79 things to do in Vancouver this Christmas

Nov 30 2016, 8:31 pm

Christmas is almost here and there’s a ton of special events going on in Vancouver to get you in the festive spirit.

From Christmas lights to seasonal shopping, and from Yuletide shows to festive volunteering, we’ve got you covered and wrapped up warm.

So here are 79 things to do in Vancouver this Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas Lights

St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope

Lights of Hope/St. Paul's Foundation

Lights of Hope/St. Paul’s Foundation

  • What: A longstanding annual tradition at St. Paul’s Hospital is back. More than 100,000 lights, spanning a length of more than 10 kilometres, will be turned on for the Christmas-time Lights of Hope charity campaign supporting the hospital’s initiatives.
  • Where: St. Paul’s Hospital – 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver
  • When: Light display is up throughout December.

Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Lights, lights, and more lights ❤💙💚💛💜 #stanleyparkbrightnights

A photo posted by Sammie Tan (@sammietan) on

  • What: More than three million dazzling lights decorate hectares of the dark forest, reaching as high as the forest canopy for Bright Nights in Stanley Park. The attraction is also accompanied by a train ride, musics, snacks, entertainment, and even visits with Santa and his elves.
  • Where: Miniature railway area at Stanley Park, Vancouver
  • When: November 28 to January 1, 2017
  • Admission: Free, or take the Christmas Train for a suggested donation of $4

Holiday Hi-Light Festival

Holiday Hi-Light Festival (Park And Tilford)

Holiday Hi-Light Festival (Park And Tilford)

  • What: More than 50,000 Christmas lights + Family Night with Santa, hot chocolate, face painting and more, supporting North Vancouver Firefighters.
  • Where: Park & Tilford Gardens, North Vancouver
  • When: Friday, November 27 to December 31, 2016
  • Admission: By donation

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Canyon Lights (Capilano Suspension Bridge)

Canyon Lights (Capilano Suspension Bridge)

  • What: The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment. See the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall), experience the voice-activated light show, go on a scavenger hunt throughout the park, sing along with the holiday band, take a family photo at the Winter Pavilion, and more.
  • Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge – 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
  • When: November 24 – January 8, 2017; 11 am to 9 pm
  • Tickets: $39.95 for adults, $36.95 for seniors, $32.95 for students, $26.95 for youth (ages 13 to 16) $13.95 for children (ages 6 to 12) and free for children under 6.

Dundarave Festival of Lights

  • What: A beloved West Vancouver tradition returns with the Dundarave Festival of Lights.
  • Where: Dundarave Park – 25th Street and Bellevue Avenue, West Vancouver
  • When: Every Saturday from November 26 until December 31 2016; noon to 6 pm
  • Admission: Totally free!

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Garden

  • What: The botanical garden is covered in more than a million lights. Reindeer and Scandinavian gnomes also roam the trails, and visitors can walk through the gingerbread wood, lantern alley, and Make-a-Wish candle grotto.
  • Where: Vandusen Gardens – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 1 to January 2 2017, 4:30 to 9 pm. Between December 16 and December 23 from 4:30 to 10 pm
  • Tickets: $15.24 for adults, $8.57 for children.

Chalet Place, North Vancouver Light Display

North Vancouver house on Chalet Place with Christmas lights (Michael Iwasaka)

North Vancouver house on Chalet Place with Christmas lights (Michael Iwasaka)

  • What: A home up in the high hills of North Vancouver has been lighting up with over 100,000 lights each Christmas for a few years, all in a good cause. The homeowners welcome visitors but encourage a donation to the Harvest Project in return.
  • Where: 4967 Chalet Place, North Vancouver
    When:  Monday, November 28 to Friday, January 6, 2017. On opening night, the lights will be viewable from 6:30 pm, on all other nights, the house will be illuminated from 5:30 pm.
  • What to bring: A cash or non-perishable food donation. All proceeds go to charity.

Vancouver Christmas Tree at Robson Square

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting (Vancouver Convention Centre)

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting (Vancouver Convention Centre)

  • What: For the 10th year in a row, Vancouver’s official Christmas Tree has been lighting up the Christmas spirit, and this year the tree will be located at Robson Square.
  • Where: Robson Square – 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
  • When: Throughout December
  • Admission: Totally free!

