2021 Edmonton vacation weblog: Native Christmas occasions, tales, recollections and extra, up to date day by day

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Edmonton Journal Visitors shop The Prints & The Paper gift shop during the All is Bright Festival on 124 Street in Edmonton, on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Visitors shop The Prints & The Paper gift shop during the All is Bright Festival on 124 Street in Edmonton, on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia

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With the holiday season here, we’ve created this blog to keep you up-to-date on Christmas events and stories happening in the Edmonton area. Check back regularly for a dose of yuletide cheer to help get you into the spirit of the season.

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Upcoming holiday events

  • Castledowns Christmas Market, Dec. 4, Castledowns Baptist Church.
  • The Edmonton Christmas Market, Dec. 3-5 at Army & Navy Whyte Ave. and Dec. 8-12 at Fort Edmonton Park.
  • Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s A Traditional Christmas, Dec. 17-23, Winspear.
  • University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees, Dec. 2-5.
  • Glow Edmonton, Edmonton Expo Centre, Nov. 23 – Jan. 2.
  • A Christmas Carol at the Citadel Theatre, closes Dec. 23.
  • Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Jubilee, Dec. 2-5

Share your Christmas events, photos, memories

Are you running a Christmas craft sale? Does your neighbour have a Clark Griswold-worthy Christmas display? Were there certain Christmas events in Edmonton’s past you want us to highlight?

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Send us your event listings, photos, stories or memories via email to [email protected]

Tuesday

Vaporwave Santa is one of four Santas kids can visit at Kingsway Mall this year.Credit: Supplied Vaporwave Santa is one of four Santas kids can visit at Kingsway Mall this year.Credit: Supplied jpg

Vaporwave is one of many hats Santa’s wearing for mall visits this year

Tom Murray

This year, Santa is grooving to a new beat.

But don’t fret, traditionalists. The man known as Claus still counts such holiday staples as Jingle Bell Rock and Wonderful Christmastime among his absolute favourite jams. He’s just, you know, getting with the times, and right now the times dictate vaporwave as the new soundtrack to the season, at least in 2021.  

“The elves that help me seem to know more about it than I do,” Santa confesses from Kingsway Mall, where he’ll be taking requests from kids and meeting family pets —  his standard Christmas gig, really, except for Thursdays, when he bows to the new musical aesthetic. “They’re a little bit more up on the hip and happening things.”  

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Santa is a broadminded fellow. He’s not averse to new trends, but for most of Tuesday to Saturday he’ll be exactly as you remember him, ready for children in his patented red and white suit. Pandemic rules have changed things up a little, of course; Santa and his elf friends will be fully vaccinated, and there’ll be a plexiglass partition protecting all parties involved.

A few times during the week he’ll be catering to a slightly different audience. On Sundays from 6-7 p.m. Claus becomes Sensitive Santa for the benefit of children with autism and mobility issues, welcoming guests in a sensory-friendly environment, including lights that have been dimmed. He’s available for pet photos on Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m., and on Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. the vaporwave is unleashed. A local DJ joins the scene providing party sounds with an accompanying three-metre LCD showing groovy images.

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It turns out Santa and vaporwave make for a strange but oddly perfect mix. By now a catch-all electronic musical genre that can encompass ambient mall muzak, chirpy, desiccated funk, shards of syrupy jazz-lite, and molasses-slow cut ups dipped in ‘80s adult contemporary, vaporwave is also pure nostalgia for mall shoppers of a certain age.

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Tuesday

Candy Cane Lane opens up on Dec. 10. FILE PHOTO Candy Cane Lane opens up on Dec. 10. FILE PHOTO Photo by David_Bloom David Bloom /David Bloom/Postmedia

Sleigh rides return to Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane, Edmonton’s longtime Christmas lights spectacle in the Crestwood neighbourhood, is once again offering sleigh rides.

Using an online booking system, people can reserve a spot on a sleigh for $20 a passenger, while kids under two ride for free.

The sleigh rides will run Dec. 10-12, Dec. 17-19, and Dec. 22-23. Tickets go on sale Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. on the Candy Cane Lane website.

