Christmas family starts now! Use this article to plan outings to step into the Christmas season. There is something here for everyone, for all ages. There are shows to see, parks to visit, and places to enjoy!
Ready? Let’s do it!
NOEL AU JARDIN
November 17 – December 23
Geneva’s own Christmas market takes place in Jardin Anglais. Christmas by the lake sounds indeed marvelous! It’s an absolute not-to-miss: lots of food, including the famous Fondue Chalet, activities for kids in the yourts, shows, concerts, and local artisanals. In short: eat, have fun, and get Christmas gifts locally!
More info: here.
LE JARDIN SECRET DE LA MERE NOEL
From November 6
Schilliger Garden Center is an absolute champion when it comes to Christmas decorations. Each year, they chose one Christmasy theme and transform their shops into a Christmas paradise – this year Mrs Santa Claus has got all the focus! It’s beautiful, magical, and accompanied by events for small and big (you’ll find them all in Parentville’s calendar). There are also Christmas bauble from Poland (in Gland only) who can personalize your baulb with anything you’d like – it can make for a great gift, and a great souvenir.
Great news: the shop in Gland is open also on Sundays till Christmas!
RECRECREA – Creative kits
You can easily have Christmas fun at home oo, especially if you’re equipped with creative sets from Recrecrea. There are two this year: one strictly Christmasy for 18 CHF – it is a set filled with lots of different things that will allow kids to create Christmas decorations and whatever else they wish. There is also another set with all materials needed to create a beautiful advent calendar. You can check them all here.
CIRQUE DE NOEL
November 26 – January 8, Plainpalais
Acrobatics, clowns, magic tricks all in Christmas atmosphere. Attention: the show includes animals performing tricks. You can check more information on their website.
CHRISTMAS MARKET BY KIDS FOR KIDS
December 7, Bastions
The traditional Christmas market held by the pupils of the primary schools of the City of Geneva returns to the Bastions. Under the heated Escalade tent, by selling games and toys they learn the value of things, but most importantly to give a new life to old toys. Happiness is not about having the latest gadgets. More info here.
HAMEAU DU PERE NOEL & GRAND PARC DE NOEL
Hameau du Pere Noel is an incredible place. It’s a village in nearby France (a really short drive) in which Santa lives with all his family. The decorations are mindblowing and the whole setup feels as real as it can be. You can read all about it here. But that is not all! The neighboring Grand Parc d’Andilly was transformed into the Grand Parc de Noel! You can get one ticket to visit both places on the same day (a shuttle bus will take you from to the other) or decide to visit just one. Both places have shops by the exit, with all you may need for a magical Christmas.
November 18 – December 24
It is the most famous Christmas market in the region! It’s big, beautiful, by the lake – and not only! Lots of stalls with food and possible Christmas gifts. But the special feautures are what makes it amazing. The first one is « La Maison du Pere Noel » – one train ride up the mountain to the Rochers-de-Naye (at 2042 m) and you’re in Santa’s house. An opportunity to meet Santa, talk to him, and even get a small surprise, and woohoo – a certificate of meeting Santa! More info here. Downside: it can be crowded, and the visit is rather short.
Kids will also love watching Santa fly over lake Geneva every day (can only be seen from the Montreux shore) – chek it out.
CHRISTMAS AT CHILLON CASTLE
All weekends in December
This year, Chateau Chillon partnered up with Montreux Noel to bring us a Christmas with the Middle Ages vibe. Tons of Christmas trees, decorations, workshops, storytelling. Even animals will be present. The program sounds fun! It is best to book tickets asap.
HANSEL & GRETEL
November 26 – December 18; Simply Theater, Versoix
Abandoned by their wicked stepmother on Christmas Eve, Hansel and Gretel are lost and hungry. But as they sit, shivering, they glimpse a tiny cottage through the trees… a cottage made entirely of Gingerbread! But what’s inside? Combining laugh out loud moments and toe tapping tunes, come and join Simply Theatre for an action-packed festive treat for the whole family. For more information and tickets press here.
Sleeping Beauty by GAOS
November 25 – December 4, Nyon
A pantomime blended together with energetic singing and dancing, stunning costumes, jokes, and a live band. With rousing participation from the audience, all ages will enjoy a funny, traditional pantomime. This famous pantomime features the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, staged of course with a prince and princess, an evil witch and some surprisingly sassy fairies plus a large cast of talented children and adults. You can find out more and book your ticktes here.
Not at all Christmas related but the most important celebration in Geneva happens in December. It is accompanied by wonderful fun! You can find out all what it’s about in my article here. There is a traditional parade, an opportunity to visit secret places in the Old Town (closed all other days of the year), and much more! The rest of the program is available here.
The most christmasy urban sport there is! And there are plenty of rinks in the canton. Almost every neighborhood and every municipality provides a rink. For good ice quality check Vernets and Vergers (Meyrin). For charm go to Bastions or Carouge. For fun try any rink closest to you. All ice skating places provide skates for rent. Gloves are always obligatory. All places have an accompanying buvette with hot drinks and simple snacks. Some of them (like Vergers, Carouge, Grand-Saconnex) have accompanying restaurants with good menu and fondue!