Enchant Light Maze

(Enchant Light Maze)

(Enchant Light Maze)

  • What: Enchant 2016 brings the world’s largest Christmas light maze to the heart of the city, combined with a bustling local vendor market, live performances, warming seasonal eats and drinks, an outdoor fire pit, and much more.
  • Where: 1st and Crowe Street, between the Cambie Street Bridge and Olympic Village
  • When: From November 24 until New Year’s Eve 2016, 4 to 10 pm
  • Tickets: On the Enchant website, available beginning on October 5 at 10 am


  • What: Lumiere is back to light up Vancouver’s West End with an evening of artistic expression, community engagement, and of course, lights.
  • Where: Morton Park – 1800 Morton Ave, Vancouver and Jim Deva Plaza – 1200 Bute Street, Vancouver
  • When: Throughout winter
  • Admission: Totally free!

Sparkle Brighter at McArthurGlen Vancouver

  • What: Along with one of Lower Mainland’s biggest trees, the centre is decked out in a variety of holiday decorations including 25,000 lights and more than 3,000 festive ornaments.
  • Where: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport – 1000-7899 Templeton Station Road, Richmond
  • When: Throughout December

Food & Drink

Breakfast With Santa

  • What: This is a buffet-style family-friendly breakfast that features design-your-own pancakes and waffles station along with bacon, sausage, hash browns and scrambled eggs.
  • Where: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 4, from 8 to 10 am
  • Tickets: $39.95 per person, $19.95 for kids 12 years and under; Reservations required, email [email protected] or call 604-647-0517.

Festive Latte Art Throw-Ho-Ho-Down

  • What: This holiday throw down of caffeinated concoctions will be going down in Espressotec’s barista lab. Sponsored by Caffe D’arte Coffee Roasters, the competition will collect donations in support of The Lookout Society and will provide beer, snacks, and Christmas cookies to spectators.
  • Where: Espressotec Sales & Service – 1015 Clark Drive, Vancouver
  • When: Thursday, December 1, from 5:30 to 9:30 pm
  • Tickets: Cash/food/clothing donation

Holiday Cookie Swap

  • What: A great holiday season includes cookies. So, why not head on down to the cookie swap at the Hastings Park Farmers’ Market on the PNE Fair Grounds?
  • Where: Hastings Park Farmers Market at the PNE – 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 18, from 11 am to 12:30 pm
  • Register: On Eventbrite, for free

Reflections Cozy Winter Wonderland Patio

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

  • What: Reflections at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is turning its patio into a winter wonderland complete with garlands, twinkle lights, throw blankets, hot toddies, and tasty tapas.
  • Where: Inner courtyard on the 4th floor, Rosewood Hotel Georgia – 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
  • When: From November 24 until December 30, from 4 to 10 pm daily

Tartine & Maple Holiday Baking Classes (with Champagne!)

  • What: Tartine & Maple has a couple of classes that might strike your fancy. There’s Eclairs and Cream Puff – Holiday Special, which covers Choux pastry basics, and how to make treats like Candy Cane Eclairs, Eggnog Cream Puffs, and Savory Gougeres (Cheese Puffs). Or, try the Ultimate Holiday Class: Treats & Champagne! , where you’ll make Peppermint meringue, Chocolate truffles, Orange Cranberry Almond Shortbread, Coconut Macaroons dipped in chocolate. During both classes, there will be champagne for sipping–so make note, these are for 19+.
  • Where: The Uncommon Café – 477 Powell Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 10 and December 21, 6 to 9 pm
  • Tickets: $65; available online. Eclairs & Cream Puffs / Holiday Cookies & Treats

Holiday Cookie Party

  • What: Don’t have time to bake this year? Or want to check out some different new cookie flavours or decorating tricks? Grab some friends, family or some Tupperware to get your baked good shopping done in one go.
  • Where: The Uncommon Cafe – 477 Powell Street, Vancouver
  • When: Wednesday, December 14, 6 to 8:30 pm
  • Tickets: $40 per person, $5 for kids, available on Eventbrite.

Christmas Markets & Craft Fairs

Eastside Flea Holiday Markets

  • What: This flea market is more like a party because it has a DJ, beer, and a delicious selection of hot eats from a variety of food trucks. Check out the 50-plus vendors offering plants, collectibles, handmade items, and vintage clothing.
  • Where: The Ellis Building – 1024 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 2 to 4 and 16 to 18; Friday evenings  from 6 to 10 pm and Saturday and Sundays, from 11 am to 5 pm.
  • Tickets: $3 admission, $5 for a weekend pass

East Side Best Side Pop-Up Handmade Market

  • What: Looking for some unique gift ideas for the holidays? A collective of East Vancouver artists, crafters, and friends coming together to bring you handmade goodies for the holiday season, from arts and crafts, beer, jewellery, vintage clothing, canned goods, and sweet treats.
  • Where: Russian Hall – 600 Campbell Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 11, from 11 am to 5 pm
  • Admission: Free!

