As cool temperatures set in across the country, Canadians are getting re-acquainted with that slick and slippery old friend: ice. Sure, ice can be treacherous for walking or driving, but it can also be stunningly beautiful. Here’s a collection of ice-inspired photos from around the country, and a reminder that we’re lucky to live in such a beautiful place.
Strapping on the skates and spending the afternoon with friends on the pond is a quintessentially Canadian pastime.
This impressive shot of ice forming around a rock is a gentle reminder that the cold winter is well on it’s way (especially for our friends in Alberta).
Adventurers who take skiing to extreme heights are bound to find something spectacular to look at on the way. The glacier in the background of this gorgeous photo is a reminder of our tiny place in this great wide world.
Alberta and British Columbia are filled with hidden gems like this frozen waterfall. Winter explorers are bound to find something interesting like this.
This incredible photo of Bear Glacier in British Columbia is yet another example of the beauty hidden within our country’s borders.
Only for the experienced climber, ice climbing is an extreme sport that is truly beautiful to photograph. Just imagine climbing up a frozen waterfall! There are many spots to get your ice fix in Alberta, like Kananaskis Country.
Yes, you heard right! Check in to the only ice hotel in North America, Hôtel de Glace, based in Quebec. Discover ice-filled hotel rooms, ice sculptures, and even a wedding chapel.
Find the frozen bubbles at Abraham Lake in Alberta that make for a beautiful photo, and an even better story. Do you know how these bubbles are formed?
We all can agree that a fireplace is the perfect way to stay warm and cozy in a cold Canadian winter. But with more and more people moving to the city and downsizing their homes, a real, wood burning fireplace is becoming a rare thing these days. If you find yourself without a hearth this season but you still crave that #FireplaceFeeling in your home, here are some tips to help you really warm things up.
Can’t do without a fireplace, but don’t have a chimney? Get yourself a lifelike replica! Electric fireplaces give the glow and the warmth of the real thing, without the mess and hassle of firewood, and come in many different styles and price points.
One of the best benefits of having fireplace is the heat they give off, but it’s not practical to just crank up the thermostat when you want to warm up your old bones. A smarter way to thaw out your frozen toes is a portable heater. You can move it to any room that you’re in, and it will save you a bundle on heating costs.
Better yet, snuggle in under a luxurious heated throw.
Warm, ambient light from a fireplace is a guaranteed cozy-fier, and you can capture the glow of an open flame with creative lighting options.
The scent of a crackling wood fire is one of the more difficult effects to replicate in your home without actually lighting something on fire, but you can can come close with some earthy, woodsy aromatherapy scents like balsam, sandalwood and patchouli.
Atmosphere is the #1 element of the hygge manifesto, and these tips will have you on your way to achieving Hygge Master status. Let’s get cozy!
Everyone has their own cherished holiday traditions, but if you and your family are looking for a new way to celebrate and connect, get inspired by these fun and cozy traditions from around the world.
The Irish tradition of lighting a candle in the window is hundreds of years old, and many Irish people will tell you that it signifies lighting the way for Mary and Joseph to help them find the stable in Bethlehem. Historians, on the other hand, will tell you that this tradition started sometime in the 17th century when the Penal Laws in Ireland suppressed the Catholic religion. Catholic churches were outlawed and priests hid in fear of their lives, and they often visited homes in secrecy to bless a family and to say Mass. A candle in the window signalled to any passing priest that this was a Catholic home, and a priest was welcome to enter silently and join the family in prayer for Christmas. The Irish are renowned the world over for their hospitality, and this tradition is still widely practiced in Ireland and North America as a sign of welcome for anyone, friend or stranger, who might be passing by on Christmas Eve.
How to adopt this tradition: London Drugs has a wide range of beautiful candles for your windowsill. If fire safety is an issue, you can put your hospitality on display with these flameless candles.
“Nollaig Shona Duit”
Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas happens right at the beginning of Australia’s summertime, so it just makes sense that many Australians spend their holidays in the great outdoors. Beach days, camping, barbecues and outdoor festivals are common Aussie holiday traditions.
How to adopt this tradition: Obviously, Canadian Christmas looks a lot different than in Australia, but why not take a cue from the adventurous Aussies and get outside? Bundle up the family and go for an after-dinner walk to look at Christmas lights, ring in the New Year with backyard snowball fight, or try a new winter sport like snowshoeing or ice skating. Stay warm with winter accessories from London Drugs.
