To celebrate Christmas and New Year despite the health restrictions, Monaco is organising mini islands of festive joy, for small gatherings or in the open-air.
The Principality is determined not to let the health crisis ruin the Christmas and New Year celebrations. That's why Monaco is looking to make Advent a truly festive period this year. There will be illuminations and traditional nativity scenes to admire from your car or from behind a mask, the shops will be open every Sunday in December (including the Métropole shopping mall until 3 January and Carrefour throughout December), private venues for family feasts, religious services, and all the seasonal trappings. Nobody will be able to say that Christmas has not been celebrated in style!
At the weekend, City Hall kicked off the festivities by lighting up the Principality in the colours of Christmas, with Mayor George Marsan flicking the switch in front of the Christmas tree in the Place d'Armes. SBM will follow suit on 3 December at the new Place du Casino. Altogether, 112 decorations have been installed above the streets of the Principality, with a further 615 mounted on candelabras. They feature 19 scenographies, ranging from illuminated ceilings, gian subjects or decorations at floor level. Energy efficiency is now an important requirement for our illuminations, with cutting edge lighting technology used (LEDs and micro-lamps).
True to its reputation as a Land of Innovation, Monaco is always keen to explore new technologies and the results are often highly impressive. This is never truer than during the festive season. Two interactive applications will be available to the public: Playmagic and Playcolor Monaco. The first uses augmented reality to let users take selfies with Santa Claus against a glittering backdrop or play with different personalities. The second lets you become "master of lights" by changing the colours of certain illuminations.
Letter to Santa
In Monaco, you can contact Santa Claus himself by email or letter sent via La Poste Monaco, from 23 November to 24 December. Every letter will receive a reply! So children, to your pens and paper! It's time to write or send your drawings to Santa. Just post your letter in the special mailbox at the Métropole shopping mall or in any one of the mailboxes in the Principality. If you prefer to send an email, Santa reads those too. Send yours via www.lapostemonaco.com . To be sure of a reply, don't forget to include the sender's address.
Ice rink at Port Hercule
Don't worry, avid skaters will have their fill of fun this year! The ice rink will open on 4 December, and remain open until 7 March 2021. Every year, under the supervision of the Municipal Department for Sports and Associations, the Stade Nautique Rainier III is transformed into a 1,000 m2 skating rink for several weeks. In addition to the main rink, there will also be a smaller rink for younger children to discover the joys of the ice, accompanied by their parents, with mini-skates to place on their shoes.
Scaled down Christmas Village
In view of the ongoing health situation and the resulting organisational restrictions, Monaco City Hall, in agreement with the Office of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince and the Prince's Government, will be unable to maintain the Christmas Village in its traditional format. Instead, a much reduced version will be set up at the Port of Monaco from 4 December 2020 to 3 January 2021, with four attractions for children - hook-a-duck, the traditional Carousel,a new merry-go-round named "Reindeer Ride", and another in the shape of a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, there will be no Christmas market this year.
Archbishop of Monaco
Mass to go ahead
With attendance restricted by half, it may be that some worshippers are unable to attend their chosen Mass, particularly the 6 pm service (most popular with families) and Midnight Mass (most popular with Italian people) on 24 December. The Diocese of Monaco has not yet published the times of Mass, but rest assured that the priests may well celebrate additional services to ensure that worshippers are able to attend.