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Montreal Christmas Events: Celebrate Noël

Montreal Christmas Events and Activities

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Montreal Christmas -- or Noël -- events and activities as well as shopping options are plentiful, as per usual, and 2013 promises yet another great Christmas season. Whether you love or loathe the holidays, celebrate with or without family, it can be a really fun time of the year, even solo! Tailor a Montreal Christmas -- or humbug season -- that suits you and your lifestyle with a little help from your Guide to Christmas in Montreal.

1. Santa Claus Parade

montreal christmas santa claus parade downtown defile du pere noel
Photo © Evelyn Reid
A Montreal Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the city's annual Santa Claus Parade, a tradition since 1925. Better known as the Défilé du Père Noël, the Montreal Santa Claus Parade typically features thousands of delighted kids waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus, with about 15 floats proceeding along downtown artery and top shopping destination, Ste. Catherine Street, from Fort to St. Urbain.

Find out when and where the Santa Claus Parade is held and view pictures of a previous edition.

2. The Other Christmas Parade

montreal christmas parade defile de noel plaza st hubert
Photo courtesy of Plaza St. Hubert
A low key alternative to Montreal's largest Christmas parade (see above) is Montreal's second largest Christmas parade, the Plaza St. Hubert's Défilé de Noël -- French for "christmas parade" -- a lesser known annual event held usually a week after the popular downtown Santa Claus parade.

Find out when and where the Défilé de Noël is held.

3. Montreal Christmas Fireworks

montreal christmas fireworks telus fire on ice feux d'artifice
Image courtesy of the Quays of the Old Port
An annual tradition at the Old Port, every Saturday night sky in December lights up with TELUS Fire on Ice, a chance to catch some fireworks and skate at the same time.

Consult this year's TELUS Fire On Ice schedule.

4. More Montreal Christmas Events

montreal christmas guide events
Peter McDiarmid / Getty Images
Christmas tree-picking, museum exhibits, nativity scenes, high-budget productions, low-budget gems, the bulk of Montreal's favorite Christmas-themed events are assembled right here.

Attend one of these Christmas events in November or skip ahead to December's holiday musts in Montreal.

5. Planning New Year's

Montreal Christmas guide to celebrating Noël in Montreal as well as New Year's Eve.
Getty Images
New Year's in Montreal is a BLAST. If you play your cards right and plan for an evening you won't soon forget, you'll see exactly what I mean. Includes a list of affordable bubbly, the city's hottest events, taxi services and a list of Montreal restaurants open New Year's Day, locales ripe with hangover nursing potential.

6. Montreal Gift Ideas

montreal christmas guide gifts ideas
Photo © Rebecca Munroe
The annual conundrum. What to buy? I feel your agony, so I thought I'd offer up some delightful inspiration ... à la Montreal. All of my gift ideas, which cover both budgets big and small, are either made by Montrealers, distributed by Montrealers, serviced by Montrealers and/or sold by Montrealers. Either way, a Montrealer is involved in some manner or other.

7. Montreal Christmas Trees: Pick Your Own

montreal christmas trees pick your own farm sapins de noel plantations sapiniere
Photo courtesy of Geropa Farm
When was the last time you went to the country, spotted the ultimate tannenbaum, and chopped it down yourself? I've hand-picked, for your convenience, a few pick-your-own Montreal Christmas tree farms 30 to 90 minutes from Montreal that offer more than a quick conifer chop, so bring the whole family along for an afternoon of holiday fun.

Have a home too small for a big Christmas tree? No problem. This live Christmas tree species won't take too much room.

8. Ready, Set, Shop

christmas shopping montreal
Photo by Flickr user Kalleboo
Montreal Christmas shopping options are many. Overwhelmingly so. But let's face it. We work long hours. We run ourselves ragged in the name of raising good kids. We cram our hearts out to ace exam season. We bite our tongues as local weather's you-suck factor grows exponentially with every week. We're tired dammit! Holiday shopping pressure is the last thing we need! So I sifted through Montreal's myriad bazaars and craft fairs to find the best bets for people with varying budgets and limited time to shop. And for those new to town or just passing through, my Montreal shopping centre rundown will likely be useful.

9. What's Open and Closed on Christmas Day?

Montreal Christmas events: what's open and what's closed.
Getty Images
What's open and closed in Montreal on Christmas? The city pretty much shuts itself down on December 25th, but there are a few exceptions to the rule. Quite a few, actually. So I put together the most exhaustive and accurate guide to what's open and what's closed in Montreal during the holidays you could possibly find.

10. Montreal Restaurants Open Christmas Day

Montreal Christmas guide to celebrating Noël in Montreal.
Photo courtesy of La Coupole
Because not everyone celebrates Christmas. Or feels like cooking.

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