As I sit starring at my screen tonight the first winter storm of the year blasts outside – snow and wind howl by my window and it dawns on me that there will be no more winter reprieve. The ice and snow is here to stay (at least until the Spring). I’m not a huge “winter person”. I hate cold wind blowing snow in my face – I hate layers…I am flip flops and sun dresses all the way. Yet, today I spent cozy in the house with my family – baking cookies, putting a few Christmas decorations out on shelves and thinking about what a blur the next month will be in a house with 3 kids under 6! I may not like the cold but I do love holiday festivities and we have enough happening around Carleton Place to make even Santa fly out of his way. After all “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind”. The fun kicks off with the Santa Claus parade on November 26th but in December Christmas really comes to town! On December 3rd the annual Downtown Christmas Open House is sure to get you in the spirit. All day there are special events in town from meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus at Moore House, hanging with Zip-E the Elf at Carambeck, crafting a gift for grandma and grandpa at the Civitan’s “Santa’s Workshop” also at Carambeck or visiting the many downtown retailers on the horse-drawn trolley to check out sales samples and special guests. There is holiday shopping and what could be better than strolling to the unique shops in town with all the Christmas lights a glow and grabbing a cup of hot chocolate at the Owl Café on the way by. With the white stuff here to say there’s no better way to enjoy it then a wintery stroll in Downtown Carleton Place -the peaks of snow on our beautiful Townhall overlooking the Mississippi, the Christmas lights glowing along Bridge St. However, “unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it white.” So remember to keep your hearts full and give to those in need throughout the holidays. Why not swing by the Christmas Hut at 355 Moffatt and let the kids “shop” for gifts using donations to the food bank? They can pick out something from the hundreds of donated items and have it gift wrapped to go! Volunteer, donate or just attend the annual free Community Christmas Dinner returning this year to the legion. There will of course be a free meal with all the trimmings, live music, gifts and of course Santa. Bud’s Taxi is offering free transportation to and from the dinner from 11am-4pm. There are plenty of events happening to help get you into the Christmas spirit between concerts and caroling and holiday bazaars. Head over to Carambeck Community Centre on December 10th for an afternoon of carols from 12:30-3:30 with the CP Town Singers. There will also be a puppet show, crafts, snacks and a Family Photo Booth! Admission is free of charge, however donations to the Lanark County Food Bank would be greatly appreciated. December 10th you can visit the Mill of Kintail for their annual Country Christmas celebrations. A beautiful day of wagon rides, a nature scavenger hunt, campfire stories, carols and photos with Father Christmas from 11am-3pm. Only $15 per vehicle to join in the fun! St James Church is also offering an olde time celebration of their own on December 11th from 2pm-4pm you can join George Chenier Sr., Christopher Jones, Joe Million and special guests Brownie, Kevin Topping and Anita Lafrance-Topping. Only $10 per person for an afternoon of classic country Christmas music. You can head over to the Prospect United Church on December 18th from 6-7:30pm for an evening of Olde Time Community Caroling to get your Christmas juices flowing. After all, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear”. The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum invites you to their annual Christmas open house on December 10th from 1pm-4pm for live music, hot apple cider, cookies and check out their Carleton Place Christmas Photo garland. December is seems is full to the brim in holiday excitement! “First will make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can and then we’ll snuggle”. And when we’re done all that, we can skate with Santa himself on December 18th from 1-2pm at the Beckwith Recreation Complex. However you end up spending this month make sure to spend it with family and friends, be gracious and generous to others, spread kindness wherever you go and ring a lot of bells….Merry Christmas Carleton Place!