“Typically Christmas in Kensington doesn’t start until the first weekend in December, but this year we paired with Yellow Pages to launch one week earlier (Nov. 26),” said volunteer Sarah Townes.
“It works out for everyone because it drums up that much more awareness as to what’s happening in our community.”
Christmas in Kensington goes every Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 4 p.m. throughout December, where shoppers can go for sleigh rides, listen to carollers, grab a complimentary Starbucks hot chocolate, and of course get a selfie with Santa himself.
Christmas in Kensington and Shop the Neighbourhood are generally separate entities but came together this year because they have similar motives.
“We want to encourage people to shop locally instead of at big box stores,” said Darby Seiben, an organizer with Yellow Pages.
“Shop the Neighbourhood is here to bring more awareness to that, so we paired up with Kensington to really start the Christmas season right.”
During the launch day, local shops throughout the community had yellow balloons tied to their doors to let shoppers know that they had special discounts for Shop the Neighbourhood.
Currently, in its fifth year, Shop the Neighbourhood was originally started as an event to coincide with Black Friday but has since become a year-round event in Canada.
It mainly takes place in big cities, but volunteers can still request an event anywhere in Canada if they wish.
Christmas in Kensington has a similar goal to Shop the Neighbourhood, and that is to come together as a community and encourage local Christmas shopping.
“We will have a booth set up in front of the Plaza Theatre where people can come to ask any questions, or find out which shops are joining in on the Christmas festivities,” said Townes.
She explained that this is not your typical Christmas craft market, but more of a celebration of the Christmas spirit.
“We want people to come down and really remember what Christmas is all about, that feeling of community.”
“Also, starting on Dec. 3, Santa’s elves are planning on joining him as he walks through the streets, so the kids won’t want to miss that.”
We want to encourage people to shop locally instead of at big box stores. – Darby Seiben
Families are encouraged to bring their children to this all-ages event to enjoy activities such as a petting zoo with animals from Butterfield Acres, arts and crafts tables where you can make your own Christmas ornaments, live music, and of course a chance to meet the real-life Santa Claus.
The event runs until Dec. 24, 2016, and it is free for anyone who is interested in having some Christmas cheer.