“Merry Christmas, Mate!”
The Declaration of Christmas Peace is publicly announced in many Finnish cities on Christmas Eve. The oldest and most popular event is in the old capital of Turku, which is broadcast on the Finnish Broadcasting Company and is viewed by millions of Finns and Swedes. The tradition goes as far back as the 1320s: the reading of the declaration, the wording of which hasn’t changed much since the 19th century, is accompanied by traditional music performed by local choirs and bands, along with a public rendition of the Finnish and Swedish national anthems. Originally used as a reminder for citizens that offenders who committed crimes on religious holidays were given harsher punishments, it is now a reminder for people to keep peace in their lives and treat each other with love and respect.
How to adopt this tradition: Have everyone write their declaration for peace in the coming year, and list all of they ways they will promote peace and respect in their lives, then share them at the family holiday gathering.
The Giant Lantern Festival signifies the beginning of the Christmas season in the Philippines. Each year on the Saturday before Christmas, revelers gather in the capital of San Fernando to witness the splendid display of colourful electric lanterns, or parol, which symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. The festival evolved from an older tradition called lubenas, where a lantern procession would travel through neighbourhoods to take residents to church on Christmas. But, when electricity was introduced to Philippine cities in the 1930s, all bets were off, and neighbourhoods began competing against one another for the coveted championship. These impressive lanterns can be made of up to 10,000 light bulbs! Here’s a little taste:
How to adopt this tradition: Warm up the dark winter nights with a homemade lantern making competition! Here is a link to some easy and beautiful DIY lanterns.
Ever wonder about the “figgy pudding” from “Deck the Halls?” Wonder no more! The old English tradition of “Stir-Up Sunday” had everyone in the house take a turn stirring the Christmas pudding while making a wish for the coming year.
How to adopt this tradition: Now, not everyone is a fan of old-fashioned Christmas pudding (or fruitcake as we call it here in Canada), so if you’d rather sink your teeth into some delicious cookies or pie, get the whole family involved! Make your favourite holiday treats at home, with everyone taking a step in the baking process, while making a wish for the new year. London Drugs has all the gear you need for your next baking project, from the very practical, to the silly fun.
Along with the usual gifts on Christmas Day, Icelanders also exchange books with family members early on Christmas Eve, then spend the rest of the night in at home, reading and relaxing. Sounds like winter bliss, doesn’t it?
How to adopt this tradition: Easy – give books as gifts to your family or friends! Just make sure to tell them they have to open them on Christmas Eve, and make them promise to settle in for a cozy night at home. Check out London Drugs’ book selection here.
We wish you a memorable holiday with family and friends, whether you’re celebrating time-honoured traditions, or discovering new ones.
These days, when nearly everyone seems to have a smart device in their pocket, it can be tough getting the whole family to spend quality time together. But some things never change, and nothing brings families together quite like Games Night!
Here are nine suggestions in three categories to get you started.
Monopoly Deal: A twist on arguably the best known board game of all. Some would say a needed twist. Monopoly, after all, takes a while to play and has lots of pieces to keep track of. Monopoly Deal offers a brand new, streamlined experience. It’s fast, about 20 minutes, but delivers all the financial ups-and-downs and excitement you’d expect.
Star Wars Operation: We all know Operation, the classic game of carefully removing bones from a patient. That zzzz-zap sound still brings back memories, and now you can introduce the fun to a new generation. Star Wars Operation lets you repair Rey’s adorable companion, BB-8.
HedBanz – Act Out!: Charades, arguably the world’s oldest still-popular party game, dates back to at least the 1700s in France. Your whole family will love this modern twist that sees players acting like the clue cards on each other’s provided headbands. Get ready for LOLs galore, IRL! It’s perfect for birthday parties, too.
Ages: 8+ / Players: 2-6
Ticket to Ride: Released to award-winning acclaim in 2004, this game sold 4 million copies by 2014. So it has laid more than enough track by now to be considered a true modern classic. Players race to establish train routes between major transit hubs, and to connect their own tracks onward in unbroken chains. Strategy. Secrecy. Subterfuge. This game has it all.
Ages: 8+ / Players: 2-5
Pandemic: The family that saves humanity together, games together (or something like that). Released in 2007, this game is spreading virally toward legendary tabletop status. Players assume the roles of globetrotting scientists, medics, and logistics experts, working together to stop not one global pandemic…but four. Finished it? Don’t worry, expansions are available to continue the story and the fun.