Candy Cane Lane will be lighting up again for the season beginning Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. and going through to New Year’s Day. People walking the Candy Cane Lane route are urged to bring a donation for the Edmonton Food Bank.

Sunday

Oilers star lights ‘er up

Chabad Rabbi Ari Drelich watches as Oilers forward Zach Hyman lights the giant menorah on the Alberta Legislature grounds for Hanukkah on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. The ceremonial lighting of Alberta’s largest menorah, standing at 21 feet and weighing 5,000 lbs., marked the start of Hanukkah, which is observed for eight nights until Dec. 6, 2021. Chabad Rabbi Ari Drelich watches as Oilers forward Zach Hyman lights the giant menorah on the Alberta Legislature grounds for Hanukkah on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. The ceremonial lighting of Alberta’s largest menorah, standing at 21 feet and weighing 5,000 lbs., marked the start of Hanukkah, which is observed for eight nights until Dec. 6, 2021. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

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Happy Chanukah to Edmonton’s Jewish community! It was an honour to be included in today’s celebrations and to watch @ZachHyman light Alberta’s largest menorah. May you all have a light-filled and prosperous holiday season. 🕎 pic.twitter.com/8ak2y5cHls

— Amarjeet Sohi (@AmarjeetSohiYEG) November 29, 2021

Santa soars on over to Kingsway Mall

Santa waves to the crowd as he passes the Alberta Aviation Museum during the Kingsway Holiday Parade as it makes its way to Kingsway Mall on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Santa waves to the crowd as he passes the Alberta Aviation Museum during the Kingsway Holiday Parade as it makes its way to Kingsway Mall on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

It was a soggy Sunday when Santa Claus made his way down Kingsway Avenue in the Kingsway Holiday Parade. Accompanied by friends, helpers and even a Grinch on his best behaviour, Santa sashayed his way past the Alberta Aviation Museum and over to Kingsway Mall where he will be holding court now until Dec. 24. Take a gander at the colourful clown train; how awesome would it be to pull up to your office Christmas party in that?

A float from Mr Inflatable takes part in the Kingsway Holiday Parade on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. A float from Mr Inflatable takes part in the Kingsway Holiday Parade on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia RCMP Const. Tara St. Denis, as Cindy Lou, and Insp. Kim Mueller as the Grinch walk their dog Max in the Kingsway Holiday Parade on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. RCMP Const. Tara St. Denis, as Cindy Lou, and Insp. Kim Mueller as the Grinch walk their dog Max in the Kingsway Holiday Parade on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia Chief Calvin Bruneau rides on the Papaschase First Nation float in the Kingsway Holiday Parade, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Chief Calvin Bruneau rides on the Papaschase First Nation float in the Kingsway Holiday Parade, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia A float from the Alberta Aviation Museum takes part in the Kingsway Holiday Parade on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. A float from the Alberta Aviation Museum takes part in the Kingsway Holiday Parade on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

A smashing idea!

The Duchess Bake Shop’s head barista, Duncan Wieczorek inspects the the Whoville gingerbread village which is being used for a Bissell Centre clothing drive. When you donate new underwear, socks, mittens and toques, you’ll be entered to win a private party where you will get to destroy the Whoville gingerbread village with your closest family and friends. Greg Southam/Postmedia The Duchess Bake Shop’s head barista, Duncan Wieczorek inspects the the Whoville gingerbread village which is being used for a Bissell Centre clothing drive. When you donate new underwear, socks, mittens and toques, you’ll be entered to win a private party where you will get to destroy the Whoville gingerbread village with your closest family and friends. Greg Southam/Postmedia Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

Edmonton Christmas Market returns for holiday festivities

Blair McBride

The Edmonton Christmas market is slowly setting up in preparation for opening day on Friday in the former Old Army and Navy store on Whyte Ave. in Edmonton, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. The Edmonton Christmas market is slowly setting up in preparation for opening day on Friday in the former Old Army and Navy store on Whyte Ave. in Edmonton, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

The Edmonton Christmas Market returns for its third edition on Friday to Old Strathcona, kicking off three weekends of holiday festivities for all ages.

