If you have a cottage up in North Muskoka or you plan on renting one, Christmas is quite the experience when you spend it up here.  Now, Christmas is quite the experience no matter where you spend it, but it is always more rustic up at Skeleton Lake, the Algonquin Region, Lake of Bays, Lake Wasoesa, etc.

For one, there won’t be any of that wondering if it’s going to be a white Christmas stuff that is common down around Toronto.  It will be white, and if you follow these tips it will be one you’ll never forget.

Get Organized

Organization is one of the keys to spending a great Christmas at the cottage.  You will have to organize all of the family members you want to be there, organize the dinner, the kids’ Christmas break, time off work, the Christmas gifts, whether or not you’ll spend New Years, etc.  It seems like it is just one day and should be pretty simple, but start planning at least a couple weeks ahead of time  so you won’t have to scramble.

The Christmas Tree

Spending Christmas at the cottage is the ideal opportunity to get yourself a real tree, because there are plenty of Christmas tree farms close to Skeleton Lake, Lake of Bays, Lake Wasoesa and all around North Muskoka.  The Fraser Fir is a good one to try if you aren’t sure.  They smell great and they are sturdy enough to accept a relatively heavy load of decorations.

Dress Properly

In the midst of your planning and organizing, you might forget that it can get quite cold in the Muskokas over the Christmas holidays, and subsequently forget to pack the right clothing.  Chances are, you’ll be out and about during your holiday, so dress in three layers.  You’ll want the bottom polyester layer to keep your skin dry, the second fleece layer for insulation and the third waterproof layer on top.  This will be all you need for skiing, tobogganing, skating, snowmobiling or any other outdoor activities.

Decorations

The easiest thing would be to pack a bunch and bring them with you, but that might take away from the whole “cottage Christmas” theme.  You can bring some of your decorations that are important to the family, but try to make some of your own with natural materials like pinecones, bark, stones and twigs or branches.  Some ribbon and a little glue will help keep you or the kids busy for quite a while.

The Kids

Speaking of kids…if you have some and you’re wondering just how Santa is going to find his way up there to the cottage.  You can still do the milk and cookies thing, and there are all the same shops and stores in North Muskoka as there are back in the city or anywhere else.

Take the Train to Santa

There are lots of fun Christmas activities in the Muskoka Region, but one in particular that kids always love is taking a train ride to Santa.  This is a short, 20-minute train ride on the Portage Flyer along the Muskoka River to see Santa.  Just show up at the Muskoka Heritage Place, Train Station 
at 100 Forbes Hill Drive in Huntsville between 5pm And 8pm on December 21, 2013 with $5 per person, and you’ll be good to go.