This holiday season already seems brighter than the last. Businesses are open, people are gathering, and while there may not be traditional visits with Santa, or door-to-door carolling, many of the activities and events that were so dearly missed last year are back. And yet, it seems a little harder to be festive this year.
For those having difficulty getting into the holiday spirit, this month’s list of top picks focus specifically on holiday traditions and events to make you feel festive- whatever it is that you’re choosing to celebrate. For more details on what’s happening in and around Hamilton this month, stay up to date with our full event calendar.
Light the Night
Last year’s drive-by light show was a partnership between the Sherman Avenue’s Cotton Factory and Barton Street BIA. This year, The Cotton Factory is striking out on their own, with some big plans for their second edition. This year’s event takes place on December 4 from 5-10pm, with offerings both indoors and outdoors throughout the series of buildings at 270 Sherman. Outdoors, look for art installations, light projections and live music. For those looking to stay warm inside, the indoor offerings include an art show on the walls of the building, art installations, live music, and over 40 artisanal vendors and shops. The event is free to attend, but any donations collected go directly to the presenting artists.
Handel’s Messiah is one of the great choral works in classical music, and arguably one of the best known. It’s music, collaboration between choir and orchestra, and iconic Hallelujah chorus have become a holiday tradition for many. The Bach Elgar Choir delivers on this tradition with two live performances; one in the evening of Saturday December 4, and one in the afternoon of Sunday, December 5. Both will be performed at Hamilton’s Central Presbyterian Church– a fitting venue for this work and collaboration. Get your tickets soon, though- only advanced tickets are available, and audience size is limited.
The Redhill Valleys December Residency
Every Tuesday in December, local roots group The Redhill Valleys are giving back while also spreading some holiday cheer. The ensemble has taken up residency at local music bar The Casbah, where they’ll be performing live music on a weekly basis beginning December 7. In addition to their own performance, the group also promises special guests and holiday cheer at each of their four shows. Wondering about the giving back aspect? At each residency night, audience members are encouraged to bring a donation to support two Hamilton-based charities. Ticket proceeds will be donated to CityKidz, while non-perishable food items will be donated to Hamilton Food Share.
Glow- Music for a Cold Winter’s Night (Myriad Ensemble)
At just over a year old, Myriad Ensemble is a relative newcomer on Hamilton’s choral scene. But with their strong vision to inspire women through women’s choral music by performing contemporary choral music, and their interesting social media presentations, the group has made a big impact in a short amount of time. Their winter offering, Glow, promises everything from popular carols to new age choral music. To meet demand, two one-hour concerts have been scheduled on December 12 at the Millworks Creative District in Dundas. Their 2pm show is already sold out, with tickets going quickly for their 5pm event. For those not able to attend in person, a recorded version of the concert will be available at a later date.
Hometown Holidays (Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra)
The HPO returns to First Ontario Concert Hall to celebrate the sounds of the season in what has become a holiday tradition for many. This year’s concert will be presented live on December 18 as a condensed presentation, with the performance lasting one hour in length. The concert is also available via livestream or on-demand for those not able to attend in person. Under the baton of conductor Thomas Le Duc-Morneau, this musical celebration features familiar classics like selections from The Nutcracker Suite. New surprises are shared with local composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s 2018 work Making Light, which highlights winter traditions around the globe with text read live by narrator R.H. Thomson.