There’s no denying it – this is the weekend that Christmas comes to Moncton!
We’ll run through the holiday-specific events first, then you can find the non-Christmasy events at the end. (Before all that, though – did you see we have a Crayola gift set giveaway happening? Be sure to check it out – it ends soon & the gifts should be here in time for the holidays!)
A great way to embrace the spirit of the season is to follow along with Project Nice List. This is a community building initiative co-created last year by Pickle Planet Moncton’s Jenna Morton and Natalie Davison, Christmas-lover and marketing guru. Each morning, from November 24 to December 24, we will issue a challenge via our social media channels (you can find @ProjectNiceList on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). This is our way to highlight some of the amazing organizations already active in our community, as well as a way to encourage daily acts of kindness. Last year, a few of the challenges included sending a hand-written holiday card, sharing a meal with someone, and supporting local toy and food drives.
Watch for Project Nice List’s official launch at the Antler Breakfast on Friday morning! This is a fun, family-friendly event that really puts Downtown Moncton in the holiday mood. More than 1,500 people will share a breakfast – each sporting a pair of antlers handed out at the event – at the Delta Beausejour, served by the Progress Club. This is a fundraising event that supports local children’s charities.
Friday afternoon at 2pm is the opening of Christmas at the Coliseum. A fantastic chance to support local crafters and makers this holiday season! The fun continues all weekend.
Superstore Riverview is holding a Kitchen Kids ‘Winter Wonderland’ workshop on Friday evening. Cost is $12 per child, ages five to 11. On the menu: waldorf salad, pizza soup, and snowball surprise cookies! Contact the store to register and ask about more sessions coming up in December.
Also happening Friday is Shediac’s annual Santa Claus Parade. Watch for the fun to begin along Main Street at 7pm!
You can spend Saturday morning with Santa in Shediac, too! He’ll be at the Multipurpose Centre from 11am until 2pm, with photos, hot chocolate, face painting, and more!
Saturday is the annual John Deere Kid’s Day at Green Diamond Equipment. Santa will be at the shop between 9am and noon!
Christmas movies are always fun, especially when you can share the experience in the theatre! Cineplex’s Family Favourites picks for the next three weeks are a lot of fun: this Saturday, you can catch the original Home Alone on the big screen at 11am for just $2.99 per ticket. Plan ahead: next weekend it’s ELF, followed by The Polar Express. The Family Favourites program takes a break after that until January 13, 2018.
The big event most families are waiting for this weekend: the Greater Moncton Santa Claus Parade! This is considered the largest Santa parade east of Montreal, with more than 100,000 people taking part.
Before the parade, there is a Family Fun Zone in the Blue Cross Atrium from 2pm until 4pm, with face painting, music, magic, and more! There’s also a Family Fun Zone by the skating oval at Place 1604 in Dieppe, from 11am until 1:30pm.
The City of Moncton holds its official Holiday Open House and tree lighting ceremony on Saturday night, with free treats at City Hall between 5pm and 6pm. The tree lighting outside happens around 5:30pm, with Santa expected to pass by just after 6pm.
The parade officially begins at 5pm, at the corner of Cameron and Main Streets. It goes until the corner of Champlain and Paul Streets in Dieppe. Parade organizers remind folks that you will NOT see Santa if you are before Cameron Street or around the corner of Paul Street. The theme this year is Canada 150: Christmas Then & Now.
A few tips to make this a fun family affair:
- Bring snacks, including something warm in a thermos.
- Consider bathroom needs; you don’t want to be rushing through the crowds, searching for a place to potty if you have a little one that isn’t used to waiting through events.
- Dress warmly. Don’t forget hats, mitts, etc for the adults as well as the kids, as you’ll be standing in one spot for awhile. It’s easy to take off layers if you’re warm!
- Consider having the kids wear their PJs under their snowsuits, as it will likely be bedtime by the time you’re heading home.
- When the parade starts to pass where you are, it will generally take about an hour until you see Santa.
- Pick up some glow sticks; you can often find Christmas-themed ones at the dollar stores.
- There will be volunteers collecting food for the food bank and letters to Santa.
- It’s a long time to wait; consider bringing a camping chair or blanket to sit on – but please be courteous of others and don’t block the sidewalk or park yourself in front of another family.
- If you can have more adults than children, do it! Invite friends and family to join you if necessary. It’s great to have one person save your spot while another takes a walk with little people not used to waiting.
- Please be sure to take home whatever you bring with you; the litter left behind last year was quite sad to see.
Not a fan of the crowds? You could take in the smaller parade in Sackville! The town’s emergency vehicles will be decked out with Christmas lights and making their way through the streets for the fifth year in a row, starting at 6pm. Santa will of course make an appearance!
Sunday you can enjoy an ‘Old Time’ Christmas Concert at the Albert County Museum. Festive music, dancing, drama, and more. Sunday at 2pm.
Did you know you can BOOK your visit with Santa at CF Champlain now? We did last year and it was fantastic not having to worry about a line up! He arrives this Saturday. Visits are free; photo packages are not. You can still just walk up, too!
Santa is also in residence at Bass Pro Shops now. You can stop by for a visit between 5pm and 8pm on weekdays, 10am to 8pm on Saturday (with crafts and games from noon until 5pm), and noon until 5pm on Sunday.
You can still enjoy a trip to the Zoo and, for the month of November, each adult admission gets you one free child entry? Kids three and under are always free! (Wild Lights, the wonderful Christmas display and fundraiser, returns in December.)
The same deal – one child free with each adult – is on at Resurgo Place this month, too! A great chance to get out and explore Moncton’s history, as well as try some hands-on scientific fun. Saturday morning is the centre’s Constructive Destruction Lab (10am until noon) and there are catapults and fire-breathing dragons on the agenda for CRAFTernoons this weekend.
Moncton High is presenting the musical We Will Rock You this weekend, with several shows taking place in the school’s Cafetorium. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students. Show time is 7pm.
Friday at Moncton High is the also a public observation night at the observatory.
The Moncton Magic take the court Saturday night at 7pm, hosting the Island Storm. On Sunday, they’ll play the Cape Breton Highlanders at 2pm. Games are at the Coliseum.
If you’ve been missing Par-T-Perfect as an indoor option for burning off the kids’ energy, you’ll be happy to know they’ll be open on Saturday for the day! Find them at 145 Lakeside Drive in Riverview; $13 per child.
On Sunday, our family will be joining others looking to encourage entrepreneurial skills in preschool and early grade school students at the first Mini Maker Workshop. The kids will be working together alongside local business mentors to operate a lemonade stand. I can’t wait for all the fun that’s going to happen!
The Moncton Library is showing The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature on the big screen Sunday at 1pm.
And don’t forget, there are DOZENS of other ideas on our Mega Round Up of all the family fun options in the Greater Moncton Area.