Tis the season of giving. Donate food to the Centre of Hope’s annual Christmas Hamper Program or Western’s Food Support Service by dropping off none perishable food items at Grocery Checkout (lower level UCC), bake Christmas cookies at the Ronald McDonald House, or sign up for a shift at The London Food Bank.
Ring in the New Year
Celebrate with late night fireworks at Victoria Park, or dance the night away at London Music Hall. All over London, there are special events being held to welcome 2017. For a full list of New Year’s activities, visit To Do Canada.