Ho Ho Ho! There are so many Christmas events this year, so much wonderfulness, it seems that we will be rewarded for the dryness of the previous year. Christmas 2021 here we come!
Without any further ado,
Let’s do it!
NOEL AU JARDIN
November 18 – December 26
Geneva’s own Christmas market moves this year from Bastion to 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.
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. This year’s particularity: Santa will be tehre the whole time (usually he is asleep in December). 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.
For Hameau du Pere Noel click here.
For the Grand Parc de Noel it’s here.
November 19 – December 24
The most famous Christmas market in the region is back (no Covid pass needed for the outdoors activities). It’s big, beautiful, by the lake. Lots of stalls with food and possible Christmas gifts. But the special feautures are what makes it amazing:
- La Maison du Pere Noel – a short train ride up the mountain to the Rochers-de-Naye (at 2042 m) will take you to 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.
- Light On Ice (till January 6) – the most spectacular and magical ice rink in the region! See it for yourself here.
- Flying Santa – the traditional treat! See Santa’s sledge fly above Lake Geneva in Montreux. I’m not joking – chek it out.
- Christmas activities at Chateau Chillon – all info here.
Ice skating is back after 2 years! For the best ice quality head to Vernets or Vergers. For the charm – Bastions or Carouge. For fun – any ice rink in the canton will do. Each municipality, and many neighborhoods will have their own ice rinks. On each rink gloves are obligatory, on each you can rent skates. Some will offer classes or fun activities for kids. And most will have a buvette with something sweet/hot to reward the skating efforts. Enjoy!
SANTA’S CHIMNEY – bricolage workshop (6-10 yo)
December 11, Chateau de Prangins
An unforgettable Saturday at the Château, spiced with history, original creations and a tasty Christmas snack!
Program includes a visit of the castle, a creative workshop, and a snack. The price is 25 CHF per child, reservations are required. More info here.
CIRQUE DE NOEL
November 27 – January 9, Plainpalais
Acrobatics, clowns, magic tricks all in Christmas atmosphere. Attention: the show includes animals performing tricks. You can check more information on their website.
Coupe de Noel
December 18-19, Jardin Anglais
Swimming in the winter waters of Lake Geneva anyone? Even if not, it’s a great event to watch. Christmas Cup brings together more than 3,000 swimmers – 500 in competition and 2,500 in fancy costumes! Check out the details here.
OTHER CHRISTMAS MARKETS
CHRISTMAS IN CAROUGE
Like many municipalities in the canton, Carouge will celebrating the holiday season. How? In two ways. First of all there’s the Christmas Market from the 10th till the 12th of December. The second traditional celebration is called « Carouge Magique » and it is a wonderland: luminous art installations in the charming streets of this special city may surprise you (birds on the fountains, carps above your head).
Marché de Noël at Rudolf Steiner School
November 24, Confignon
In most Steiner schools around the world, the Christmas market is a traditional time of celebration. It is the fruit of many months of work on the part of families, teachers and friends of the school. On the program this year: a concert, raffle, and around thirty stands with the handmade and artisanal creations.
CHRISTMAS MARKET BY KIDS FOR KIDS
December 8th, 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.
Herstreet little Xmas market
4-5 December, Eaux-Vives
Herstreet is organizing a local makers’ market, which will show their offer for Christmas decorations and gifts. For children, a special Santa’s grotto awaits – with Santa of course (social distancing between Santa and the kids as we don’t want to get him sick for Christmas). An animator will also host groups of kids to create Christmas ornaments (during that time parents can calmly enjoy the market). You can read more details about this event here.
Noel a Lancy
December 1-5, Lancy
Christmas market in Lancy will be filled with interesting stalls, activities concerts, shows and beautiful illuminations. You can consult the full program on this webiste.
NOEL A LA FERME
November 13 – December 18, Ferme de Bude
Every Saturday, from November 13th to December 18th, two partner stalss will settle in the farm’s yard. An opportunity to enjoy local products and share the passion of taste. You can see the full schedule here.
L’éco-marché de Bubble Ethic
December 4-5; Saint-Gervais
Close to the train station, the new premises of Voisins de Saint-Gervais and their coworking cafe, host an eco-market in honor of local and sustainable creation. The cherry on top? Brunch! Check it out.
November 27 – December 19; Simply Theater, Versoix
Simply Theatre bring Charles Dickens’ festive tale back to Geneva following their smash-hit 2017 run, in an enchanting stage adaptation full of joy, song, and magic – the perfect festive treat for all the family!
For more information and tickets press here.
CINDERELLA by GAOS
November 26 – December 5, Nyon
Gaos is the Geneva Musical Theater society. They prepare 3 shows each season, along with other ponctual events. Now is the time for their winter production – Cinderella, Alan P. Frayn’s traditional pantomime. It’s a show for all ages, though because of its lenght probably best with kids older than 4 (but decide yourself, of course).
You can find out more and book your ticktes here.
CONTES DE NOEL
December 1 & 8; Plan-les-Ouates
This seasonal storytelling event is a part of the exhibition at La julienne « Ho Ho Ho! From Saint Nicolas to Santa Claus » (from November 26 to December 23). You can register for free up to 2 hours before the performance. Then on site within the limit of the remaining places. Children must respect the minimum age (minimum 5 yo) and be accompanied by an adult. Covid certificate compulsory for 16 years old and over.
Not at all Christmas related but the most important celebration in Geneva happens in December. You can find out all what it’s about in my article here. As for this year’s Escalade events we’ll have the traditional parade. The rest of the program will be available here soon.
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 eny 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 Vernets) have accompanying restaurants with good menu and fondue!