From October holiday displays in stores to November Christmas music on the radio, the Christmas creep is an all too common woe. Not so for the merchants of Main St. Unionville, where they are waiting until Dec. 7 to welcome in the yuletide season.

That’s when Santa Claus is coming to town, at the 38th annual Old Tyme Christmas Parade, which also marks the official kickoff of Christmas for the Unionville Business Improvement Area (BIA).

It will also kick off three weeks of Christmas events aimed to highlight the village’s businesses, said Shawna Ferguson, Unionville BIA executive director.

The candlelit parade down Main St. from the Millennium Bandstand will start at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 and last about 90 minutes. This year, BIA organizers are putting a new feature into the festivities: carollers walking the streets before and after the parade, meaning there will be non-stop entertainment from 5:30 until 10 p.m. There will also be performers at the bandstand prior to the parade.

Though it’s a made-in-Unionville event, Ferguson said the appeal spans across Markham and beyond. This will be her first year at the helm of the parade, but not at all her first time in attendance.

“It’ll be different not sitting there with my kids enjoying it,” she said. “But the fact that we put so much extra effort into it makes the parade that much more meaningful for me, because I know there’s thousands of people who come here. It’s an important thing for a lot of families, so to know that I’m helping in a small part to do that is great.”

Beyond being a fun and significant event for local families, it’s also a great opportunity to showcase the businesses that are in Unionville. Although, if the Christmas shopping opportunities aren’t enough, there are lots of other activities planned.

Starting the morning after the parade, various Unionville eateries will be hosting weekend breakfasts with Santa right up until just a few days before Christmas. There will be 10 breakfasts in all – two seatings a day on Dec. 8, 9, 15, 16, and 22. Ferguson encourages those wanting to dine with St. Nick to book early as tickets sell out each year.

Also on Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16, the BIA will be hosting a distillery-inspired Christmas market, featuring the village’s usual retailers and nine or 10 pop-up stores and local artisans selling their wares. It lets shoppers accomplish their tasks in a fun way, which might ease the hectic and, sometimes stressful, nature of Christmas shopping.

“It brings people to the street for an experience,” said Ferguson. “They’re able to come, hang out, go get some chili from the (Unionville) Arms, go to Old Firehall Confectionery for some hot chocolate, get a personalized stocking. Do stuff like that and keep the experience going.”

The “old-timey” feel of the events is important to keep the spirit of Unionville, as a village, alive. It is a village within a big city.

If you go…

Unionville Old Tyme Christmas Parade
Dec. 7 | 7 to 8:30 p.m. (carolers and entertainment starting at 5:30 p.m.)
Parade starts at the Millennium Bandstand

Breakfast with Santa
Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 8 to 22
Seatings are at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Locations vary depending on date
Tickets: $18 each. Includes a photo with Santa. Available at eventbrite.com/e/2018-breakfast-with-santa-on-unionville-main-street-tickets-50496905604

Unionville Christmas Market
Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 8 to 16
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Main St., Unionville
Cost: Free