Christmas is my favourite time of year. I know that sounds cliché, but it really is.
Despite the deep freeze outside, there is something ever so warm and magical about brightly coloured lights twinkling through lightly falling snow.
Throw in some holiday music, a few special traditions, and as many family and friends as you can tolerate, and you have all the fixings to make your days merry and bright.
Christmas is also a great time of year to discover the charms of a different place — right here in our own backyards. If you need a good reason to leave the city, why not go on an adventure to select and cut down your own Christmas tree? The Manitoba Christmas Tree Growers Association has a list of seven tree farms on its website, with all the details you need to know.
Each one offers something special for visitors, like Country Pines in Tyndall, where you’ll find hot chocolate and a crackling fire. Cloverleaf Tree Farm in Anola provides marshmallows for roasting and candy canes for the kids. The pet-friendly Windrift Tree Farm in Beausejour has walking and ski trails, sleigh rides, and an indoor Christmas display.
Step back in time at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum’s Winter Wonderland in Austin on Dec. 13 and 14. Take a walk or horse-drawn wagon ride through the pioneer village filled with glistening holiday lights, and see what Christmas was like in days gone by. Children can make holiday ornaments and cards, and families can try the outdoor skating rink, snow slide and snow hill, and play jam pail curling.
Oak Hammock Marsh is putting on its fourth annual Candy Cane Tea & Snowflake Raffle on Dec. 15. Enjoy a selection of specialty teas along with lunch, and the sounds of an old time country band. On Dec. 19 you can experience some fascinating astronomy at their Winter Constellations & Northern Lights event. It’s a unique opportunity to gaze upon the starry night sky from the rooftop observation deck, and learn about the winter solstice.
If you missed the Santa Claus Parade here in Winnipeg, you can still catch the jolly old guy as he makes an appearance in Boissevain.Their annual Christmas Lights Parade happens Dec. 16 on South Railway Street, where stores will stay open late for last-minute shopping and browsing, and great prize giveaways.
Did you know that Manitoba’s longest-running drive-through light show takes place in Portage la Prairie? The Manitoba Hydro Power Smart Island of Lights is on at Island Park from now until Jan. 7. Be dazzled by this amazing display, which has won numerous provincial and national tourism awards. The best part is, you can take it all in from the warmth and comfort of your own vehicle.
If you just can’t get enough of all those lights, check out one million more at Canad Inns Winter Wonderland on the edge of Winnipeg. The 2.5-kilometre park boasts 26 different theme areas, an outdoor skating rink, and free horse-drawn sleigh rides.
If these events won’t get you into the holiday spirit, the good news is that summer is only six months away.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.