The holiday season is officially upon us! After another long year, we could probably all use a bit of extra festive cheer. If this time of year is one of your favourites, you might be looking for ways to get right into the holiday spirit. Thankfully, there’s lots of ways to enjoy the holiday season in Barrie. We know it’s easy to feel anxious about buying gifts and organizing family get-togethers, but it shouldn’t be stressful to find ways to have fun too. Here are some holiday-themed activities you can check out in Barrie and surrounding areas. Whether you’re looking for something to do on a date night, or to enjoy with children, there’s something for everyone. 

Spice Holiday Market

Looking for a unique shopping experience? The MacLaren Art Centre is hosting the Spice Holiday Artisan Market this year on the evening of December 10 and during the day on December 11. You can enjoy festive music and shopping, as well as coffee provided by Wired Owl Coffee Company. The centre will be decorated for the occasion, providing nice photo opportunities both inside and outside in their courtyard. The event will have 40+ vendors selling everything from candles to baked goods and art. You’ll likely be able to find a gift for whoever is left on your shopping list! Masking and proof of vaccination upon entry is required. 

Late night shopping

Everyone loves some nighttime shopping, and now you can shop while enjoying the holiday season in and around Barrie. On December 3, 10, and 17, you can check out some downtown Orillia shopping between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Businesses will be open late, so you can browse your favourite stores, take in the holiday decor, and enjoy the festive lights set up downtown. Plus, downtown parking lots are offering free three-hour parking until January 2. Support local businesses this year and enjoy an evening out all in one!

Go hunting for the best lights

Part of the holiday experience includes going for walks or drives around your neighbourhood and town, and finding the coolest light displays. Whether it’s your next door neighbour or someone twenty minutes away whose home everyone is raving about, it’s always fun to do some hunting for the best holiday lights. No matter how young or old we are, we all enjoy a good festive light display, after all. You can either ask for recommendations of areas that hold promise, or just set out and go exploring to see what you can find. Last year, Barrie 360 and 107.5 Kool FM both published lists of the best Christmas displays at homes in Simcoe County. Keep an eye out for similar lists this year!

Enjoy festive performances 

Music is one of the best ways to celebrate this time of year, and luckily there’s lots of opportunities to enjoy the holiday season in and around Barrie! From concerts to carols and theatre performances, there’s tons of chances to get your holiday music fix in. You can check out concerts from individual artists as well as instrumental bands, depending on your tastes. There’s also online options if you’d prefer not to travel, or don’t want to be part of a large crowd. Whatever your music style is, there’s a concert event for you! Check out what’s on the schedule here.

Holiday Magic at Blue Mountain

Even though Blue Mountain is a bit of a journey from Barrie, it’s a favourite for enjoying all the classic holiday traditions. Holiday Magic at Blue Mountain runs until January 2 and gives visitors a chance to dive right into the Christmas spirit. The charming Blue Mountain Village gets decked out in decorations and music to enjoy. This, paired with the cobblestone streets, adds a very festive atmosphere to the village. You can enjoy the Light Trail walk, and all the shopping and dining you could want. Plus, skiing and snowboarding at Blue Mountain officially begins on December 19. If you’re into outdoor sports as well as shopping and dining, you’ll have a few days before Christmas to take advantage of both!

However you choose to enjoy this time of year, Barrie and the surrounding areas offer tons of opportunities to explore and support local businesses. 2021 has been a tricky year for everyone, so a little extra festive cheer is in order for all of those who celebrate the holidays! Have fun and please follow any COVID-19 protocols to keep everyone safe and happy.

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