Things to do in Saint John this holiday season

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Although the holidays are marketed as the most fun and enjoyable time of the year, let’s all admit it, we usually are much too stressed and busy to ever enjoy the actual fun of it. Between making plans to see family members coming home, wrapping presents, hosting and attending dinners, and whatever else it may entail for you, the short time students have allotted to the holidays can be exhausting.

Sometimes we forget to take a moment to relax, so this year we are encouraging you to set aside time to enjoy some festive fun. What better way to do that than attend the many events held right in your home town? Here are a few of the great events going on in Saint John this holiday season.

Uptown Sparkles

As a result of its insane popularity in the past, Uptown Sparkles is running for three nights this year! From Thursday, December 5 to Saturday, December 7, you can enjoy a night filled with holiday lights, carolers, and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Uptown Sparkles will fill the heart of the city with entertainment, cheer and treats from December 5-7 this year. (Uptown Sparkles/Giv’er Saint John)

Thursday night will feature a night market and on Friday night, the mayor’s tree lighting will take place. You can even stop into the many shops uptown to grab a holiday-themed drink or snack, or maybe even do some last-minute shopping.

Imperial Theatre Showings

Imperial Theatre holds the pinnacle of holiday magic, not only is it a beautifully designed building next to the iconic Kings Square but it also offers some of the best local performances in Saint John.

The Imperial Theatre is located at 24 King Square South, and is where you will find a variety of holiday performances this year. (Uptown Sparkles/Giv’er Saint John)

During the holidays, the Imperial will host several festive shows, from the classic movies “A Christmas Carol” (November 20-23) and “Home Alone” (December 9) to a holiday show by Tomato Tomato (December 20).

Performances of “The Nutcracker” by Gala Ballet Productions also takes place at the Imperial on December 6 and 7. It is a guaranteed sell-out every year, so make sure to get your tickets early!

Crosby’s Gingerbread Trail

Another Saint John classic, the Crosby’s Gingerbread Trail features 34 gingerbread creations and is a great way to explore the beautiful uptown area while seeing some unique local creations.

Each year, over thirty uptown businesses create gingerbread pieces to display as part of the Crosby’s Gingerbread Trail. (Billy’s Seafood Company/

The pieces will be on display from November 26 to December 24. A list of locations is available here, and everyone can follow at their leisure. It will surely inspire you to get creative with your gingerbread houses this year!

Christmas at the Market

A different way to see the festive uptown area is spending the morning of December 13 at the Saint John City Market. Filled with wonderful people, food, and holiday cheer, the city market holds a delicious Christmas-themed breakfast every year.

Christmas at the Market supports the Saint John Harbour Lights Campaign, which collects $2 donations that each light a bulb on the massive harbourfront tree. Once the financial goal for that year is met, the star on top is lit. (Harbour Lights Campaign Facebook page/Robert Stears Photography)

As the oldest continuous farmers market in Canada, it will never disappoint. This local Christmas tradition is hosted by CBC and supports the Saint John Harbour Lights Campaign, which raises money for food banks in Southern New Brunswick around the holiday season.

This is a wonderful opportunity to support the greater community while can grabbing all you need for a traditional Christmas dinner, and maybe a little bit more!

Cranberry Lane Holiday Buffet

If you’re looking for a more laid-back holiday activity, then this is the one for you. Starting on December 5, the Hilton Saint John hosts an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, filled with holiday deliciousness.

The Cranbury Lane Holiday Buffet runs from December 5 to 20 at Hilton Saint John, located at 1 Market Square Road. (Hilton Saint John/Facebook)

This Saint John tradition has been going on for over 30 years, and offers a beautiful setting to indulge in the food of the holidays. Don’t worry if you can’t make it on December 5, it takes place on various dates until December 20!

Taylor is in her fifth year of her Bachelor of Arts/Education and is double majoring in English and Psychology. She has an affinity for all things Shakespeare, loves old books and has recently discovered a love for gardening! When not at school or work, you can find her perusing thrift stores, collecting beach glass, or watching birds. She is a proud Taylor Swift fan (we only listen to Taylor's Version here) and also believes pasta should be a food group and that gummy bears qualify as a healthy breakfast.