Montreal Festivals: December 2017 Must-Sees

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    Montreal's Best Festivals and Events Happening This December 2017

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include the following attractions, concerts, museum exhibits and more.
    Above: the Notre-Dame Basilica after a fresh snowfall. Nino H. Photography / Getty Images

    Montreal festivals this December 2017 are scheduled in abundance. After all, it's the holiday season.

    Artisan fairs, parades, carols, freebies and sparkly decorations multiply as Christmas, Kwanzaa, Yule, Hanukkah and the New Year approach, each in due time, with a backdrop of first snowfalls covering the city's nooks and crannies, a canopy of ice crystals glimmering in the light.

    It's a beautiful month to be in Montreal. No doubt in my mind. But then again, as your humble Montreal expert, I'm a little biased, aren't I? I even love winter. Yep. I'm one of those.

    So for the sake of exchanging notes, you tell me. Sift through my carefully curated event recommendations, head out to a few and let me know how it went ;-)

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Christmas Events

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include these choice Christmas events.
    Above: inside St. Patrick's Basilica. Guylain Doyle / Getty Images

    Like you even need to be Christian to enjoy Christmas*. Everyone of every faith is invited to enjoy the holiday season and its delightful, heart-warming perks. Here is my breakdown of Montreal's best Christmas events

    *Think Christmas is pagan appropriation? Can't blame you there. the New Testament isn't exactly rife with tannenbaum references, a Christmas tree tradition mimicking late medieval druidic practices more so than the word of gospel. And December 25 is cutting it awfully close to the Winter solstice, a key pagan observance. However, the Dean of Yale's Berkeley Divinity School claims the origins of Christmas are not as cut and dry as some make them out to be.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Month-Long Holiday Freebies

    Free things to do in Montreal come Christmas holidays 2017-2018 include Noël dans le Parc.
    Photo courtesy of Noël dans le Parc

    As much as the holiday season can be enchanting, it has the trappings of a nightmare for tight budgets. But don't we all deserve a little down time? Not everything has to cost money when the holiday season rolls around. Here are some great free things to do in Montreal this Christmas season.

    And before heading out, consider one of my money-saving tricks: the THERMOS. The glorious power of an insulated thermos. I virtually never leave the house without one full of tea. It's my comfort and joy in the winter, walking around the city with my piping hot brew of the day. 

    See, if times are tough and your heart is breaking because you've got kids pointing in every direction wanting this thing and that but you can't afford it and it makes you feel like an inadequate parent... STOP! There's nothing wrong with you. You just don't have a lot of money right now. So here's what you're gonna do. Tell the kids you have something super tasty waiting for them if...MORE they're on their best behavior. Then whip out a thermos filled with hot chocolate and top it with a fresh sprinkle of marshmallows in their cup. The insulated thermos, hot chocolate and marshmallows are a modest investment at first, but they go a long way once you have them. And they instantly make any winter outing with the family feel special.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: The Museums

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include these museum exhibits.
    Above: Leonard Cohen, the subject of the city's most anticipated museum exhibit of the year. Photo courtesy of Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

    Got some great museum and science exhibits happening in Montreal in December, exhibits featuring a touch of international flair and relevance that makes them worth the detour for both visitors and locals.

    The Montreal Science Centre highlights Indigenous Ingenuity, an exhibit which "through an interactive quest" help you "discover how indigenous science is timeless. With a bear and a trickster as your guides, take part in a virtual canoe race, build an igloo, test a kayak’s centre of gravity, and discover interactive frescoes."

    The Musée d'art contemporain proposes A Crack in Everything, an exhibit of all things Leonard Cohen approved by the Montreal icon himself before he passed away in November 2016.

    The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts features  Once upon a time... The Western - A new frontier in Art and Film, "the first exhibition to consider the Western and its attendant myths in the context of painting, photography, literature and film from the mid-1800s to the...MORE present, in the United States and in Canada. It establishes a dialogue between film and the fine arts through 450 paintings, sculptures, installations photos and numerous film excerpts."

    For an assortment of virtual reality experiences, drop by PHI Centre all month long.

    Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal's history and archaeology museum, looks at the history of telephones.

