The CE team kindly reminds you of all the wonderful, local delights you can enjoy this season in Kitchener- Waterloo. This story accompanies our special holiday wrap cover (pictured above). Save some cash on gift wrap and cover your locally-purchased gifts in your favourite locally-created community newspaper. By Allison Leonard, Tegan Thuss and Juliana Gomez. Photos by Matt Smith. Cover art by Lakyn Barton.
Honey Bake Shop for their tea and cupcake for $4 deal
When you’re looking for a sweet bite, head to Honey Bake Shop for their $4 tea and cupcake deal. You’ll be happy to know that with one purchase, you will be supporting two local businesses, as their teas are all from Distinctly Tea. We can’t get over their gingerbread
tea paired with a candy cane cupcake.
Ambrosia Pastry Co.’s drinking chocolate and homemade marshmallows
Everyone knows that the best hot chocolate is the kind you could eat with a spoon but you’ll be hard pressed to find this treat in Kitchener-Waterloo. Along comes Ambrosia Pastry Co.’s drinking chocolate. Don’t forget their homemade marshmallows!
Potluck dinner with items from the Market at Vincenzo’s
Veggie trays and cut-and-bake cookies are boring! Impress your friends with gourmet foods from the Kitchener Farmer’s Market or Vincenzo’s instead. Your friends and family will feel extra special knowing you went out of your way to rock their taste buds. Splurge a little and have an everything-new-to-you feast— you already know what celery with dip tastes like.
A break from hosting meals Let’s be honest – holidays can be one giant, exhausting, ugly-sweater-wearing blur. Lucky for you, the CE believes in self-care, so here’s our permission to slack off and go to Proof Kitchen or Nick and Nat’s for a Sunday roast or a turkey dinner for two. Go by yourself if you really need to — hurray for leftovers!
Buy your bird locally There’s nothing more satisfying than eating a turkey that lived its life so close to yours. If it weren’t on your plate, you two could reminisce about the awful storm of November 20 like old pals! But hey, we can’t all pardon turkeys like the President of the United States, so at least support local farmers and get your bird in town. We recommend Bloomingdale’s Hilltop Acres, home to all-natural turkey, or if you’re looking for a change, try locally raised rabbit or duck.
The Boathouse The long-awaited reopening of The Boathouse is finally here! The revamped space matches a brand new menu with some winter-ready food and drink. Want to extend your holiday imbibing? Rumour has it that Boathouse will be hosting a killer New Year’s Eve bash.
The punch that stole Christmas This is a shared drink so find a punch bowl and all the random liqueurs you haven’t finished throughout the year. We recommend equal parts champagne, peppermint schnapps, creme de cacao, creme de menthe, raspberry vodka, blue curacao and vanilla schnapps. Add in equal parts cranberry juice and water. Throw in some candy canes for that holiday spirit. Wear your Christmas onesie while you enjoy in moderation.
Block 3 Snowblind
With an early snowfall comes Block Three’s wintery, Belgian ale. Snowblind, described as a “big, fruity, Belgian yeast” hosts notes of spice, sweetness and caramelized malts to warm you this winter.
Grand River Jubilation winter warmer
Brewed to celebrate the winter months, the Grand River Jubliation seasonal beer evolves annually, drawing on flavours of candied orange peel, nutmeg, cardamom and hot peppers. This strong brew, at 7.0 per cent, pairs well with Christmas meals and long nights of holiday spirit(s).
Homemade hot chocolate
You don’t need to leave the house for this treat. The CE team whipped up their favourite hot chocolate recipe, equipped with an adult twist, for a little extra warmth. Combine 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup half and half, 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Heat the milk and cream together on the stove top, medium heat. When warmed, add the chocolate chips and stir until melted into the milk/cream. For grown ups? Add a shot of your favourite cognac or Bailey’s Irish Cream
Wonders in the park — a festival of lights Waterloo Park’s annual Wonders of Winter is a great place to see some of the best decorations in Waterloo Region. Catch a free trolley ride while there— the line-up starts at the Old School House. Find your favourite cartoon character, enjoy a hot chocolate and take a stroll through a literal winter wonderland.
Class up your holidays with a night out at a show! Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre is offering up Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, Centre in the Square is hosting Stuart McLean’s annual Christmas tour and The Nutcracker, and St. Jacobs Country Playhouse will be showcasing Snow White: A Traditional British Panto.
Skating and Shinny at local rinks Kitchener Civic Square and Waterloo Public Square become free public skating rinks in the winter. You can also try your local community centre or park (several parks have human-made rinks constructed this time of year). Want a bit more than just skating, check out your local rinks for shinny sign-ups. Grab some affordable used skates (McPhail’s Cycle & Sports, Play It Again Sports or even Kijiji).
Christmas Markets Get all your holiday shopping done in one go. Whether it be the German Christkindl, the artsy Button Factory or the crafters paradise Stitch ‘n’ Kitsch. All of these markets have handmade items ready for a loving home, and are most likely locally made.
Art studios on Regina
Spend some time this holiday season at The Art Studios on Regina St. in Waterloo. It’s cozy, warm and a great place to make unique gifts. It’s a hot spot for all crafters, and though there is an associated cost, it might be just what’s needed to bring out your inner DIYer.
Tobogganing Find your inner child, or take your own child, and head out to some of the largest hills in Waterloo Region (or pay to ride at Chicopee Tube Park). Grab your favourite mode of hill transport for the ride — whether a newly polished metal circular sled (avoid “the non-caloric silicon-based kitchen lubricant”), a red racer or even a tray if you don’t have a toboggan handy. Tray-bogganing, anyone?
Shop locally for gifts Looking for some local gifts for the family? Try out Truth and Beauty Co. for the all-natural family member, buy that bestseller from Wordsworth for the reader in your life, or check out Gloss for your favourite fashionista. There are plenty of places waiting to provide you with that perfectly local oomph.
Volunteer Not everyone is warm and safe this time of year. Help out those less fortunate by volunteering your time with your local food bank, shelter or even a nursing home. It will be the most meaningful and heart-warming gift you can give this year. Locations across the Region, including Cambridge Foodbank, St. John’s Kitchen and the House of Friendship are looking for your volunteer power.
Yuletide Spectacular by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony The charm of classical music can only grow in the Christmas season. Check out Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s Yuletide Spectacular at the Centre in the Square, taking place from December 19 – 21. With performances by the Grand Philharmonic Choir, the Grand Philharmonic Children’s Choir, the KWS Youth Orchestra and the Carousel Dance Company, there will be over 200 performers on stage!
Put the Community Edition under your tree Don’t just wrap your gifts in any old wrapping paper, be a little different—a little kitsch, and wrap it in your favourite community newspaper (yours truly). Tweet us @CordCommunity with a picture of your the CE-wrapped gifts, we’ve crafted a special holiday cover for the occasion.
Born in Colombia, raised in Waterloo and aged in Ottawa, France and Singapore, Juliana found a sense of community in KW that she thought was only possible between smelly travellers at hostels in the middle of nowhere. She's not actually that old but aged seemed like an appropriate word in that sentence.