If you’re looking for a fun family outing this season and a way to kick-start the holidays, the Gardiner Museum has got something really neat going on. From November 19th to December 11th, check out the museum’s annual Twelve Trees of Christmas exhibit: Christmas trees – twelve of them – are scattered throughout the Gardiner, all decorated according to the visions of some of Toronto’s top interior designers and artisans.

The theme this year is “All Creatures Great and Small”, so expect an assortment of birds, butterflies, farm animals and elephants in addition to the usual sparkle, glitter, twinkly lights and ornaments. We had a delightful time listening to each designer tell the story of how their tree came to be, where they got their idea and how they put it together. Each tree is unique and beautiful – kids will be mesmerized by the pretty, sparkly things and it could be a fun game to have them pick a favourite design.

Notable trees for us are the Tribute to veterinary surgeon and writer James Herriot, a tree filled with the cutest little farm animals (some even move and make noise!); It’s A Small World After All, designed by former Canadian House & Home editor Cobi Ladner with accessories from her own product line; and, Elephant Love, a tree that has been dyed red, turned into an elephant (not kidding) and adorned with trinkets and jewels from India.

The trees are such a sight to see and so enchanting that even the grinchiest grich who ever grinched will be hard-pressed to avoid being drawn into the holiday magic. Each tree will even be donated to a selected charity after the exhibit closes and all proceeds go to funding the Gardiner’s educational programs. The exhibit captures the essence of the holiday spirit and places it within a magical, colourful, sparkly winter forest.

The Twelve Trees of Christmas, now in its 21st year, runs until December 11, 2011 at The Gardiner Museum. For more info and a writeup on each tree, go here.

$12.00 – Adult Tickets

$8.00 – Seniors Tickets

$6.00 – Student Tickets (valid full-time student ID required upon arrival)

~ Lindsay Tapscott