    And of course, for a natural science history lesson tinged with a teeny, weeny taste of Ancient Egyptian history –apart from what's on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' permanent collection, this is the only location in the city where you can hope do that– make it a point to visit the Redpath Museum located on the McGill University's downtown campus.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Christmas Shopping

    Montreal festivals this December 2017 include these Christmas shopping destinations.
    Montreal festivals this December 2017 include these Christmas shopping pop-ups. Brian Cruickshank / Getty Images

    Fed up of feeling cynical about Christmas shopping and want a change of perspective? Consider my Montreal Christmas shopping strategy.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: The Concerts

    Montreal December 2017 events, attractions, and concerts include an appearance by The National.
    Above: Matt Berninger of The National performs on Day 3 of the Glastonbury Festival 2017 at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2017 in Glastonbury, England. The indie rockers head to Montreal's The Metropolis on December 8, 2017. Ian Gavan / Getty Images

    The thing with December is that by the last or two week of the month, concert listings dwindle. It's the same story every year. Even musicians need a holiday break, I suppose. But there are still quite a few Montreal concerts that made my December 2017 hit list.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Image + Nation

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include image+nation.
    Image courtesy of image+nation

    Montreal LGTBT film festival Image+nation wraps up December 3, 2017.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Marche de Noël

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include Marche de Noël des flambeaux.
    Photo courtesy of L'Avenue Mont-Royal

    Catch the Marche de Noël aux flambeaux's evening candlelit procession on Mont-Royal followed by a fireworks display this December 9, 2017 at Parc La Fontaine. Everyone is welcome. Details here.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Luminothérapie

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include Luminotherapie.
    Above: an earlier prism edition of Luminothérapie showcased in late 2014. James Brittain / Getty Images

    Just about everyone and their pet cat notices how dark it gets in North America this time of year. Enter Montreal's Luminothérapie.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Urban Tales

    Montreal Christmas events in 2017 include Urban Tales at Centaur Theatre.
    Image courtesy of Centaur Theatre

    Every year just before the holidays, Centaur Theatre proposes Urban Tales, a theatrical series of dark, kooky, cynical takes on seasons greetings in December. Count on bizarre, enchanting, twisted stories in a cabaret setting. In 2017, it runs from December 7 to December 16, 2017. The theme this year is Immigrant Songs: First Xmas in Montreal. Details.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Mini Comiccon

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include Mini Comiccon.
    Photo by Flickr user pikawil (CC BY-SA 2.0)

    On December 9 and December 10, 2017, the peeps of Montreal Comiccon proposes a Mini Comiccon, a flash weekend of cosplay, comic books and collectibles at Palais des Congrès. Free admission.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Fire on Ice

    Montreal Christmas fireworks are a holiday tradition in the city.
    Photo by Flickr user abdallahh

    Montreal's annual weekly fireworks are back in 2017. Details here.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Olympic Park Winter Village

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include visiting the Olympic Park's Village Mammouth.
    Photo courtesy of Village Mammouth

    Back in business as of December 15, the Olympic Park's winter village proposes skating, DJ sessions and more.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Skate!

    Montreal's best skating rinks in 2016-2017.
    Photo by Flickr user Maxime FORT (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    It's that time of the year again. Most, if not all of Montreal's best outdoor skating rinks are open by the third or fourth weekend of December.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: Winter Fun

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include these winter attractions, like snow tubing.
    Jean Heguy / Getty Images

    The moment old man winter drapes Montreal in a duvet of white, these fun-filled winter activities become an option.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: What's Open and Closed During the Holidays

    Montreal festivals in 2017 include these attractions open Christmas Day,
    Getty Images

    What's open and closed in Montreal during the holidays? Find out with the most exhaustive breakdown ever produced in Montreal that didn't involve ripping off some other writer's list. Bad-dum-chhhhh.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017: New Year's Eve

    Montreal festivals in December 2017 include planning New Year's Eve! Montreal NYE 2017.
    Jakob Helbig / Getty Images

    Figured out your plans for New Year's Eve yet? Yes? No? Maybe so? I've got a few must-see Montreal NYE 2018 events for your consideration, everything from free outdoor fun to posh indoor feasts.

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    Montreal Festivals December 2017

    Montreal festivals in December 2017.
    In this photo: a beautiful but every-so-slightly outdated shot of Montreal's Old Port. All it's missing in this photo is the port's brand new 60-metre (197-foot high) Observation Wheel which first opened last Labour Day weekend. The giant ferris wheel is open year round, even in the winter, since its cabins are climate-controlled. Zhiu Jiang / Getty Images