River District Craft Fair

  • What: The River District Craft Fair aims to support local businesses by featuring BC artisans from the area. Head here to get your holiday fill of food and gifts.
  • Where: River District Centre – 8683 Kerr Street, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 4, from 11 am to 4 pm.
  • Admission: Totally free

Kensington Holiday Craft Fair

  • What: The 9th Annual Holiday Craft Fair at Kensington Community Centre will feature holiday gifts and stocking stuffers made by talented local artisans along with raffle and door prizes for attendees. This fair also offers free parking.
  • Where: Kensington Community Centre – 5175 Dumfries Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 3 from 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Admission: Totally free

Vancouver Christmas Market

  • What: The 7th annual authentic German-inspired Christmas Market creates the perfect atmosphere to get into the holiday spirit. Experience a selection of traditional food and beverages, and browse vendors offering authentic wood carvings and toys, knitted goods, nutcrackers, pottery, and other unique gifts. There will be tons of kids activities and the opportunity to ride downtown Vancouver’s only Christmas Carousel.
  • Where: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, November 26 to Saturday, December 31 open daily from 11am to 9pm (closes at 6 pm on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas Day).
  • Tickets: $8 per person and $4 for kids, all varieties of tickets available online.

TOQUE Fundraiser and Craft Fair

  • What: This annual craft fair is a fundraiser for music programs at Western Front. It features a variety of BC artists and artisans and attracts over 2,000 visitors each year. Joining the impressive roaster of vendors in 2016 are the Capilano Tea House, Carrall St. Canvas Co., Nepheliad, Tony Dubroy, tuk + milo, and Wasted Effort. Drinks and a barbeque will take place on the opening night.
  • Where: Luxe Hall at Western Front – 303 East 8th Aveneue, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, December 2, from 6 to 10 pm, Saturday, December 3, from 11 am to 5pm, and Sunday, December 4 from 11 am to 5 pm.
  • Admission: By donation

Kensington Holiday Craft Fair

  • What: The 9th Annual Holiday Craft Fair at Kensington Community Centre will feature holiday gifts and stocking stuffers made by talented local artisans along with raffle and door prizes for attendees. This fair also offers free parking.
  • Where: Kensington Community Centre – 5175 Dumfries Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 3 from 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Admission: Totally free.

Make It! Holiday Show

A photo posted by Make It Show (@makeitshow) on

  • What: This show is a fun, upbeat shopping experience that showcases artists, crafters, and makers from all over Canada. Find over 265 exhibitors selling gorgeous handcrafted items. This holiday show features beer garden, live music, and food trucks. Make It! also has a silent auction with items donated by vendors where 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the Union Gospel Mission. Parking for this market is $12.
  • Where: The PNE Forum – 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • When: Thursday, December 8 and Friday, December 9, from 11 am to 9 pm, Saturday, December 10, from 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday, December 11, from 11 am to 5 pm.
  • Tickets: $7 at the door, free for kids 12 and under.

 Crafty Affaire Holiday Market

  • What: The Crafty Affaire Holiday market promotes unique and modern handmade items, as well as some vintage treasures. There will also be food trucks and hot beverages available at this market.
  • Where: Croatian Cultural Centre – 3250 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 17, from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Tickets: $2 admission, kids under 12 free.

 Shiny Fuzzy Muddy

  • What: The annual holiday show of this Vancouver-based artisan collective will feature all kinds of handmade goods and products for the holiday season. This event aims to seek out new artists and connect guests with talented artisans in their community.
  • Where: Heritage Hall – 3102 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 10, from 11 am to 7 pm and Sunday, December 11, from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • Tickets: $3 admission.

Etsy Vancouver Winter Market

A photo posted by Make It Show (@makeitshow) on

  • What: The Etsy Vancouver Market features more than 80 independent markers offering arts, jewellery, fashions, housewares, beauty products, and kids accessories. Check out the directory of stalls here. 50% of the proceeds from this event will go to a charitable Vancouver-based partner of Etsy.
  • Where: The Pipe Shop Building – 115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 3, from 10 am to 8 pm and Sunday, December 4 from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Tickets: $5 admission, kids 12 and under free.

