Guide to the Holidays in 2017

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To get you started on adding local flavours to your holidays, we’ve put together our 5 top tips for supporting local Greenbelt farmers and producers this holiday season! 

From a list of Greenbelt Christmas tree farms, to year-round farms and farmers’ markets, to options for exploring the great outdoors during winter – we’ve got everything you need to know to get the most of the Greenbelt’s bounty this December.

While you're out don't forget to take a few pictures and submit them to our Greenbelt Photo Contest.

 1. Get outside and enjoy the snow 

From hiking to ice skating and ice fishing, check out what your conservation authorities have to offer this holiday season. Visit Peel Region and area, Durham Region, Niagara Region, York Region, Toronto and Area, and Halton Region for details.

2. Take your family to a local Christmas Tree farm

Buy pre-cut or cut your own Christmas Trees – find the closest one to you here. Our top picks are: Spademan Tree Farm in Port Perry, Horton Tree Farms in Stouffville, Elliott Tree Farm in Hillsburgh, Clembrook Christmas Farm in Milton, and Piotts’ Tree Farm in Lincoln.

3. Pick local more often

Fresh local produce – Visit a local farmers’ market or farm that is open year round to stock up on local produce.

Niagara wine – Get local wine delivered to your home with this tool.

Local meat – From beef and chicken to duck, find the closest farm that sells your favourite meat.

Craft Beer and Cider – Don't forget there are plenty of craft beer and cider options to sample from this season!

4. Holiday meal must-haves

Apples – Make apple crisp for dessert.

Beets  – Enjoy an oven roasted side dish of beets or make a creamy beet soup.

Carrots – Create my personal favourite dessert, the carrot cake, and let’s not forget that you can also make carrot soup.

Leeks – Creamy potato leek soup, need we say more? Or make a leek, mushroom and goat cheese quiche.

Mushrooms – Serve some delicious creamy mushroom soup.

Potatoes – Everyone’s favourite potato latkes can show up at each meal. Or you can make the best winter vegetable curry to warm you up.

Beef – Make a delicious tender beef shoulder for dinner. 

Read our December in-season guide to find out what in season and to get more meal ideas here.

5. Attend local events

December 1: Light up the Hills in Halton Hills – Take your family on a stroll through Acton Sports Park, Dominion Gardens and Glen Williams to see all the lights turn on at 7:00 pm.

December 2: Deck the Halls with Seeds and Berries in Goodwood – Celebrate the holiday season by making a special gift for winter birds, create bird feeders with your children and decorate trees with the treats. 

December 2 & 3: The Five Elves Yuletide Tour in Jordan – Visit the Malivore Wine Company, Westcott Vineyrads, Vineland Estates Winery, GreenLane Estate Winery, and Ridgepoint Winery for their Holiday Open Houses to enjoy back vintage tastings, food pairings, cocktail ideas, or sleigh rides. 

December 6: THEE Farmers' Parade in Enniskillen – T.H.E.E. Farmer's Christmas Parade of Lights is a special Christmas parade put on by farmers from the communities of Tyrone, Haydon, Enniskillen and Enfield, the trail of lit up by machinery can be seen for miles around.

December 8: Project Brew in St. Catharines – Join the students of Niagara College Teaching Brewery as they reveal their new brews.

December 9: Forest Jingle Bell Walk in Whitchurch-Stouffville – Join merrymakers in a walk along a forest path. Learn about the holiday traditions of bells and Christmas trees.

December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17: Lunch with Santa in Brampton – Skip the Santa mall madness and take your children to have lunch with Santa at Downey’s Farm.

December 2 & 3, 9 &10, and 16 & 17: The Santa Train in Uxbridge – Enjoy a snow covered Oak Ridges Moraine by train, while your children get a visit from Santa!

December 9, 10 & 17: Brunch with Santa in Hamilton – Visit the Royal Botanical Garden to join Santa for a delicious buffet brunch!

December 3, 10 & 17: Puddicombe Polar Express in Winona – Train ride on Lil’ Pud as well as a wagon ride throughout the orchards, vineyards, by the irrigation pond and view the Niagara Escarpment. Includes many fun activities for kids!

Happy Holidays!

-- Andreea Nicoara

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