Santa Claus has a busy week ahead of him, making his triumphant return to the City of Merritt for Country Christmas Week following two years of cancellations. The COVID-19 pandemic halted Santa and his reindeer’s voyage to the Nicola Valley in 2020, with the atmospheric river cancelling his planned 2021 return. This year, Saint Nick is back and ready to spread cheer. 

The week-long Country Christmas event, filled with festivities for the whole family, kicked off once again on November 21, and will run through to November 27. Along with the tree lighting, Civic Centre craft fair, live music, and dance recitals, Santa Claus will be in attendance at a number of events. Starting with Friday’s Santa Light up parade, where the jolly man in the red suit will be the last float, per tradition. 

“We are absolutely thrilled, fingers crossed that we don’t have a monkey wrench thrown into it this year,” said Carrie Ware, president of the Country Christmas Week Committee.

“We’re back to normal, and just hoping that Mother Nature doesn’t give us five feet of snow on the day of [the parade].”

Following Friday night’s festivities, those interested in pictures with Saint Nicholas can meet him at the Merritt Civic Centre on Saturday from 10 AM to 11:30 AM, and 1 PM to 3 PM. On Sunday, Santa Claus will serve up pancakes and other breakfast staples during the Knights of Columbus and Grad Class of 2023 breakfast with Santa. The breakfast will support both the graduating class and the non-profit service organization, and take place at the Merritt Civic Centre from 10AM to noon. 

From there, Santa is off to the Nicola Valley Aquatic Centre.

“We usually have Santa come and visit us every year,” said Alix Legouffe, aquatic supervisor for the City of Merritt.

“This is the first time we’re doing it again. Santa usually just pops in, and we do a couple of crafts on the viewing deck. Santa will be here from 12 to 1, and there will be cookies to decorate along with Christmas crafts. There will also be regular swimming.” 

Santa Claus will stay at the pool from noon until 1PM, at which point he will return to the North Pole to begin Christmas preparations. The pool will remain open until 4pm on Sunday, allowing plenty of time to splash with Santa. 

For more information on Country Christmas, including times and locations of events throughout the week , visit the Committee’s page at