Got Craft? Holiday Edition

  • What: Head to Got Craft! to celebrate a decade of handmade goodness. Shop for locally made goods, enjoy plenty of good eats, and craft a DIY project to take home. This fair also offers free swag bags for the first 50 people at the event each day.
  • Where: The Pipe Shop Building – 115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11, from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Tickets: $3 per person, available online.

Festivals & Parades

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

  • What: Celebrate the beginning of Winter’s end at the Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. Taking place every year on the longest night, the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival brings communities together with a self-guided lantern tour, spread out over a series of blocks in various neighbourhoods in Vancouver.
  • Where: Various locations around Vancouver
  • When: Wednesday, December 21, 6 to 10 pm

Rogers Vancouver Santa Claus Parade 2016

  • What: The event has become a Vancouver tradition with hundreds of colourful floats and performances. With more than 3,500 participants, the parade features bands, choirs, and community groups.
  • Where: This year’s parade has a slightly different route. It will start at the same location – Georgia Street at Broughton, continue east along Georgia, turning south on Howe. It will now end on Howe and Smithe.
  • When: Sunday, December 4, at noon

Christmas in Kerrisdale

  • What: Brass bands, Santa Claus and his merry elves, horse and carriage rides and free ice skating are all part of the annual Christmas in Kerrisdale celebration.
  • Where: Kerrisdale Village – West 42nd Avenue and Yew St, Vancouver
  • When: Saturdays and Sundays, from December 3 to December 23, from noon to 4 pm

The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

  • What: Grouse Mountain becomes a holiday mecca during December for the Peak of Christmas, featuring Santa and his elves, live reindeer, sleigh rides, ice skating on the outdoor rink, all in the outdoor alpine beauty.
  • Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
  • When: Friday, November 25 to January 2, 2017

Christmas at Canada Place

Step inside this giant snow globe at Canada Place this Christmas (Port of Vancouver)

Step inside this giant snow globe at Canada Place this Christmas (Port of Vancouver)

  • What: Christmas at Canada Place returns for another year with exhibits and activities for the family along the Canadian Trail, the West Promenade of Canada Place. Christmas crafts, the Avenue of Christmas Trees, Rudolph’s Theatre and the historic Woodward’s Windows are all part of this free event.
  • Where: Canada Place – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
  • When: December 16 to December 30, from noon to 6 pm daily; Woodward’s Windows on display from 9 am to 10 pm. Everything closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


Holiday Hooray

  • What: The VSO and Let Your Music Shine! With Lisa and Linda present seasonal songs from holiday classics such as The Nutcracker and Babes in Toyland.
  • Where: Vancouver Playhouse – 600 Hamilton, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, December 2, 10 am and 11:30 am
  • Tickets: $15 online

Mingle of the Jingles

  • What: Professionals, local talent and performers with special needs share the stage at the 11th annual Mingle of the Jingles holiday variety show and silent auction.
  • Where: Kay Meek Centre – 1700 Mathers Avenue, West Vancouver
  • When: Wednesday, December 7, from 7 to 9 pm
  • Tickets: $20 online

Tales of A Charlie Brown Christmas with the Jerry Granelli Trio

  • What: Tales of A Charlie Brown Christmas features jazz legend Jerry Granelli, an original and only surviving member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio (who composed the original Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack.)
  • Where: Kay Meek Centre – 1700 Mathers Avenue, West Vancouver
  • When: Friday, December 9, 9 to 10 pm
  • Tickets: Available online, $15 to $38

Christmas at the Chan Centre

  • What: Award-winning conductor Dr. Joel Tranquilla, Director of Choral Activities for Trinity Western University, brings together four choirs and a full orchestra in an exquisite program featuring Christmas music from around the world.
  • Where: Chan Centre for the Performing Arts – 6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 4, 2:30 pm
  • Tickets: $22.50 to $25 online

Blues for Christmas

  • What: The 31st annual concert features performances by Biscuit Blues Band, Jayleen Stonehouse, Billy Dixon Soul Train Express, Cecile Larochelle, Keith Bennett, Murray Porter, Les Is More, David Gogo, Jason Buie, Dalannah and Owen, Mike Machado Band, Steve Kozak Band, Cannery Row, Steve Sainas, and the Bobcats.
  • Where: Fairview Pub – 898 West Broadway, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 4 and Monday, December 5, doors at 7:15 pm and the show is at 8 pm
  • Tickets: $20 online

