My weekend at Christmas boot camp: Day 1

I’m spending the weekend at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Muskoka for the first annual ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas weekend. The two-night package caters to the Christmas lover and includes all meals including a Saturday night dinner and dance, a Christmas village filled with gifts for purchase, plus a variety of workshops in areas such as holiday decor, cooking, baking and crafting.

The event is already booking up for next year, so to give you a taste of the experience (and help you decide if this is something you might want to plan for next November), I’ll be charting my every move in minute detail—Wahahaha!

Here we go:

2 p.m. - I leave Toronto with my team of three female cohorts. After a quick stop at Tim Horton’s (because we’re incredibly Canadian), we’re on the road coasting along the tree-lined highway.

Christmas carolers at Deerhurst Lodge singing Christmas carols

4:20 p.m. - We pull up to the resort, where the ice from the flowing fountain is already starting to freeze into cascading icicles. The sun is setting and the tiny white lights on the trees and main building are aglow. A quartet of carolers standing next to a Christmas tree greets us at the door as we stand in the bustling line to check into our rooms. People dance and sing along as they wait.

Deerhurst Resort hotel bedroom

Home Depot Christmas gift package

4:45 p.m. - I trundle over to one of the outlying buildings with my suitcase to find a lovely one-bedroom suite with living room and kitchen. A basket of goodies (maple chocolate, syrup and popcorn) from the resort awaits me, as well as a package stocked with Christmas decor from Home Depot. These are the perks of being a member of “The Press” (as my name tag calls out to any curious onlookers).

Christmas Village shopping at Deerhurst Resort

6:30 p.m. - After some time in my room (I’ve got work to do and, more importantly, a shower to take!), I head over to the Christmas Village to check out some of the vendors that have been gathered to make everyone’s Christmas shopping a little easier this year. I do a quick walk around to scope the wares and so far have my eye on tasty treats from Farmer’s Daughter and the adorable aprons for kids at the Lazy Daisy stand.

Chef Michael Smith shucking oysters

Eating oysters

7 p.m. - Dinner begins with a marché-style set up that includes multiple stations such as make-your-own poutine, striploin sandwiches and delicious Belly ice cream. The big draw and picture op of the night is definitely Chef Michael Smith, who runs an oyster shucking and tasting station. When he finds out I’m an oyster virgin, he rings a bell and heartily explains how to dig into the shell and jiggle it loose. My very first oyster—a PEI oyster nonetheless—is slathered in frozen Bloody Mary and it tastes…interesting.

Maple treats and goodies gift basket

9 p.m. - This party animal heads back to her room, turns up the heat, dons her slippers and munches on maple popcorn in bed.

Until tomorrow!

See pics from day 2.