As we all know, the holidays are going to look a little different this year. Because of COVID, many in-person events have been cancelled or modified, and those that are running are hot tickets — some have already sold out!
But have no fear: There are still plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas, and some of them may even become a new tradition. Drive-through tours and socially distanced Santa make the holiday fun while still keeping everyone safe.
And, if you can’t see the big guy in person, Santa has also stepped up his cyber game, going online to greet his faithful fans with a merry — but virtual — ho, ho, ho!
Reservations are required for all in-person events. Events are listed in chronological order.
Live, In-Person Events
Festive Nights on the Farm — East Gwillimbury
Enjoy a story time tractor ride, a magical sugar bush of lights and music, tasty treats, and socially distanced visits with Santa.
Nov. 20–30 (weekends only)
Christmas at the Farm – Caledon
Santa is booking weekly appointments at Downey’s Farm and they are going fast! Your all-outdoor experience includes a cookie and hot chocolate from Mrs. Claus, visits with farm animals, a tour of the elves’ workshop and a socially distanced Santa visit.
November 21–December 20 (Fridays only)
Christmasland Family Experience – East Gwillimbury
Bring your mask to take part in wagon rides and the Christmas Market, and enjoy a Scandinavian Christmas, complete with bonfires, twinkling lights, hot chocolate, and Santa in his Kota.
November 20–December 19 (weekends only)
Storytime Magic with Santa – Milton
Enjoy a scavenger hunt in the woods, visit Santa’s magic village, create a Christmas craft, and sit down to a virtual story from Santa in Mrs. Claus’ cabin kitchen at Mountsberg Conservation Area.
November 20–December 24 (Closed Mondays)
Holiday Films at Ontario Place Drive In — Downtown Toronto
Watch The Polar Express, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and more of your holiday favourites from the cozy comfort of your vehicle in front of the big screen.
Sundays, starting Nov. 22
Magical Christmas Forest – Vaughan
Colourful lights along a wooded trail, holiday music, campfires, fun activities, delicious treats, creative crafts, and exclusive (distanced) time with Santa make for a magical experience in the great outdoors at the Kortright Centre for Conservation.
November 27–December 23
Christmas on the Farm – Whitchurch-Stouffville
This one-day-only, drive-thru adventure includes a “life-size” I-spy, activities-to-go bags, a Christmas market, and Santa and his elves.
Holly Jolly Christmas – Clarington
Pingles Farm, near Oshawa, is hosting an in-person holiday experience with holiday crafts, storytime with Santa’s helpers, hot chocolate, wagon rides, and a socially distance photo with Santa.
November 28–December 13 (weekends only)
Oshawa Museum Christmas Tours – Oshawa
Henry House is decorated for a traditional Victorian Christmas and small bubble groups are invited to tour it and the rest of the historical buildings of the Oshawa Museum.
This year’s parade will be a drive-through edition. Drive down the parade route and see the many stationary floats and vehicles celebrating Santa and the holiday season.
Drive-Thru & Walk-Thru Holiday Light Displays
Celebrate the season as you drive or walk beside and under thousands of sparkling lights in many shapes and configurations throughout Toronto and the GTA.
Winter Festival of Lights – Niagara Falls
November 14–January 10
Gift of Lights – Kitchener
November 14–January 3
Glow Gardens – Niagara
November 18–January 2
Journey Into Enchantment – Markham
November 20–January 4
Holiday Nights of Light – Vaughan
November 20–January 7
Polar – Toronto
November 27 –January 3
Fantasy of Lights – Uxbridge
December 5–January 2
Toronto Light Fest – Toronto
January 17–March 1
Virtual Christmas Events
Prefer to stay home for the holidays this year? You have your pick of Santa visits, virtual parades, Christmas markets and more, all online for 2020.
All the Santa experiences at Cadillac Fairview malls (including Fairview Mall, Sherway Gardens, Shops at Don Mills, and Eaton Centre) have moved online this holiday season. Story time with Santa will be on Facebook Live, or families can chat with the big guy via video link.
November 28–December 24
As well as celebrating a German Christmas with delicious holiday foods and specialty treats, this year’s online event will offer stories, crafts, recipes, entertainment, and interviews through it’s 24-day advent calendar.
Chat one-on-one with Santa, let him read you a story, tell him your wish list, and take a virtual photo, all on Zoom. Each session is 15 minutes. Opt for a small-group or private VIP visit.
December 3–6 and 10–13
This annual Toronto event, the world’s longest-running children’s parade goes virtual this year, with the floats and Mr. and Mrs. Claus televised for your viewing pleasure.
Nathan Phillips Square’s holiday fair will be going virtual this year. Typically, the event includes a marketplace, Santa visits, rides, and games. This year will be a market-only event, with more than 140 online vendors selling Canadian-made gifts.
The Stairwell Carollers bring their celebratory holiday music to the masses in this virtual concert.
In support of Kids Help Phone, Ross Petty brings back his holiday pantomime, this year in COVID-aware, virtual form. Toronto’s Roberta Battaglia, of America’s Got Talent fame, is featured in this “twistered” sequel to The Wizard of Oz. Use the promo code HAPPYHOLIDAYS to get $5 off the ticket price. (Valid December 2–4.)
December 19 and 20
This live, online party includes story time, games, jokes, holiday wishes, and sing-alongs to Christmas and Frozen songs with Elsa, Anna, and Santa.