Christmas is coming to Tillsonburg on the weekend of Nov. 17-19.
The weekend is full of Christmas-theme activities and events, from the Community Christmas Tree Lighting on the 17th (6 p.m. in front of the library) to the Optimist Santa Claus Parade on Saturday the 18th (2 p.m), to a Friday Liona Boyd 'Winter Fantasy' concert to the Saturday and Sunday Down Home Country Christmas Craft Show at Glendale High School. Also look for the Hickory Hills Bazaar and Craft Show, Legion Christmas Bazaar, Frosty Fair (St. Paul's) Bazaar, and Mistletoe Magic (St. Mary's), all on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The following weekend, Friday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m., Annandale National Historic Site is kicking off its holiday season with the lighting of Christmas trees on its front lawn.
"I'm excited about them all, I love Christmas," said Patricia Phelps, Manager of Culture & Heritage/Curator, who compiled a long list of local seasonal events, noting it will be the fifth year for the museum's 'Service Tree Garden'.
"We light the trees in honour of the service clubs in our community," said Phelps. "We owe them a great debt of gratitude for help with the project that was Annandale House and their ongoing support of the museum through sponsorships and the various things we do here. And of course what they do in the community, it's just nice to recognize them."
Also on the 24th, ANHS will open a new exhibit in the Pratt Gallery - Made in Canada Christmas.
"Come in for a big surprise," Phelps grinned. "There will be things in here you might be surprised to see..."
That same weekend is the museum's annual Open House - the only weekend during the Christmas season when the museum will be open Saturday.
"If Saturday's the only day you can come see us, this is the Saturday (Nov. 25) you need to come for the Christmas season. We're going to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday
"That Saturday, we are part of the annual Kinettes Holiday Tour of Homes."
On the 25th, tour locally decorated homes from 4-9 p.m. A joint project of the Tillsonburg Kinettes and Tillsonburg & District Craft Guild, tickets are $10 in advance and $12 on the day, available at the Station Arts Centre (www.stationarts.ca 519-842-6157).
This year's Holiday Tour of Homes adds a new feature - evening tours.
"That's new, and that's why we're open until 9 p.m. that night," said Phelps. "It is a different ambience in the house when you do an evening tour, regardless. At Christmas, it adds an extra twinkle, but the house in the evening is always a different experience because the colours in the house change."
Next up for Annandale National Historic Site after the 'official start of Christmas season,' is A Confederation Christmas at ANHS on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2 p.m.
"Local historian and storyteller Stephen Bourne has actually written an original Canadian story in honour of Canada's 150th birthday. That afternoon, at 2 p.m., he's going to read The Countryman. That day is by donation."
On Friday, Dec. 8, ANHS is hosting a Poinsettia Tea & Tour, 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and seating is limited.
"We're going to have a tour of Annandale House decorated, you get Christmas goodies and tea, and you get to take home a poinsettia."
On Saturday, Dec. 16, ANHS is hosting a unique event - A Dickens Dinner and Reading of a Christmas Carol in the Program Room. Tickets are $60 and seating is limited (519-842-2294).
"We have a turkey dinner with a goose option, Christmas pudding and sauce, everything you want for a Christmas dinner, and following the meal Stephen Bourne, portraying Charles Dickens, will be doing an abridged version of A Christmas Carol. And you'll get to tour the house.
"We're ending our Canada 150 year with lots of Christmas events to give that big... 'hooray for the country, hooray for history' and 'Happy Holidays to one and all.'
"Of course, we're kicking it all off in town with the tree lighting and Liona Boyd concert," she noted.
Tillsonburg's Community Tree Lighting will take place Friday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. in front of the library.
"The mayor will be there to turn on the tree lights in front of the library. The weather's going to be wonderful and we're encouraging everybody to be there."