Gifts of Light – Christmas Concert

  • What: This is a highlight event of our year at Tenth Church as we go all out to celebrate the meaning of Christmas through music and various performing arts.
  • Where: Tenth Church – 11 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Saturday, December 10, from 3:30 to 5:15 pm
  • Cost: By donation with registration on Eventbrite

Vancouver Men’s Chorus: Making Spirits Bright

  • What: The Vancouver Men’s Chorus sings all the Christmas classics, set in the beautiful halls of St. Paul’s Anglican Church. They say it will be a “feast for the senses”.
  • Where: St. Paul’s Anglican Church – 1130 Jervis Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 4, 5, 10 and 11; 8 p.m., December 6 and 12; matinees at 3 p.m.
  • Tickets: Available online, $37

Vancouver Chamber Choir Christmas Concerts

  • What: The Vancouver Chamber Choir is putting on two fabulous Christmas concerts this season, beginning with The Christmas Masterpiece, a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Second up is Carols & Readings of the Season, “a banquet of seasonal music.”
  • Where:
    • The Christmas Masterpiece at The Orpheum – 601 Smithe Street, Vancouver
    • Carols & Readings at Ryerson United Church – 2205 W. 45th Ave (at Yew St.)
  • When:
    • The Christmas Masterpiece on Friday, December 9 at 8 pm
    • Carols & Readings on Friday, December 16 at 8 pm
  • Tickets: Available online, $24-$55

Something to Treasure – A Good Noise Christmas

  • What: Continuing the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir’s beloved seasonal tradition, Something To Treasure – A Good Noise Christmas will feature spirited gospel-infused Christmas songs and carols, and as an added treat, Good Noise presents a dynamic new vocal ensemble as guest artists – The Alumni Project.
  • Where: Christ Church Cathedral – 690 Burrard Street, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10, 7 pm, Sunday, December 11 (Fraserview/MB Church) 3 pm.
  • Tickets: $10 to $25 online

Christmas with the Bach Choir

  • What: The Vancouver Bach Choir knows a thing or two about how to nail a Christmas carol. More than 400 singers will fill the stage to sing all the beloved Christmas classics during this afternoon concert, featuring the Children’s Chorus and Youth Choir.
  • Where: The Orpheum – 601 Smithe Street, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 4 at 2 pm
  • Tickets: On Tickets Tonight, $29-$65

A Traditional Christmas from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

  • What: The VSO plays its annual Traditional Christmas concert in neighbourhoods around Metro Vancouver, including the North Shore, Burnaby, Surrey, Delta, and Vancouver this holiday season. Experience the delight of Christmas music straight from the city’s most talented musicians.
  • Where: Various theatres around Metro Vancouver
  • When: Thursday, December 8 to Sunday, December 18, various times
  • Tickets: Available online, $37-$43


Christmas Queen 3 – The Bachelorette Edition


Christmas Queen/Vancouver TheatreSports

  • What: The Christmas Queen returns this holiday season with the latest instalment in the series, Christmas Queen 3 – The Bachelorette Edition. This episode sees HRM (Her Royal Meanness) as the star of her own reality show, with a ‘Who’s Who’ of the holiday season – Elf on a Shelf, Jack Frost, Scrooge, The Grinch and even Santa himself.
  • Where: The Improv Centre – 1502 Duranleau Street, Vancouver
  • When: November 23 to December 23, various showtimes
  • Tickets: $10-$29.50, online

Holy Mo! A Christmas Show!

  • What: A reverently irreverent re-imagining of the Nativity told with gusto and a questionable commitment to accuracy by Pacific Theatre’s three favourite fools.
  • Where: Pacific Theatre – 1440 West 12 Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: December 2 to December 31
  • Tickets: $23.95 to $34.95 online

Rogue Cop: Explosive Holiday Improv

  • What: Rogue Cop pays homage to Die Hard, A Christmas Carol, and your favourite holiday flicks with fewer toys and more explosions. When a Rogue Cop comes home for the holidays, you don’t want to be on the naughty list.
  • Where: Havana Theatre – 1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
  • When: December 15 to December 17, 8 pm
  • Tickets: $10 on Eventbrite

A Christmas Carol in Gay Apparel

  • What: A Christmas Carol in Gay Apparel is an original comedy that parodies the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol.
  • Where: The Cultch Lab – 1895 Venables Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 6 to December 11, Monday to Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 2 pm
  • Tickets: $23 online

