There are so many wonderful ways to make memories and embrace tradition during the holidays with loved ones. While the selection of a fresh Christmas tree signifies the start of the holiday season for some, what are some other ways to make the most of this merry time? We’ve lined up some ideas on how to spend time with friends and family over the holidays. In most cases no snow is required, though it always makes things more magical.
Halton’s conservation areas are always a great place to visit with activities and scenery that changes each season. Whether you want to hike through the woods at Mount Nemo, tour a replica Iroquois village at Crawford Lake, take a sleigh ride to the campfire where stories and hot chocolate are shared, or visit with various animals at Mountsberg, one never needs an excuse to experience the wonders of nature. We’re blessed with a range of opportunities here.
Keep calm and tradition on: embrace the holidays of yore as they were celebrated back in the Victorian era. Both Bronte Creek and Ireland House run spectacular holiday-themed programs annually.
Bronte Creek’s Victorian Christmas Festival is an annual event that brings the magic of an old-fashioned holiday to life. The year is 1900 and the Spruce Lane Farmhouse is decorated in Victorian holiday splendor with tours available, seasonal stories and songs in the parlour, holiday treats and cider, crafting, and activities that everyone will enjoy. December 27 – 31 and January 1 – 8.
Ireland House Museum offers two special holiday-themed events – one for families and another licensed event for those over the age of 19. On November 19 families will be treated to holiday tours of the house, which is specially decorated throughout the holiday season in traditional Victorian décor, treats made on the 1830’s hearth, photos with Santa and Mrs. Clause, plus reindeer and other activities. On December 1, A Night at Ireland House will be an evening to enjoy tastings of foods the Ireland family enjoyed during the holidays, Niagara wine tastings, craft beer and specialty coffee. Complete the night with a tour of the home and listen to the “High Five” quartet sing Christmas songs. Of course, tours of the home and grounds will still take place during regular hours.
The Royal Botanical Gardens is another great destination the community can count on for keeping the kids busy with various heritage and environmental programs, crafts, opportunities to walk the grounds and view the RBG Botanical Train Show, as well as a signature Santa experience. Additional details will be posted on their web site.
Springridge Farm’s annual Christmas activities begin November 25 and will run every weekend until December 10. The whole family will enjoy painting a glass ornament, decorating a freshly baked gingerbread cookie, and visiting with Santa in the barn. Fraser fir Christmas trees will also be for sale, and lots of Christmas baking and gourmet foods will be available at the gift shop.
Rally on the Rails
Have you witnessed the annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train roll down the tracks in all its glory? On it’s 19th annual tour to raise money, food and awareness for local food banks, the train will pass through Hamilton’s Kinnear Yard on November 28, 2017, with live entertainment courtesy of Jim Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo), his son Devin Cuddy and Kelly Prescott.
If you book your tickets in time, you can ride the Polar Express! The Waterloo Central Railway is providing service to the North Pole onboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™. The magical story comes to life when the train departs the St. Jacobs Museum platform for a one-hour round-trip journey.
Winter Wonderland … on Horseback
Picture a trail ride on horseback. The Ranch in Oakville invites riders ages 10 and up to experience a one-hour, guided trail ride through the tree-lined fields and forests surrounding the farm. Other wildlife may be curious to see you – see if you can spot dear, coyote, birds and other wildlife for a magical and memorable experience.
Bronte Creek, Oakville
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
The Ranch, Oakville
Ireland House Museum
Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington
Waterloo Central Railway