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It’s that time of year again, YEG! It’s the season where you develop a love/hate (and in some cases, only hate) relationship with Christmas carols, where pumpkin spice lattes are swapped out for eggnog, where everyone goes heavily into debt buying presents for their loved ones (sounds, lovely right?).

So to help you navigate through the large amount of activities in the city, I’ve chosen a few events/markets that I think would really help get you into the holiday spirit! There’s certainly no shortage of fun things to do with your friends during this time of year.

1. Enjoy this year's Festival of Trees.

Presented by the University Hospital foundation, celebrate the holidays for a good cause, as this year's event is raising funds to provide a stroke ambulance for the U of A Hospital--so residents in rural communities are able to receive stroke-related care. You can walk among the many decorated trees, browse crafts and baked goods, and much more! Be apart of the festivities from November 24-27th at the Shaw Conference Centre.

2. Watch a holiday-inspired performance.

With many shows happening in the city year-round, you can be certain that holiday-inspired themes will be sneaking it's way into the theatre as well. A great way of feeling "Christmassy" (I Googled it, and it's an actual word), is to experience classic holiday stories from your childhood. They're always so entertaining. Some of the many shows available are:

A Christmas Carol (Citadel Theatre; Nov 28 - Dec 23)

The Nutcracker (Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium; Dec 8 - Dec 11)

Singing Christmas Tree (Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium; Dec 15 - Dec 18)

3. Get dazzled by all the pretty Christmas lights.

There's something so enchanting about all the twinkling lights that seem to engulf the city around the holidays. There's tonnes of events around the city that capture this aspect of the holidays perfectly. However, here's a few locations where you can watch the gorgeous light displays:

Celebrate The Season Light-Up (Alberta Legislature Building; Dec 1 - Dec 23 [includes choir performances])

Christmas on the Square Holiday Light-up (Sir Winston Churchill Square; Nov 12)

Zoominescence - A Festival of Light (Edmonton Valley Zoo; Dec 9 - Dec 18)

Luminaria - Devonian Botanic Gardens (Dec 2 - Dec 4)

4. Take a stroll/ sleigh ride down Candy Cane Lane.

Candy Cane Lane is a beloved Christmas tradition in Edmonton. There's beautiful light displays and decorations! It will fill you up with Christmas cheer (whatever that is...).

5. Explore cool winter/Christmas-themed festivals.

Sip on some hot cocoa, and explore some holiday festivals in the city. The joyous holiday atmosphere will surely rub off on you. Some of the many festivals include:

All is Bright Festival (124th St; Nov 19)

Celebration of Lights Festival (401 Festival Lane, Sherwood Park; Nov 19)

6. Buy your Christmas gifts or Christmas treats/goodies at any of the Christmas markets.

There are so many Christmas markets in the city. Like actually so many. For a full list, check out To Do Canada. You should take advantage of this, and buy unique and local gifts for your friends and family this year. Here are just a few of the many markets you could visit:

Make it Edmonton! (Edmonton Expo Centre; Nov 24 - Nov 27)

Pear Tree Market (401 Festival Lane, Sherwood Park; Nov 12 - Nov 13)

Britannia-Youngstown Gift and Craft Fair (15927 105 Ave; Nov 12)

Red Fish Blue Fish Christmas Marketplace (10115 88 Ave, Fort Saskatchewan; Nov 12 - Nov 13)

Hand2Hand Christmas Market (Terwillegar Community Church, 1751 Towne Centre Blvd; Nov 26)

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