Celebrating the holidays a little more normally this year

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by Alex Kinsella | November 2021

Another holiday season is almost here, and this year, things are starting to look a little more back to normal. There’s so much to see, do, and taste across Waterloo Region this winter — from Winterfest in Cambridge to the welcomed return of the Christkindl Market in Downtown Kitchener to discovering new favourite gifts from local makers.

Grab your toque and hot chocolate as we explore the holidays in Waterloo Region.

Sparkle in St. Jacobs

Stroll down the shops and restaurants of St. Jacobs during St. Jacobs Sparkles for live music, interactive activities, and a fantastic light show. Santa will making a visit too on Saturday Nov. 27 from 1 to 4 PM at the Mill (corner of King and Front Streets).

Cambridge Winterfest

Building on twenty years of merry fun, this year’s Cambridge Winterfest runs from Nov. 22 through Jan. 2, 2022, with a mix of in-person and virtual events for the entire family. It’s a month of extraordinary events celebrating Cambridge’s makers, artisans, and streetscapes — here are three of our favourites.

Starting Dec. 1, catch the bright lights during Winter Illumination at more than 20 sites, including the Main Street boardwalk tunnel, Jacob’s Landing waterfall, Craig’s Crossing Pedestrian Bridge, Hespeler Town Hall, and the singing tree outside City Hall. There are special pop-up events on December 8 and 15 with live music, buskers, and food trucks.

Are you looking for an excellent gift for someone on your list? Save the date for the Cambridge Christmas Market at Cambridge City Hall on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Last but not least, ring in the New Year with a family New Year’s Eve skate on Friday, Dec. 31, at Hespeler Arena from 4 to 8 PM. There are two rinks to skate on, along with a DJ spinning top 40 hits. Registration is required. Learn more about how to register on their website Cambridge Winterfest!

Celebrate the holidays at Tapestry Hall

Continuing in Cambridge, celebrate the holidays at the historic Tapestry Hall with three music and dancing events. On Saturday, Dec. 4, dance the night away at the Making Spirits Bright Holiday Party. The evening features karaoke with a live band, a DJ, food, drinks, and more.

Looking for an excuse to dance to your favourite holiday songs? Santa and His Elves are taking over Tapestry Hall on Sunday, Dec. 5 for Santa’s Dance Party — an afternoon filled with music, dancing, and treats.

Then on Thursday, Dec. 9, the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra and the Quartetto Gelato take the Tapestry Hall stage for an amazing performance featuring a mix of classical masterworks with tangos, gypsy, klezmer, jazz, and folk songs from around the world.

Waterloo in the winter

There’s nothing quite like Uptown Waterloo in the winter. Experience great dining, drinks, and shopping at Uptown Waterloo businesses during Uptown Waterloo Winter Wonderland from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5. It’s three days to explore old favourites and discover new treasures along King and Regina Streets. Then grab your scarves and toques for the official City of Waterloo tree lighting on Dec. 3 at 7 PM.


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Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Diwali, the winter solstice, Christmas, or are just a big fan of snow, the City of Waterloo Museum invites you to celebrate on December 4 and 11 with their Many Shapes of Clay exhibit. Take your inspiration home a Celebration Decoration clay kit (one per family) to create your own clay decoration for your family or to give as a gift.

You can find your favourite outdoor winter activities in Uptown Waterloo too! Free skating is back at the Uptown Waterloo rink (weather dependent), or you can try your hands at snow sculpting at three Community Snow Sculpting Zones.

Celebrating Chanukah in Waterloo Region

Jewish Waterloo’s annual menorah parade and lighting are on Sunday, Nov. 28. The parade starts at the Beth Jacob Synagogue in Kitchener and ends in Uptown Waterloo to light the first candle.


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Christmas in Kitchener

The sights, sounds, and aromas of Christmas return to Downtown Kitchener with the annual Christkindl Market. You can explore delicious traditional German food and artisanal crafts and gifts on their online market from Dec. 1 through Dec. 25. The best news — the in-person market returns to Downtown Kitchener for the first time since 2019 in its temporary home on Gaukel Street from Victoria Park from Thursday, Dec. 2 to Sunday, Dec. 5.

While you’re exploring the Christkindl Market, make your way to Victoria Park to see the fantastic winter lights of the City of Kitchener’s Christmas Fantasy. The light show begins on Saturday, Dec. 4, and runs through the holidays.

Local holiday shopping

The best part of the holidays — other than spending time with family and friends — is finding that perfect gift. Check out these holiday markets full of local artisans and makers.

Pop Up Holiday Art Market

Mindseye Art Studio | 54 Victoria St S Suite #7, Kitchener,

Saturday, Nov. 27 and Sunday, Nov. 28 | 12 to 5 PM

Waterloo Brewing Holiday Maker’s Market

Waterloo Brewing | 400 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener

Wednesday, Dec. 1 | 4 to 8 PM

Lost Lola Vintage Holiday Bazaar

Underground Flavour Group | 305 King Street West, Kitchener

Sunday, Dec. 4 | 5 to 11 PM

Indigenous Holiday Art Market

The Kitchener Market | Kitchener Market, 300 King Street East

Sunday, Dec. 5 | 3 to 9 PM

Communitech Hub Holiday Market

151 Charles Street West, Kitchener

Friday, Dec. 10 | 11 to 4 PM

Winter Artisan Market

The Kitchener Market | Kitchener Market, 300 King Street East

Saturday, Dec. 11, Sunday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 18, and Sunday, Dec. 19, 10 AM – 4 PM

BRFC & Friends Holiday Market

Short Finger Brewing Co. | 20 Hurst Avenue, Kitchener

Sunday, Dec. 12


Alex Kinsella is a freelance writer and marketer based in Waterloo Region. He’s the guy behind TL;WR – Waterloo Region’s weekly events newsletter. He’s worked with some of Canada’s most well-known tech companies in roles including customer success, development, product management, PR, social media and marketing.

Alex has contributed to publications including BetaKit, Grand Magazine, Community Edition and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.


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