The halls are decked, or at least on their way; the parades have started, and streets are alight with holiday twinkle lights. In downtown Carleton Place there are 17,000 lights and the festivities are all underway. The parade has travelled down Bridge Street and re-affirmed its place as the best holiday parade in the valley. The theme of 2018 was “Christmas Carols” and lights and music filled the spectator-lined streets for nearly an hour of festive fun. Santa and Mrs. Claus have had breakfast with the Carleton Place high school band and the holiday shopping kick off “All Wrapped Up” has come and gone. Carleton Place does love the holidays. With over a month of festive fun each year there is hardly a dull moment between mid November until the end of December. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy a stay-cation in Carleton Place and let this bustling little valley town fill you with holiday cheer. With so much having passed already one might ask what fun could be left?
It’s the reason for the season, and in Carleton Place the opportunities to give generously and support the community are in full focus. There are familiar campaigns, the Angel Tree for Seniors, the Christmas Hut, Christmas Basket program and the Carleton Place Community Christmas dinner. The Angel Tree for Seniors has been providing gifts to seniors throughout Lanark County since 2014. The program partners with Primary Care Outreach and local nursing homes to give gifts to local seniors who are alone this holiday season or just in need of a smile. To participate you can sign up online or pick up an Angel at Carleton Place Canadian Tire. The Christmas Hut is entering it’s third year in Carleton Place at 355 Moffatt Street. This annual fundraiser for the Lanark County Food Bank is a Christmas shop for the kids. Bring your child 3-12yrs of age to the hut where they can “go behind the curtain” and choose a gift from hundreds of donated treasures to give to a loved one. Volunteers will help your child pick a gift and wrap it. The cost is a donated food item per gift. Follow their page on Facebook (facebook.com/kidschristmashut/) for hours of operation! The Carleton Place Christmas Basket program is a local institution, supporting families in the K7C area. Each basket contains a pancake breakfast, and a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. In addition, the Angel Tree Program that is affiliated with Carleton Place Christmas Basket ensures that local children receive gifts for Christmas. For residents who might be facing the holidays alone or without the means to provide a festive feast, all are welcome at the Carleton Place Community Christmas Dinner at the Carleton Place legion on Christmas day from 11am-4pm. Since 2006, this event has provided meals, companionship and festive gifts and entertainment to hundreds. With stockings, food, live music and a visit from Santa, this is a holiday tradition that delights both volunteers and attendees alike.
Speaking of traditions, what would the holidays be without a visit from Jolly Old St Nick? There are many opportunities to see Santa throughout December. Some notable Carleton Place visits are December 1st at the Queens Crafters and Antique Market as part of the Granary’s annual Chocolate party from 1-3pm. On December 8th from 10am-2pm join the Carleton Place Civitan and Santa himself and build some toys at Santa’s Workshop in the Arena Upper Hall. Finally, December 15th Santa will be visiting Mitchell’s – Your Independent Grocer from 10am-2pm in the community room upstairs. Enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating and hot chocolate with your visit.
If you’re still looking to get festive, look no further than Carleton Place. Obviously having a Christmas Tree Farm in town is a plus when stepping up your festive game but why stop there? Go tobogganing with the kids, go cross country skiing through town through the newly opened Carleton Crossing trail, go public skating or take in one of the many craft shows happening at Carambeck Community Centre, local school gym or Arena. There are hockey games, performances at Town Hall by the Mississippi Mudds (December 7th, 8th and 9th) and of course music! The CP Town Singers are preforming “Winter’s Gifts” at All Nations Church on December 2nd and 4th at 7pm, The Bowes Brothers “Home for Christmas” concert takes place at the arena on December 2nd and on December 20th Julia’s school of music present their Winter Recital at Town Hall. Not only are the streets aglow and decked out in their holiday greenery finest, every store front is equally adorned. With ample free parking, ambience and unique gift ideas, not to mention some of the best spots in the area to grab a bite and a cocktail, Carleton Place should surely top your holiday destination list.