Graham Clark Still Hates Christmas

  • What: Comedian Graham Clark Still Hates Christmas, the whole Christmas season. Now please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason! Join him and friends as they scowl at all things Yuletide.
  • Where: Hot Art Wet City – 220 Main Street, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, December 16, 8 to 10 pm
  • Tickets: $7 on Eventbrite, $10 at the door


East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood

  • What: Here she comes! Little Red Riding Hood is bombing down the Adanac bike lane to deliver a basket of goodies to her sweet little granny. Easy, right? Not in the East Van Panto where everything gets real wacky, real fast! Cheer Little Red along as she battles everything from bike thieves to distracted drivers to The Big Bad Wolf. And what the heck are Three Little Pigs doing here?!
  • Where: York Theatre – 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
  • When: November 25 to December 31 at various times
  • Tickets: Online, $9.52-$53.33

Hansel and Gretel

Vancouver Opera: Hansel & Gretel

Vancouver Opera: Hansel & Gretel

  • What: Hansel and Gretel is a beloved holiday tradition featuring astonishing puppets in this classic opera fairy-tale. Engelbert Humperdinck’s dramatic score will thrill seasoned opera-goers and charm new audiences with familiar tunes that beautifully evoke the forest setting and the opera’s colourful characters and creatures.
  • Where: Vancouver Playhouse – 600 Hamilton Street at Dunsmuir, Vancouver
  • When: December 1, 3, 8, 10 at 7:30pm, December 11 at 2 pm, December 7 at 12:30 pm
  • Tickets: Available online, $50-$99

The Day Before Christmas

  • What: Alex is a perfectionist who is desperately holding fast to her Christmas traditions. While juggling family and work—and a movie star—she loses control of her holiday plans, and her home becomes a disaster zone. Can she save the turkey from the dog and salvage a broken-down tree? Find out in this infectious comedy that is sure to make the holidays bright.
  • Where: Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre – 203 – 162 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: Now until December 24, performance times vary
  • Tickets: Available online, $74

Bah! Humbug!

  • What: “An Eastside musical set on Coast Salish Territories” – that’s what SFU Woodward’s Bah! Humbug! production is described as. Starring Jim Byrnes as Ebenezer Scrooge, the play will weave current issues of the Downtown Eastside into Charles Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol. “A modern-day, sushi-loving Ebenezer Scrooge owns a pawn shop on Vancouver’s Hastings Street, where he is timing Bob Cratchit’s late arrival to work on his iPhone.”
  • Where: Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts – 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • When: Various dates from December 8 through December 17, times vary
  • Tickets: Available online, $29 for adults, $15 for students

Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker

  • What: Experience the journey of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker as they battle the evil Mouse King and his army of mischievous mice. The scenery will become larger than life as sparkling snowflakes and a glittering Christmas tree fill the stage.
  • Where: The Centre in Vancouver – 777 Homer Street, Vancouver
  • When: Thursday, December 15 to Tuesday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m., matinees also available
  • Tickets: On Ticketmaster, $28-$91.50

Ballet BC’s The Nutcracker

  • What: Ballet BC’s annual production of The Nutcracker, this time starring the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. This heart-warming ballet is full of surprises, including traditional Canadian scenes such as a snowy pond hockey game and a battle on Parliament Hill.
  • Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 649 Cambie Street, Vancouver
  • When: Thursday, December 8 to Sunday, December 11, at 7:30 pm, matinees also available
  • Tickets: On Ticketmaster, $26.25-$91.25

Winter’s Dance Robson

  • What: A 15-minute version of The Nutcracker on Robson Street style, as organized by The Robson Street Business Association, My Loud Speaker, and Small Stage. The performance will be displayed on huge screens for everyone to enjoy,
  • Where: Robson Street between Burrard and Bute, Vancouver
  • When: December 10, from 6 to 9 pm, performance is repeated throughout the evening
  • Admission: Free

Meet Santa



Santa Claus is officially in Vancouver. He is making appearances all around the city and now is your chance to tell him why you should be on his nice list.

Park Royal South

  • Where: Park Royal South Centre Court  – 2002 Park Royal South, West Vancouver
  • When: Now until December 24; Santa’s hours vary, check the schedule below.
  • Admission: $14 to $43 for photo packages

Metropolis of Metrotown

  • Where: Metropolis at Metrotown, Grand Court (lower level) – 4720 Kingsway, Burnaby
  • When: Now until December 24:
    • Monday to Saturday: 11 am to 1 pm/ 2 pm to 5 pm/ 6 pm to 8pm.
    • Sunday: 11 am to 1 pm/ 2 pm to 5 pm/ 6 pm to 8 pm
  • Admission: Photos with Santa are by donation per photo. Minimum suggested donations is $2 per photo.