Ages: 10+ / Players: 4
Dixit: Want a game to set your imagination soaring and help develop your family’s storytelling skills, look no further than this fantastic game. Designed in France in 2008, it has since won multiple international games awards, and the hearts of players around the world. Basically, players take turns creatively describing a famous story and the others try to guess it using the cards in their hands.
Ages: 8+ / Players: 4-6
Just Dance 2018: The latest edition in a beloved series, it’s available on seven gaming systems. So if your family likes music, movement, or generally having fun: this one’s for you. It has variable difficulty settings, too. So even those with the freshest moves around can play with the rest of us. It’s also a great way to add some exercise to games night.
Rating: E10+ / System: Ps4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, WiiU, PS3, XBox 360, Wii
Splatoon 2: The follow up to the silly-but-serious WiiU stand-out, players race to splatter turf in ink of their team’s colour. Players also don sweet, swaggy street gear and use a variety of inky weapons and marvelous moves. Families can also play together over long distances with online play.
Really, this is just one of several great family games for the Nintendo Switch, probably the best bet overall current console for family game night.
Rating: E10+ / System: Nintendo Switch
NHL 2018: Take to the ice as your favourite team (or try out life as a member of the new expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights). Play locally with family, or expand your competition to online play. You might be surprised at how much Mom enjoys throwing a check.
Rating: Pending / Systems: PS4, XBox One
There’s something truly magical about Christmas lights during the holidays. Thousands of twinkling lights can make any place feel like you’re walking in a winter wonderland. We’ve rounded up eight of our favourite spots in Canada to take in Christmas light shows, tunnels, and even a train.
After taking the gondola up Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC, walk through a tunnel of lights before skating and grabbing hot cocoa. Tip: it’s a great holiday date spot!
Walk among the maze of Christmas lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, BC. For many it’s a yearly tradition to see the Festival of Lights!
The CP Holiday Train is travelling from province to province collecting donations for North America’s food banks. Find out when the train is coming to a town near you – and see a live holiday show!
Walking in a Christmas wonderland at Leduc County Christmas Lights in Alberta! Remember to bring a donation for the food bank and snap a great picture with these twinkling lights.
Stand inside a giant Christmas tree at the Vancouver Christmas Market! Reflective of a traditional German market, shop for classic treats, visit local vendors with handmade goodies, and ride the merry-go-round.
With a huge Christmas tree surrounded by lights, put Bankers Hall in Calgary on your to-visit list for a picture-worthy moment!
Walk over to Prince’s Island Park near downtown Calgary, AB, for a bridge full of lights and festive Christmas cheer.
All lit up for Christmas, the Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is beautiful over the holidays. It gets busy though, so go early or on weeknights if you can!
Still shopping? No sweat! We’ve collected all our 2017 Gift Guides into one convenient list.
Starting back in November, we created gift guides to help you surprise and delight every type of person on your list. In case you missed them, or need a refresher, you’ll find each gift guide below.
Christmas is a time of epic food and meals shared with friends and family. Tis the season for those who love to cook! This guide is for those who love spending time in the kitchen.
Top tip: If you’re not sure they’ll use the latest gadget, a tried and true kitchen basic is always appreciated.
Got a few gadget-obsessed people on your list? This guide is for them. Smart tech, wearable tech, and fashionable tech—yes, you can get it all!
Top tip: Great gadgets make life easier, not harder. Include batteries when necessary!\
Is there anything kids love more than tearing into a wrapped present? Maybe the surprise item inside! This guide is for the kids in your life, with gift ideas that parents will love too.
Top tip: Board games and lego are classic toys for a reason! And they’re great fun for the whole family.
A guide for those who love to do it themselves—“it” being anything and everything! These folks can be among the hardest to shop for, since they prefer experiences over things.
Top tip: For DIYers, it’s all about tools!
This one’s for those who have perfected the soundtrack of their lives. Help them enjoy the music they love even more with a great gift.
Top tip: Headphones are essential for a modern music lover on the go.
For more gift-giving advice for the music lover on your list, speak to an LD Expert today. To make a purchase, visit London Drugs in-store and online. And find more gift ideas from the London Drugs Christmas Experts.
London Drugs wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!