I love Christmas, everything from the lights, the merriment, getting together with family and friends, singing carols, the whole thing. Now that I’m a mom, sharing holiday traditions with my family has become even more important. The holidays are pricey enough, so I’ve compiled a list of my favourite FREE things to do during the holidays:
1. Burnaby Village Museum
One of the things that we look forward to doing each Christmas is our trek to the Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas. We enjoy strolling thru the village, looking at the decorations and lights. We also enjoy visiting father Christmas and singing old-fashion Christmas carols. The entry is free, and carousel rides are only $2.65, and if you’re looking for treats, you can purchase snacks and hot chocolate inside as well. They do such a good job here, it’s a must do.
November 24 – December 14, 2018 Monday to Friday, 1-5:30pm Saturday and Sunday, 1-9pm
December 15 – January 4, 2019 Daily, 1-9pm (closed December 24 & 25)
2. Lights at Lafarge
The City of Coquitlam offers Metro Vancouver’s largest (and free!) holiday lights display. If this doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, nothing will!. Dress warmly, bring a thermos full of hot apple cider and enjoy the 1.2K loop around the lake.
Saturday, Nov. 24 – Sunday, Jan. 20 from dusk until 11 p.m. nightly and through midnight New Year’s Eve.
Lafarge Lake, Town Centre Park, 1299 Pinetree Way Site Map
3. Surrey Tree Lighting Festival
There’s SO MUCH to do at the Surrey Tree Lighting Festival this year! There’s a Christmas market, entertainment, a gingerbread cookie workshop, photo booth, food trucks, photos with Santa and tons more. Really, this is a great event for the whole family. The city lights up a 60-foot Christmas tree and it’s nothing short of magical.
Saturday, November 24, 2018 12:00noon – 7:00pm Tree Lighting at 6:30pm
Surrey’s Civic Plaza and Atrium 13450 104th Avenue, Surrey, B.C., V3T 1V8
4. CandyTown Yaletown Holiday Festival
Vancouver’s sweetest winter festival is geared to be fun for all ages. With Christmas crafts & gifts, life-sized Santa sleigh ice carving, dancing gingerbreads, specialty cocktails, live music, roving musicians and costumed characters, CandyTown is an event to ignite the festive spirits of even the most stubborn of Scrooges. Kids can create their own candy kebobs at the Candy Hut or visit jolly old Saint Nicholas and the Ice Queen.
Embark on a magical horse-drawn carriage ride outside the Roundhouse Community Centre Turntable and be led on a relaxing seaside jaunt along Pacific Boulevard, Hamilton and Davie streets with a suggested $2 donation to the B.C. Children’s Hospital to help spur on the horses.
November 24 – 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Mainland Street, Vancouver
5. Santa Claus Parade
This year the Santa Claus Parade will start at noon on December 2nd. It begins at Broughton Street before proceeding along Georgia Street and then down Howe Street until Davie Street in Vancouver.
The parade has something for everyone: floats, marching bands, bagpipes, and of course, the big man himself, Santa. Outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, starting at 10am, there will be pre-parade activities for the whole family to enjoy, everything from face painting to live music. Last year, Telus sponsored the event, and it was fantastic.
6. Holiday Shows at HighStreet
This high-energy holiday show it’s not only free, but so much fun. The 30 minute live show includes performances by the MEI Screaming Eagles Marching Band, Project Dance, Rudolf, Frosty, Spandy Andy, and of course Santa. The holiday shows run every Saturday from November 17 – December 15.
3122 Mt. Lehman Road, Exit #83 off Highway 1 Abbotsford – Shows starts at 5pm.
Potter’s Christmas Store in Surrey
This one it’s not free, nor an event, but still one of my favourite things to do for the holidays. Once again, Potter’s Nursery has transformed itself into Western Canada’s largest Christmas store, boasting more than 28,000-square-feet devoted to all things Yuletide. Open now through December 24, “The Christmas Store at Potter’s” is the destination to find thousands of holiday-related items. It’s true if they don’t have it, no one does.
The store is truly a Christmas wonderland. Their extensive collection of ornaments exceeds over 50,000 – everything from traditional, funny to straight up crazy. Not only that but the way the store is decorated, it’s so beautiful to come in and look at all the lights. Aside from Christmas stuff, they offer fantastic stocking stuffers and even a “foodie” section where you can pick gourmet food-related items ranging from Prosecco gummies to Bacon-flavoured ketchup.
Adding more merriment to the weekend, Potter’s offers food demos and live music on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Christmas Store at Potter’s is located at 19158 48th Ave. in Surrey. Phone: 604.576.5011. potters.ca/christmas
Open daily through December 24
Mon – Wed: 9am – 6pm
Thu – Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat: 9am – 6pm
Sun: 9am – 5:30pm