Oakridge Centre

  • Where: Oakridge Centre, West Galleria – 1496 Cartwright Street, Vancouver
  • When: Now until December 24, times vary, check online for details
  • Admission: $14 to $43 for photo packages

Kids Market at Granville Island

  • Where: Kids Market at Granville Island – 1496 Cartwright Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 3 until December 24, from 11 am to 3:30 pm, daily
  • Admission: Totally free!

Get a Christmas tree

christmas tree toronto

Christmas Tree/ Shutterstock

Out with the fake, in with the real. This holiday season why not put those presents under a freshly cut real tree?

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lot 

  • Where: St. Stephen’s United Church at 54th and Granville Street, Vancouver
  • When: November 25 to December 21, seven days a week from 10 am to 9 pm

North Vancouver Christmas Tree Lot 

  • Where: Lonsdale Quay – East Plaza 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
  • When: November 25 to December 21, Monday to Thursday from 1 to 8 pm, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm

Lord Byng Christmas Tree Lot

  • Where: Lord Byng High School parking lot at 3939 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver
  • When: December 2 to 15, Monday to Friday from 12:30 to 8 pm. Weekends from 10 am to 8 pm

Other Stuff

Natural DIY Holiday Gifts Workshop

  • What: The holidays are fast approaching and what better way to spend an afternoon than making beautiful, natural DIY gifts! You will walk away not only with the tools and instructions of how to make natural home and body care products but you will take 3 gifts home, all handmade made by you.
  • Where: L’Atelier Vancouver Coworking – #400-319 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 11, from 1 to 3 pm
  • Tickets: $40 to $45 on Eventbrite

Snowflakes and Mistletoe

Man and woman kissing (vgstudio/Shutterstock)

Man and woman kissing (vgstudio/Shutterstock)

  • What: Dashing Date is hosting this special holiday singles mixer for Vancouver singles aged between 35 and 50, who want to enjoy a festive evening of romance or make new connections. The night includes a free cocktail and an ice-breaker game.
  • Where: Hello Goodbye Bar – 1120 Hamilton St, Vancouver.
  • When: Wednesday, December 7, at 7:30 pm
  • Tickets: Available online, $25-$29; if you have questions, email [email protected]

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

  • What: They say it’s the “biggest, wildest, sweateriest bash of the season”, and the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party is now an annual tradition in Vancouver. Live music, a DJ, a sing-along and costume prizes for ugliest sweater, best moustache and more. Oh yeah, there will also be milk and cookies… all in the name of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
  • Where: The Commodore Ballroom – 868 Granville Street, Vancouver
  • When: Friday, December 23 at 8 pm
  • Tickets: On Ticketmaster, $35

Need somewhere to buy your ugly Christmas sweater? Here’s a list of places to find a bargain: Where to buy an ugly Christmas sweater in Vancouver

Christmas at FlyOver Canada

  • What: FlyOver Canada will transform into a magical winter wonderland this Christmas season. Guests will have fun helping Santa Claus search for his missing elves during an exhilarating flight across Canada and on to the North Pole. The complete experience will last between 20 – 25 minutes and include an extended holiday edition of FlyOver Canada that leads guests on to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole.
  • Where: 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
  • When: Daily 10 am to 9 pm
  • Tickets: $21.95 for adults, or $18.95 for students, plus discounts for booking online

Christmas Carols and Story Time with Elsa & Anna

  • What: Back by popular demand, the snow princesses are visiting the Market just in time for Christmas. Elsa and Anna have brought along their favourite Christmas story and they would like you to join in and sing Christmas Carols with them.
  • Where: Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
  • When: Sunday, December 18, from 10:30 to 11:30 am
  • Admission: Free with online registration

Friends of the VPL: Christmas Used Book Sale

  • What: Looking for a special gift for someone on your holiday shopping list? Find thousands of gently used children’s and adult books, DVDs, CDs and more – all at bargain prices.
  • Where: Vancouver Public Library Central Branch – 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 1 to December 3, from 10 am to 5 pm daily
  • Admission: Free

