Christmas! Nothing can be more exciting or thrilling for young families than this seasonal treat, when time slows down and loved ones gather together to reflect upon the past and make plans for the future.

In Montreal this year, there are a number of inspiring activities that keep young ones busy and give parents a much-needed break. Here are the top 10 activities you won’t want to miss out on.

1-Skating at the Old Port. It’s a classic activity that involves the entire family. As a bonus, it’s cardio. Who doesn’t want to burn calories after Christmas pies and cookies? Head to the Old Port around mid-December to skate your way into the holiday spirit.

2-Are you starved for sunlight? Don’t book your ticket to Cuba just yet, but hop over to Place des Arts, where Luminotherapie, an annual art installation, features 13 zeotropes that are activated by visitors in order to make fairy tale images come to mind. With color and music, this art installation is always a crowd-pleaser and takes place between December 8 and January 29.

3-Visit with Santa. Your child has been begging you to see the jolly old man for days? Not a problem. Go to the Fairview mall between November 18 and December 24 in Pointe-Claire. Photos with Santa are taken. Call (514) 695-1610 for more information.

4-Santa’s Kingdom comes to life at the Complexe Desjardins. Running from November 18 to December 26, this interactive event draws people by the hundreds to ride the miniature train, carousel, enjoy the ciné-club and Tout-petits games zone for toddlers.

5-Bingo and winter crafts. What a clever combination! Head to the Laure-Conan Library on December 29 with your family to play some games and take out the glue and coloring pens. You are on holiday, after all, so why not indulge in some creative projects that get the mind active and going?

6-Running from November 15 to January 5, the Frozen Land Christmas Light Display is an event you won’t want to miss. Go to Sami Hajjar’s Display in St-Laurent to feast your eyes on over 100,000 lights, spotlights, inflatable decorations that dazzle in the evening light. Synchronized music plays at all times.

7-Deck the Halls with Magic. On December 23, head to Todsky’s Magic Shop in the West island. The Amazing Todsky wants to make the holidays as merry as they can be, so he will be handing out free magic gifts!

8-Do you want to teach your kids to bake on their own? It’s hardly an impossible task! Go to Provigo Le Marché Pierrefonds and bring your children along for an educational but fun activity. Children can make their own gingerbread houses by assembling pieces, royal icing and candies.

9-On a related note, children can fine-tune their culinary skills by making layered cookie cutter ham & cheese cracker snacks, and reindeer-faced sloppy joe sliders as well as Christmas trees with candy decorations. Go to Provigo Le Marché Pierrefonds on December 23 and roll up your sleeves!

10-Finally, nothing says the holidays than a show, right? Go watch Pain d’épice be performed at Illusion Théâtre. The scenario is fun yet complex: when a baker decides to make a cookie just for herself, she is dismayed that the cookie comes to life when it comes out of the oven. Who can catch a walking cookie? Find out!