Christmas in Edmonton, 2011

In between dodging fellow shoppers at the mall and decorating your fake Christmas trees, indulge in some of these suggestions on how to relax during the holiday season in festive fashion...

Candy Cane Lane runs until January 2, 2012
Last Friday (Dec. 9) Candy Cane Lane officially went into effect, which means the 8-block strip of holiday hues will welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors over the next few weeks. Walk, drive, or book a horse-guided sleigh ride ($12-14/ kids free) down 148th Street, between 92nd and 100th Avenues, and bring a donation for the Edmonton Food Bank if possible. The Lane runs until midnight on January 2, 2012.

The 42nd annual 'Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree' is just days away from taking center stage at the Jubilee (11455-87 Ave.) for a 5-date presentation (Dec. 16-18), featuring special guest Ruben Studdard (American Idol). The beloved tradition will feature more than 150 singers and a live orchestra performing within a 35-foot 'Christmas tree', adorned with thousands of gleaming lights and decorations. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and range from $15-55, with all proceeds going to Santas Anonymous.

Although Fort Edmonton Park's 'Festival Christmas Afternoon Tea' and 'Christmas in the Park Buffet Dinner' events are now sold out, the recently-renovated locale still has room for anyone interested in checking out the all-ages 'Christmas Reflections' showcase ($16/ free for children under 2), until December 23. Fort Edmonton's new Capitol Theatre will also be hosting The Velveteen Rabbit up until Christmas Eve ($10-25). The show stars Fringe favourite Chris Craddock.

'Maisie's Magical Christmas House' is located at
9619-144 Ave.
If, like me, you're low on funds, then there's always 'Maisie's Magical Christmas House,' where something like a quarter of a million glimmering lights will be persuading Edmontonians to stop in and hopefully drop off a donation for the Edmonton Food Bank. Located at 9619-144 Ave., 'Maisie's House' was officially inaugurated in 2008, and will be casting its holiday spirit until beginning of the new year. See video below.

Celebrating the more than 70-year history of Edmonton's Christmas Bureau, the 11th annual 'Christmas Bureau Sing-A-Long' will take over the Winspear Centre's Enmax Hall on Friday, December 16 (12-1PM). The free event will feature Christmas carolling by local choirs, and will accept donations for the Bureau until 2PM that afternoon.

The Winspear will also welcome Edmonton's own Linda Perillo, Frances Jellard, John Tessier, and Nathan Berg (with conductor William Eddins) for 'Handel's Messiah,' an annual holiday performance of song & scripture. Tickets for the two-day event go from $20-75. Berg will also join conductor Stuart Chafetz and the Richard Eaton Singers for Winspear's 'A Lightly Classical Christmas,' on Wednesday, December 21 (7:30PM), with tix at $20-75.

The Marketplace At Callingwood (69 Ave. & 178 St.) will host the all-ages 'Santa's Workshop', where you can participate in free horse-drawn hayrides, carolling, crafts, and face-painting, have your picture taken with Santa, or enter to win prizes from SONIC 102.9. The event runs from Noon until 4PM on Saturday, December 17. The first 25 people to get their photo taken with St. Nick will receive a $20 gift card to the nearby Muggn'z Family Restaurant.

'A Christmas Carol' is at The Citadel until December 23
Until Friday, December 23, the Citadel's Maclab Theatre (9828-101A Ave.) presents the Bob Baker-directed A Christmas Carol, the legendary Charles Dickens tale that has become a Citadel seasonal staple. The 2.5-hour show, which stars Richard McMillan as Scrooge, has been one of Edmonton's favourite Christmas traditions for a decade now, but there are just 10 shows left! Tickets are as low as $20, and are available at 780-425-1820.

The 6th annual 'Christmas Bureau of Edmonton Radiothon' is set to take over Up!99.3 radio on Friday, December 16, where you can hear Christmas favourites and inspirational stories from families that have been helped by the Christmas Bureau. Up! will be broadcasting live from the rotunda of the Edmonton Journal in the downtown (10006-101 St.), raising funds to provide underprivileged Edmontonians with festive food hampers.

For only 10 bucks ($8 for kids) you can take in holiday carols during 'The Holiday Half-Time Show' at the Avenue Theatre (9030-118 Ave.) on Christmas Eve (10:30AM-1:30PM). The Saturday show is part of the Snow Globe Festival of Children's Theatre, a 5-day event (Dec. 20-24) centering around three plays, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Miss Electricity, and The Fairy Catcher's Companion.

If you're in the mood to give, and I hope you are, then feel free to drop of frozen turkeys for the 'CBC Turkey Drive' (Dec. 12-19), at the CBC studio (10062-102 Ave.) until 6PM, or at the Edmonton Food Bank from Monday to Friday (8:30AM-4:30PM).

Below is a video featuring Edmonton's popular 'Maisie's Magical Christmas House.'

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Edmonton. And drive safe! Cheers.


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