There are few places in North America that are close to a Christmas paradise, that is until you hop on the Polar Express for a trip to the North Pole! One is RetroFestive in Oakville, Ontario, the second is Santa’s Village in Bracebridge, Ontario, and the other is Castle Noel in Medina, Ohio.
Castle Noel is America’s largest indoor, year-round Christmas entertainment attraction. After years of admiration, we recently visited for the first time on a family trip to the A Christmas Story House in Cleveland, Ohio, which is the perfect double whammy for any Christmas movie fan!
After the massive success of the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, it seems everyone has become infatuated with the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, or as he is more lovingly know, Mister Rogers. With the upcoming release of the biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood starring Tom Hanks, we thought this was the perfect time to reflect on Christmastime with Mister Rogers.
Christmastime with Mister Rogers was a one hour primetime special that was released in 1977 during the four year hiatus of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS.
Star Wars has had a strong Christmas connection since the release of the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978. When a new Star Wars film is released, it normally happens in December which is an awesome gift to millions of fans out there.
Does your family have a special or quirky Christmas tradition?
For as long as I can remember, my family has always had a real Christmas tree, but it’s not the most beautiful one on the lot. Every year we go and pick out the ugliest ‘Charlie Brown’ tree so that it can also have a nice home during the holidays.
What is your favorite Christmas movie or TV special? The Nightmare Before Christmas! Some say it’s a Halloween movie, but in the Sweeney house, it only comes out at Christmas Time!
Does your family have a special or quirky Christmas tradition? We are just starting our traditions (my husband and I have a one year old), but I remember growing up Santa would always write me a letter and leave it on our fireplace so I could read it Christmas morning. It always amazed me that he knew such specific details about my life from the past year. He really is always watching!
Which do you prefer: to give or receive? I love to give. Especially when you have looked far and wide for that perfect gift for someone. I get so excited to see the look on their faces when they open that gift and it’s tailored to them!
Do you do your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last minute? I’m an early shopper! I can’t help it! It gets so crazy at Christmas time. I know I have to have my shopping done by the middle of December or it doesn’t have a hope!
In which city do you watch your local Santa Claus parade? We watch in Edmonton, Alberta.
Do you still send Christmas cards? YES! I do believe it’s a dying tradition, but I love it. Nothing beats writing a short special message to those that you love. Plus, I’m a mail geek.
Which do you prefer: real or fake Christmas trees? I’ve always had a fake Christmas tree but this is the very first year my husband Bobby has convinced me to get a real one. He says we will never go back….we will see.
Do you consider yourself good at wrapping presents? Yes! I’m a nerd that gets all into it with a matching ribbon and bow too. I usually set aside one night to wrap all the gifts and it is hours of mayhem and mess and sparkles. Ha!
Ugly Christmas Sweaters: Not a Chance – or – The Uglier the Better? I like “Cute” ugly Christmas sweaters. If they light up it’s even better!
What do you want Santa to bring you this year? I would love a weekend away in the mountains with my family. We are lucky in Edmonton that we are only four hours away. My husband works out of town so when he is home, we often are visiting family and friends. But, a weekend to the mountains just us three would be lovely.
CISN COUNTRY 103.9 has an incredible Christmas Initiative called “Christmas Wish“. Listeners submit their wishes to CISN and quite often they grant them! It can be as simple as a Spa Day to thank mom for all that she does, or as specific as a new roof for someone that cannot afford one. Just last week, they granted a wish for a man to see his brother who he had not seen in 20 years (his brother was very sick). You can enter your wish at www.cisnfm.com
Holiday Fair in the Square Vendor
Nathan Phillips Square Kiosk*
100 Queen St W,
Our Toronto City Hall Hours
Dec 8 - Dec 23 Only
Mon - Fri: 11am - 11pm
Sat - Sun: 11am - 11pm
*Note: Only select items available at our Toronto kiosk locations. Distillery District kiosk carries NO Ugly Sweaters, while the City Hall kiosk carries MOSTLY Ugly Sweaters. Full range of products available online and at our Oakville store.