Walking into the Festival of Trees is like a Christmas-y trip down a twinkling memory lane for anyone who grew up in this city. I remember as a kid wandering through the Shaw Conference Centre trying to decide which tree was going to win my vote. Impossible task. And speaking of impossible tasks, how do they make those gingerbread houses look like something I’d like to live in andeat at the same time?

It’s no wonder this event stirs up the nostalgia for those of us who grew up here, because it has been fundraising for the University Hospital and kicking off the Christmas season in Edmonton for an impressive 34 years in a row.  

The festival runs from Thursday November 29th– Sunday December 2ndat the Shaw Conference Centre and during this short stretch they are also hosting four special events: the Gala Evening & Auction on November 28th, the Luncheon & Fashion Show and the Silver Bell Soiree on the 30th, and Santa’s Breakfast on December 2nd

Each year the theme changes. This year seems to be all about royalty, with many of the trees and cakes putting their own unique spin on it. I think it was one of my favorite festival vibes so far; all the bold colours and the metallic accents and the castle in the middle of the room making it feel like you’ve stepped into another more colourful world.  

The tree designs are always incredibly unique, and this year was no exception. My son had the hardest time deciding his favourite between the blue cookie monster tree and the upside-down tree (how did they even do that?). 

And of course there was plenty to do for the kids!From the cozy story corner covered in enormous teddy bears for the kids to flop into, to the cookie decorating station where you will undoubtedly have to re-direct the icing to the kid’s cookies instead of their mouths, there is so much for them to do that they’re sure to be passed out in the car on your drive home.

But I think the most endearing thing about the Festival of Trees is how wonderfully unchanged it is after all these years, and how amazing it is to remember those feelings it stirred in me as a child, and how it feels to be creating those memories with my own children. 

Hearing your kid screaming ‘this is the best day of my life!’ never gets old.


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Posted by Corey Sylvester on


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