I know it's not too much of a confession, considering pretty much nobody loves winter, but still. The only thing I do like about winter? The holidays.
There's something super festive and awesome about the holiday season, and honestly, nothing makes me feel as happy as all these Christmas festivities.
And when I see someone who's obviously just as thrilled about the holidays as I am? Yeah, that's just the cherry on top of an awesome sundae.
One Montrealer in particular seems to be full of the holiday spirit: he just might have one of the most decorated houses in the whole city, located in Montreal's Cartierville (9035 Avenue Jean-Bourdon).
The decorations include lights everywhere (on the house, on the lawn, in the trees); Christmas-themed Minions, wreaths, colour-changing snowflakes, and a whole lot of awesome.
Guys, there's even a giant, inflatable nutcracker on the other side of the house!
Is this the most Christmassy house in Montreal? Quite possibly, friends. Quite possibly
Check out our list to find out what's open and closed over the holidays. But make sure to check local listings and websites for the most up-to-date information. We also recommend calling to verify any information you find online.
Most banks are closed on December 25, December 28, January 1 and January 4. Many banks will also close on December 26 and January 2. Check your local branch for details.
Most malls and retail stores are open on Christmas Eve, though some have reduced hours. Beginning on Christmas Day, non-essential businesses including malls and retail stores are closed until January 11.
Many grocery stores are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day with reduced hours, but some locations are closed on December 25 so check the website and then call ahead to your local store. Grocery stores are essential businesses and will be open throughout the lockdown period.
Most major pharmacies, such as Pharmaprix and Jean Coutu locations, will be open on December 25. Use the store locator online to double-check whether hours have changed at your nearest store. Pharmacies are essential businesses that will remain open throughout the lockdown period.
Most of the city's public markets are open during the lockdown period but closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as well as on January 1 and 2. Note that some businesses at the markets may differ in schedule, so contact your favourite merchants directly.
Alcohol & Cannabis
The SAQ will remain open from December 26 to January 10 inclusive, according to Facebook. Locations will be closed on December 25 and January 1.
The SQDC will also remain open throughout the holidays and lockdown. However, SQDC stores will be closed on December 25 and January 1, and have reduced hours on December 24, 26, 31 and January 2.
Recreation & Culture
Due to COVID-19, cultural facilities are closed until further notice. The schedules of sports facilities that are still open during the pandemic vary depending on the borough. Check the schedule of the specific facility before heading out.
Libraries are solely open for contactless lending, according to a holiday schedule.
The STM is running with modified hours on the following legal holidays: December 25, December 26, January 1 and January 2. "Please consult the legend that appears below your bus schedule or your Planibus," says the STM website.
Accès Montréal offices, as well as city permit counters and écocentres, are closed from December 24 to January 4 inclusively.
The collection schedule for garbage, bulky items, recyclables and composting will change during the holiday season. You can search your postal code to find out more.
Natural Christmas trees will be collected throughout the month of January. Select your borough to find out the specifics.
The activities of the municipal court will be modified during the holiday season. You'll find details on the City of Montreal website or by calling 514-872-2964.
COVID-19 Testing Sites
Some locations are open with modified hours on December 25, December 26, January 1 and January 2. However, other locations are closed. Check Santé Montréal's testing webpage to find out where and when you can get tested.
It's Christmas time and everyone's making their plans for what is sure to be one of the most peculiar holiday seasons we've had in a while. For many people in the city, that means not going home for the holidays. Not to worry, though. There are lots of things to do in Montreal on December 25 if you can't be with your family.
Just because you're alone for the holidays, doesn't mean you have to be alone. Because Montreal is filled with so many people from all over, there are bound to be others in the city stuck in the city, too. Meet up (outside, of course) and be alone together.
Montreal during the most wonderful time of the year can be absolutely magical. And while this year may not seem as wonderful, there's still so much festive fun to be had to ring out 2020 and ring in 2021.
From winter festivals to Christmas villages, to some rather confused-looking decorations, there are so many opportunities to make this season one like never before.
"We've celebrated our big holidays under these restrictions [...] and it was tough, but we pivoted and we got creative and we found ways," says Rabbi Grushcow.
"I really do believe religions are resilient and creative, and individuals and families can be really resilient and creative."
Rabbi Grushcow recommends taking full advantage of the online tools at our disposal, and finding ways to make them more engaging.
"What we've learned is the more interactive, the more you see each other's faces [...] the better it is in terms of the interaction [and] in terms of really feeling like you've connected with someone," she says.
To make digital communication more interactive, Rabbi Grushcow suggests playing online games such as "Kahoot!" or using Zoom's 'breakout room' feature.
"There's ways to make sure that even if you're having a bigger event [...] people can connect to each other in smaller groups," she says.
"Finding ways to give back is hugely important in terms of doing the right thing, but also feeling that sense of purpose which is easy to lose track of over this time of lockdown," says Rabbi Grushcow.
"People who are used to cooking together in-person and sharing that food with folks who are low-income or homeless or what have you, they're still cooking and we're delivering things to organizations for people in need."
Rabbi Grushcow says her synagogue is also collecting new socks and underwear for people experiencing homelessness.
"Do things for others, find ways to connect as personally as possible," she says.
While this year's holidays are far from ideal, Rabbi Grushcow says there are ways to leverage the current circumstances.
"For instance, people had online Passover seders with family members who had never been able to travel from their locations to be together at the actual [dinner] table," she says.
On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, which took place at the end of September, Rabbi Grushcow says the synagogue broadcast its services online resulting in 5,500 people watching from all around the world.
"While recognizing how much we're missing by not being together in person, there's ways to take advantage of the situation we're in to connect with people differently and to connect with different people."