The holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, enjoying the traditions of the season. Here are our top five ways to celebrate Manitoba’s holiday spirit!

1. Join the chorus of Handel’s Messiah

Messiah Sing-A-Long

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is giving you the gift of music this year with theMessiah Sing-A-Long December 12.  Whether you’re a soprano, alto, tenor or bass, join in – the louder, the better! And for those looking for a more traditional version of this holiday theme, conductor Ivars Taurins leads the WSO and the Mennonite Festival Chorus on December 13.

2. See how bright one million lights shine

Canad Inns Winter Wonderland

The brightest spot in Portage la Prairie is Island Park during the Hydro Power Smart Island of Lights on now until January 7. Make your way through Manitoba’s longest running drive through light show – or make the evening more memorable with a hayride. Check out the 26 different theme areas at the Canad Inns Winter Wonderland at Red River Exhibition Park. Don’t miss (although we’re not sure how you could) the 75-foot Christmas tree made of almost 3,000 LED lights.

3. Make some new (feathered) friends

Christmas bird count

Enjoy the great outdoors with some great company. On December 20, join Riding Mountain National Park staff and local birders for the annual Christmas Bird Count. Spend the day walking, skiing and snowshoeing your way through the Park counting all our winter feathered friends.  Oak Hammock Marsh also hosts a Christmas Bird Count. On December 20, help keep tabs on the marsh’s winter resident species.

4. Return to your childhood

Eaton's Fairy Tale Vignettes

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes on display now at the Children’s Museum at The Forks until January 4. This is the last original display of the vignettes that used to grace the ninth floor of the Eaton’s downtown store. These fully restored vignettes include scenes from Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty and more.

5. Hear the angels sing

Christmas Concert

Enjoy the sounds and songs of the season at the Manitou Opera House with performances from the Borderline Singers at the (December 13-14), the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir presents Holiday Memories at Westminster United Church (December 14),  or take in an Afternoon of Entertainment of the Season at Little Britain United Church in Lockport (December 14).  The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presents A Prairie Christmas Celebration, a holiday show filled with music, storytelling, comedy and magic (December 14). WSO also takes its Power Smart Holiday Tour on the road with stops in Lac du Bonnet (December 15); Gladstone (December 16); and Portage la Prairie (December 17).

Bonus – Ring in 2015!

Here are a few ideas for your New Year’s Eve celebration:

Assessippi New Years

Ski into the New Year at Assessippi Ski Area and Resort with a midnight torch run under the dazzling fireworks.

The Forks New Years Fireworks

The early 8 p.m. fireworks at the Scotiabank Family New Year’s Eve at The Forksmeans you can celebrate with your kids well before midnight.

RBC Convention Centre New Years

Or dress up in your finest for this year’s red carpet Hollywood Glam theme at the New Year’s Eve Party at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.  Enjoy the five-course meal and then dance the night away with the Ron Paley 21-piece band.