More than 120 Edmonton vendors selling food, art, clothing and household items will set up on both floors of the iconic Army & Navy building at 10411 82 Ave. from Friday to Sunday and Dec. 3 to 5, and at Fort Edmonton Park on Dec. 8-12.

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Market spokesperson Riane Allen said it could be the final time the event is held in the decades-old building after the site was first used for it last year. In 2019, the event was held at ATB Place on Jasper Avenue.

“We were able to get in one more year there,” she said. “There will likely be some development in that area (next year).”

Local DJs will also spin tunes behind Army & Navy’s windows for holiday shoppers and passersby.

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Dashing all the way

Reg Ilnicki guides his two Belgian horses, Friend and Nipper, in a field near the Kenilworth Community League on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Edmonton. The community league was hosting their annual chili supper along with free sleigh rides. Greg Southam/Postmedia Reg Ilnicki guides his two Belgian horses, Friend and Nipper, in a field near the Kenilworth Community League on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Edmonton. The community league was hosting their annual chili supper along with free sleigh rides. Greg Southam/Postmedia Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

Rates rise for Edmonton Christmas tree supplies pinched by pandemic and climatic disturbances

Blair McBride

Caleb Weiss unloads one of the 735 trees that Greenland Garden Centre received on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 in Sherwood Park. Caleb Weiss unloads one of the 735 trees that Greenland Garden Centre received on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 in Sherwood Park. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

Many garden centres in Edmonton are ready for the Christmas tree sales season despite climatic and pandemic disruptions to supply chains.

The live and artificial Christmas tree markets are both facing unique challenges from flood-damaged transportation links in British Columbia, as well as record-breaking high temperatures and wildfires on the west coast in the summer.

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Rod Sirman, owner of Greenland Garden Centre in Sherwood Park, said his long-standing relationship with a tree supplier in Oregon has helped him avoid shortages of live trees.

“The heat cycle they had in Oregon and Washington (affected) some of my supplier’s crop, but we secured ours well in advance,” Sirman said. “We’re at the top of the heap for buying from our vendor so we never get shorted.”

The floods in B.C. didn’t affect the transportation of his live tree supplies because the trucks entered B.C. at the Kingsgate border crossing in Idaho, east of the washed-out roads.

But the wider pressures are hard to avoid, and Sirman has raised prices on his Douglas, Nordmann and Noble fir trees by $10 each year since 2019.

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Be a Santa to a Senior program once again bringing holiday cheer to Edmonton-area seniors

Anna Junker

A Be a Santa to a Senior drop-off in 2019. Home Instead Edmonton’s Be a Santa to a Senior program provides gifts for seniors who are alone during the holiday season. (Supplied photo). A Be a Santa to a Senior drop-off in 2019. Home Instead Edmonton’s Be a Santa to a Senior program provides gifts for seniors who are alone during the holiday season. (Supplied photo).

An Edmonton organization is hoping to bring holiday cheer to hundreds of seniors this Christmas.

Home Instead Edmonton’s Be a Santa to a Senior program provides gifts for seniors who are alone during the holiday season and may not otherwise receive one. Edmontonians can either buy gifts and drop them off at Home Instead’s offices or, through a partnership with Amazon Business, tailored gifts can be purchased online for the seniors.

“If you’re just going out and purchasing gifts, the general theme for those would be things like socks, warm blankets, toiletries are always a good one, sweets, seniors love their sweet, slippers, but make sure they have grips, those types of things,” said Morgan Fernie, client care and marketing representative for Home Instead Edmonton.

“The really great thing about the Amazon program … is you’re actually able to make these lists more specific because what’s happening is someone from Sage, for example, they’re sending me a list with a specific name with specific items catered to that person. And then I’m able to go on Amazon and specifically pick those items and it’s really, really great because it kind of personalizes those gifts.”

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Updated and compiled by Postmedia’s merry band of online elves. 

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