Karaoke Christmas Lights Trolley Tour

  • What: Head out to VanDusen Garden’s Festival of Lights and Bright Nights at Stanley Park aboard the historical Vancouver Trolley Company’s fleet, all while singing Christmas carols along the way. Trolleys will be decked out with karaoke machines, but unfortunately no liquid courage to get the vocal chords ready.
  • Where: Trips depart from Canada Place – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
  • When: December 1 to December 29, at 6:30 pm every evening, except Christmas Day
  • Tickets: Available online, $40

Ice Skating at Robson Square

  • What: The rink at Robson Square is operated seasonally by the provincial government when the temperatures begin to dip, running from morning into the late evening hours. Skaters can skate for free if they bring their own skates while those without skates can rent a pair on-site. There is also a concession stand serving snacks and warm drinks.
  • Where: 800 Robson Street, Vancouver (at Robson & Howe)
  • When: December 1 until February 14, 2017; times vary
  • Admission: Free for all ages, if you bring your own skates. Skate rentals are $4, and rentals end 30 minutes before closing time.

Holidays at the Aquarium

  • What: Scuba Claus is back in town for another underwater adventure at the Vancouver Aquarium. Scuba Claus will be making special trips to deliver gifts to the most deserving creatures in the sea while entertaining guests on the other side of the glass. Once that’s done, families can catch a showing of the Polar Express in 4-D.
  • Where: Vancouver Aquarium – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
  • When: Throughout December
  • Tickets: $36 for adults, $27 for students, available online

Gingerbread Lane

  • What: The sweetest lane in the city celebrates its annual return to the lobby of Hyatt Regency Vancouver. Executive Chef Jeff Szombaty and the engineering team are hard at work constructing this year’s stunning gingerbread house, built to serve as the centrepiece for more than 30 gingerbread creations designed by secondary schools, professionals and amateur culinary artists.
  • Where: Hyatt Regency – 655 Burrard Street, Vancouver
  • When: December 2 – December 28
  • Admission: Totally free

Volunteer your time

As the old saying goes, ’tis better to give than to receive; opportunities to give back to your community through holiday volunteering are abundant.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Food bank donations (Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

Food bank donations (Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

If you are outgoing, energetic, enjoy interacting with crowds and have basic cash or credit handling skills, this is the right volunteering opportunity for you. The minimum age requirement is 16 years old and shifts vary depending on event (although they are typically from 4 to 6 hours long)

To find out more and apply to help the food bank, check here: foodbank.bc.ca/get-involved/volunteer.

Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau

The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB) was originally established in 1930 as the Christmas Exchange. Today it serves as a centralized, year-round toy warehouse for toys to be gathered, sorted, stored and shipped to Christmas Bureaus and community agencies, across the entire Metro Vancouver area.

As a registered non-profit organization, the Bureau relies on volunteers and a number of fundraising events throughout the year. They are continuously accepting applications from anyone looking to help out, from Monday to Friday, and they hold seasonal events that need volunteers too. To find out more check: lmcb.ca/volunteer

The Salvation Army

Person makes donation to The Salvation Army's Annual Christmas Kettle Campaign

Person makes donation to The Salvation Army’s Annual Christmas Kettle Campaign

For more than 130 years, The Salvation Army has assisting vulnerable people in communities across Canada; last year, they helped more than 1.8 million people. Their annual Christmas Kettle campaign always needs volunteers to collect donations outside many of Vancouver’s busy shops and services. Other volunteer opportunities include store support, packing food hampers, and assisting seniors. For more info, check: salvationarmy.ca

AIDS Vancouver

AIDS Vancouver opened its doors in 1983, as the first AIDS service organization in Canada and in response to the growing need for community health organizations to support vulnerable individuals. Today, more than 7,000 people from all over the world are annually accessing some form of service provided by AIDS Vancouver. From grocery deliver to their helpline, there are a number of ways to get involved. Check here to find out more: http://www.aidsvancouver.org/volunteer.

Union Gospel Mission

The UGM provides food and shelter to those in need in Vancouver, and at this time of year, offers much needed Christmas meals as well as extreme weather accommodation.

You can find out more about volunteering with them, to serve up dinner or help in their thrift store, fundraising, outreach projects, at ugm.ca/take-action/volunteer.

Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver

Image: Jenn Chan / New Year's Eve Vancouver

Image: Jenn Chan / New Year’s Eve Vancouver

Help Vancouver celebrate New Year’s Eve and register as a volunteer. A number of positions need to be filled, including:

  • Guest Experience – Ticket taking, wayfinding
  • Traffic Marshals
  • Set up crew
  • Games Attendees
  • Talent Runners
  • Production Team Assistants

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and commit to volunteering past midnight.

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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