Things to do in the nation’s capital when you’re all alone for the holiday season

If you find yourself stranded in Ottawa over the holidays without much in the way of family or friends, fear not. There are plenty of activities that can keep your mind occupied and away from mopey thoughts. Here are just a few things you can do to make your solitary holiday season a special one.

Christmas Lights Across Canada (Parliament Hill, Dec. 7, 2016–Jan. 7, 2017)

Peace on the Hill

This is the 32nd annual event of a light show cast on the Parliament buildings. This is a free event, with the official kick-off ceremony at 7 p.m. on the night of Dec. 7. This event includes Christmas carols, performances, and fireworks. The regular light show on the hill runs daily 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. until Christmas.

A Christmas Carol (National Arts Centre, Dec. 13–31, 2016)

This Charles Dickens classic has been adapted probably more times than any other piece of classic literature, but that doesn’t mean director Jillian Keiley is afraid to give it a try. Tickets start at $32, with student discounts available. Weekday performances are at 7:30 p.m., and weekend matinees are at 2 p.m.

Christmas dinner (St. Peter & St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Dec. 25 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.)

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Probably the hardest element of the holidays to replicate if you’re on your own is the Christmas dinner. This year marks the 49th annual Christmas dinner held by the Knox Presbyterian church, located at 120 Lisgar Street. For music, games, and a Christmas dinner away from home, visit or even volunteer at this event and discover the true meaning of Christmas.