Christmas in November 2014: The Fun!

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Tall Christmas tree at Fairmont Jasper Lodge

As you all know, I was a guest of the Fairmont this past week for their amazing annual event, Christmas in November. Christmas in November is the pinnacle of food events in Alberta and something that has been on my bucket list for years now.

Every November the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is flooded with visitors attending this renowned event. The halls are decked, the gorgeous Christmas tree is placed in their lobby and the preparations of the past year are put into place.

Food Networks celebrities such as Chef Lynn Crawford, Chefs Anna and Micheal Olson and more fly in to entertain guests in fairly small, intimate sessions, allowing us star-struck fans the opportunity to listen to them, learn from them and yes, even chat with them and get our pictures taken.

While I will get into the presenters later, this post is going to be all about the fun. I didn’t want to do a daily recap, I wanted to split up the experience into the three main parts of Christmas in November.

The Fun. The Food. The Presenters. All in that order over the next three days for your reading pleasure.

Most of you know that I am a Fairmont girl, staying in them whenever and wherever I can. Not only are they usually the oldest, most beautiful hotels in the city (the Seattle Olympic Fairmont started my love affair with this amazing hotel line) but the level of personalized service to each and every guest is unparalleled.

My true love however, is the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, of which I have written about a few times. We spent spring break with the kids there last year, in the most relaxing week our family has had in ages.  It’s rustic, quiet, peaceful and has the most beautiful setting and property for walking and rejuvinating.

amazing mountain scenery with Canadian flag

Being a lover of nature and an outdoors girl, this is my happy place. What could be better than an excellent lodging, food and customer service in the middle of all this natural beauty?

Now, here’s the answer to an entry question for my Christmas in November “Edmonton Prize Pack” Giveaway   “What is Karlynn’s favorite part of staying at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge?”

The answer: the amazing mountain scenery.

Make sure to go and enter the contest and stay tuned for the final two answers coming up in my next posts!

amazing view of mountain and ocean

The main lodge is decked out in full Christmas glory for Christmas in November and while it is certainly beautiful during the day….

main lodge full Christmas decors

…after night falls the lodge is simply spectacular.

view of lodge during the night when lights are up

When you arrive in your room, you will be greeted with gifts, which I am sure change from year to year. This year two of my favorite items were Lynn Crawford’s newest cookbook and a lovely handcream. Not only that, but a bottle of champagne and snacks also awaited me! How spoiled am I?

Lynn Crawford's newest cookbook and a lovely handcream in bed

The first evening you will head out to a Welcome reception, where there will be food, wine and even more food.

I even took a selfie to show you all I can get gussied up for events once in a while and as a side bonus, there’s my lovely room (ful of my stuff!) at the Fairmont.

a selfie picture of a woman inside her room

Now, some of my experiences are with the VIP package that you can upgrade to with your Christmas in November experience, this is important to remember. I will be posting about the different  events and I will always mention when it’s a VIP package only part.

These beautiful ladies are called The Willows and were the main wandering entertainment at Christmas in November. Oh, I loved these girls! If you love some beautiful Christmas music, you seriously need to go and download their single. I already have, it’s a new favorite for Christmas in our house! I seriously expect it to be in a Gap commercial ASAP, it’s that cute and snappy.

You can listen to their new single on their website, but they were carolling the classics at Christmas in November for us all.

At the Welcome Reception I discovered that a feed of all of the best Instagram snaps were live on multiple screens. How cool is this, to see your pictures on the screen? It really added to the fun, seeing what everyone else was doing!

Instagram snaps live on multiple screens

The main joy of Christmas in November is meeting friends, old, new and ones yet to come. I was so happy to meet several of my readers (always a serious highlight!!), people I’ve talked to on Twitter and friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Among them were Leah and Tamra from Davison Orchards, with whom I have chatted multiple times yet never met! It was so nice to meet them finally!

This was just one of many sentiments echoed time and time again by so many people at Christmas in November… ” So nice to meet you finally! “.. “So nice to see you again!”  ….. it’s really like coming home at Christmas and seeing old friends and family again.

group picture of three ladies in front of tall Christmas tree

Every day is full of food, sessions and fun. You wake up, have breakfast, go to your sessions. Then it’s time for lunch, followed by sessions and then a break before dinner. The Gala dinner on your last night is the most anticipated event of all, however!

What? Selfie#2?

I know, right? Christmas in November DOES produce miracles! You can tell from my smirk that selfies aren’t my favorite but I did want to show you my gala outfit. Sparkles AND color. Hooooo boy, I really was pushing my comfort zone of all black clothes here!

I still didn’t wear a dress, although you are certainly able to, it’s cocktail attire for the gala and the welcome reception.

selfie picture of woman showing her black outfit

That gala is certainly the highlight of the event! The food, the fun and of course, the entertainment!

This was a crazy, ridiculously fun “Chopped” Christmas in November event during the gala. Judged by no less than Lynn Crawford herself, teams were chosen from the guest list to work together and try to make a dish out of the surprise ingredients! Each team was led by the pros that were presenting and here you can see that Emily Richards and Elizabeth Baird were the captains of the winning team! This came as no surprise to anyone! They weren’t allowed to do anything but shout directions however, so good job on their team for winning!

You can see Santa Lynn at the table judging. I’m not sure that I could think of a better Santa, come to think of it!

Santa chef in the table of presentation with some participants

So that covers some of the fun of Christmas in November, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post which is all about the FOOD!

Love you more than Christmas,


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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. AngMB says

    Christmas in November sounds incredible! I have never been, but would lover to attend someday!

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      AngMB It was the most amazing time I’ve ever had! I can’t wait for next year!

  2. LeeAnn Jeffrey says

    Wow..never stayed at the JPL, but have been outside. Your room looks huge! Looks beautiful and I will definitely have to stay there one day.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      LeeAnn Jeffrey It is my favorite place to stay, period. There’s something magical about it! Put it on your bucket list!

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