FAMILY-FRIENDLY FESTIVE ACTIVITIES – 2019
by Alana Dunsmore
Feeling festive and looking for activities around Geneva to celebrate this year’s Christmas holiday? We are very excited about all the different family friendly activities this year for those who are not able to make it home for the holidays, or maybe you have family visiting and you want to show them all the great activities this city has to offer for this Christmas season.
HAMEAU DU PÈRE NOEL
Is your child excited about the fast approaching Santa visit? Well this might be a great place to take your children to add to the wonderful magic of Christmas and Santa. Unfortunately, Santa himself will be asleep, resting up so he can finish all the presents and be ready to deliver them. He sleeps in his room at the Hameau de Père Noel between December 1-23. However, you can still visit and explore Santa’s home while he is catching a few ‘z’s.
In addition to exploring his home you can listen to Mrs. Claus’ tales which are told during weekends of December in two separate areas of Santa’s home. You can also sample some of her delicious pancakes.
If you live in France this is also an excellent time to deliver those Santa letters as well, a mailbox is in the garden. Please note if you want to receive a letter back from Santa you need to request this on site. They will also post abroad but for a fee.
Open all year but please check website for a specific day as hours vary
75 rue des alouettes, 74350 Saint-Blaise, France
More information: Click Here
MARCHÉ DE NOËL – PARC DES BASTIONS
Visit the magical Christmas market in the Parc des Bastions and explore the large program with multiple amazing activities for children, including workshops, Christmas stores, yoga, face painting and Santa! Check the website for full programme details. Be sure to visit the market after dark to see the pretty lights – it’s at this time that the market really becomes a Christmas scene!
4 to 31 of December
Parc des Bastions, Geneva
CHRISTMAS MARKET IN MONTREUX
For the entire month of December Montreux sets up a Christmas Market along the lake. The Montreux Christmas market is one of Switzerland’s largest markets and this year the is its 25th anniversary. Their guest of honour will be Russia – featuring culinary specialities, crafts and folklore.
Look out for the Elves’ square, underneath the big wheel, which will be entirely dedicated to children for the duration of the market. Here there will be activities such as magic workshops. Check the website for specific details.
Make sure you plan your trip so you are there in the late afternoon so you can watch Santa Claus on his flying sleigh! He flies several times per day on a regular schedule starting in the late afternoon
If you want to make a full day of it, you can take the cog train up to see the house of Santa at Les Rochers-de-Naye but make sure you book early because seats fill up quickly!
Tip: Visit an SBB website or office for special train deals.
Month of December but check website for specific activities because opening vary
More information: Click Here
EVIAN WOOD SCULPTURE VILLAGE
The legend has it that since the beginning of time, fairy-folk of all kinds from throughout the Alps have been washed up on the beach in Evian. Arriving on the beach by driftwood rafts, these tiny fairy-folk-like creatures are known as Flottins.
Since 2007, the community of Evian has come together to create this “Fabulous Village” out of collected driftwood. Local schools are asked to invent Flottin expressions, to be displayed in shop windows. Over the years more and more associations have come together to create group sculptures.
For three weeks this transformation attracts storytellers, musicians, actors, and circus performers to the unique stage settings. It’s a great alternative to the traditional Christmas market, nothing is for sale here, only entertainment!
Check the website for a full schedule of activities.
December 13- January 5
CIRQUE DE NOËL
For the Christmas and circus lovers Cirque de Noel will be returning to Geneva, Plaine de Plainpalais for another year of jugglers, animal trainers, magicians, acrobats, horses, clowns, and lots of laughs.
If your children love any of the above, it’s a great event to check out.
There are special dinners and a show performance on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve if you are looking for something special to do as a family.
November 23,2019- January 5, 2020
Plaine de Plainpalais, Geneva
CAROUGE CHRISTMAS MARKET AND ACTIVITES
In addition to the best Christmas lights in Geneva and surrounding areas and ice-skating there is much more to be seen in the Carouge area this holiday season. ALSO read our article about festive things to do in Carouge here.
Two activities I thought would be particularly good for kids are the yoga and pastry decorating.
During the weekends of the month of December there are yoga courses intended for kids and families. The classes are based on play and coordination movements, helping the kids to better discover their body with no competition, only laugher. Classes are available for all ages, refer to website for specific times, the price is free.
If after working up a sweat you are feeling hungry or maybe you are looking for something more relaxing, decorating delicious pastry workshops are also available. Registration and payment are required either by phone: 022.547.16.09, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at the Cake in Love boutique.
There are many fun filled activities, as well as most boutiques are open on Sunday during December.
Various locations around Carouge
More information: Click Here
Are your children eager to meet Santa and get photos with him? There are a few great places around Geneva you can go to.
First is the Balexert Shopping centre, where you will find a carousel for rides, a postbox to mail your Santa letters, and a spot to take your own photos of your little one talking to Santa. If you are looking for something a little more professional you can book an appointment with the on-site photographer, providing photos for a fee.
The Meyrin Shopping Centre also offers a chance to meet Santa, and on certain days photos with Santa. There are also crafts for kids aged 6-12 in Mrs. Claus’ Atelier. On select Sunday’s there will be a train providing rides and many more activities including mulled wine for the adults.
Lastly, there is La Praille Shopping Centre. They will also be providing rides on a small train during December. Here there will be the opportunity for free photos with Santa on certain days of the week.
All shopping centres have specific dates and times for the activities therefore please check specific websites for each centre.
Tip: La Praille and Meyrin Shopping Centre will be open on Sundays in December.
December (refer to specific websites for details)
Balexert, Meyrin and La Praille Shopping Centres
Balexert – Click Here
Meyrin- Click Here
La Praille – Click Here