The Aspire-Canada 2017 Holiday Bucket List
When you’re blessed to live in a country as beautiful as Canada, your holiday bucket list could include simply taking in all the local wonders of nature and architecture in your backyard.
If you plan to take full advantage of this season by doing as many holiday activities as possible, then you’re in good company. If you’re looking for some new holiday traditions, read further for our bucket list and for what makes this season the most wonderful time of the year!
1. Make an All-Great-Canadian recipe and give to a friend or neighbor
We all have our own version of the All-Great-Canadian recipe that we share with family and friends. Food as a special gift can be comforting during the holidays. Package it nicely with gift wrapping and bows. Hand deliver it to your special someone. Nothing says “I love you” more than the sweet aroma of an oven baked treat, that’s fresh and home-made and infused with love.
2. Drive Around and Look at Festive Lights
The beauty of Canada is all around us and it definitely starts with exploring the shimmering lights on various Canadian architectural symbols around you. Whether you’re in the nation’s capital, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or elsewhere there is just no shortage of Canadian fantasy to get you in that true holiday spirit. To really explore what the holidays have to offer, get in your car and get ready to be inspired by the continuous strings of lights that have their own theme and purpose.
Check out the Magic of Lights in Ottawa: Nov. 17, 2017 – Jan. 6, 2018 a drive-through holiday light display. Nearly one million LED lights are spread over two kilometres, including a 200-foot light tunnel and large LED displays of your favourite winter characters like snowmen, elves and more.
Join the fun Dec. 7, 2017 on Parliament Hill for the Christmas Lights Across Canada illumination ceremony, complete with carollers and hot chocolate. From then until Jan. 7, 2018, Ottawa’s downtown streets and several monument sites are lit up with hundreds of thousands of dazzling coloured lights. Plus, don’t miss the magical Winter Lightscapes show projected on Parliament’s Centre Block!
3. Make homemade hot chocolate (and infuse it with real Canadian maple syrup for some extra Canada zing!)
Hot chocolate is a staple of Canadian winters and Christmas too. Imagine curling up with the homemade variety that’s infused with Canadian maple syrup? When I was younger I used to eat the natural cocoa fruit picked right from the tree in the Caribbean – so needless to say chocolate holds a special place in my heart. Warm up to your own signature concoction by the fireplace with a good ole Christmas movie and enjoy!
Source: Good Life Eats
4. Give Back to Your Local Community
The holidays also a chance to reach out and help those who aren’t as fortunate. Choose your form of volunteering–from donating toys to a toy drive to sending a care package to a specific family, your willingness to reach out to strangers will not only help them with their lives, but make you feel humbled for yours.
5. Go Ice Skating on the Rideau Canal (Sip Hot Chocolate and Eat Beavertails)
Ice skating rink on the world famous Rideau Canal in Ottawa or Toronto? Take your pick. Nonetheless, you’ll have fun simply holding the hand of the person you’re with and sliding through this season in the most (hopefully) graceful way possible. Precarious balance or a fear of tiny, sharp objects? Opt for the childhood classic instead: sledding! It doesn’t matter if you’ve gone numerous times or only once, any activity that lets you bundle up in mittens and a cute headband is one we want to be a part of.
6. Purchase a sentimental ornament
In our family we have sentimental ornaments for loved ones who have passed away. Every Christmas we all have our own unique ornaments that we handpick to place on the tree in loving memory of our loved ones. Pick out a special ornament to place on your tree and infuse the holiday with extra special memories..
7. Visit a Real Canadian Christmas Market
The Canadian Museum of Nature has a Christmas market with more than 90 food producers and artisans from the region will be on hand in the majestic Grand Hall to present their delicious products and unique handmade crafts.
If you’re in Toronto, the Toronto Christmas Market is a five week-long event celebrating the sounds, sights and scents of Christmas. Set in the Victorian-era, cobblestone-lined Distillery Historic District, the Market brings together local craftspeople, musicians and artisanal food-makers for a truly festive experience. Gather with friends and sip on mulled wine as you peruse the selection of hand-made ornaments, wood carvings and crafts. Cozy up by the fire or take in carollers, brass bands and authentic European dancers. Free admission Tuesday to Friday and $6.00 admission Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. November 16 to December 23, 2017.
The Toronto Christmas Market
8. Check out some Festive Window Displays
Festive window displays are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. This widow display by Henri Bendel is an extravaganza of lights 40 feet high decorates the front of the store. The shop’s main window features a Parisian apartment-inspired display, and the atrium holds a two-story tree with giant versions of Bendel’s holiday ornaments.
9. Check out a Live Christmas Theatrical Performance
No staged production is more authentically “Christmas” than The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky’s famous adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s story. The National Ballet of Canada has been staging the beloved two-act ballet every year since 2005, enthralling children and adults with humour, surprise and sumptuous sets and costumes befitting this fantastic tale. Not to be missed. December 9 to 30, 2017.
If you’re looking for something for the kids, their favourite Disney characters and stories are brought to life with the artistry of ice skating to create an unforgettable family experience as Disney on Ice presents Reach for the Stars. All the beauty, sparkle and fantasy that Disney is known for come together in this production. December 22, 2017 to January 1, 2018.
10. Set Out Trays of Holiday Candy
Grab all the chocolate turkeys and candy canes you can find, and set them in a dish near your living room–just like grandma did. The holidays never tasted so good. For an extra special touch, choose Canadian chocolate decorated to the nines in lots of festive colors.