Here are the Best Ways to Cherish and Celebrate Christmas in BC
It’s finally back! The most magical time of year is upon us again. This season—though bright—is incredibly brief. Before you know it, the new year will already be here. So this is your sign to make the most of the holiday festivities in Vancouver this month!
We have lots of fun and meaningful ideas on how you can celebrate Christmas in Vancouver this holiday season. After all, the spirit of the season is kindness. Christmas is a time of giving and generosity, a time of community and cheer. It’s also an important time to come together with your family and loved ones.
We encourage you to embrace all that the holidays entail with these festive, meaningful Christmas activities. Read on for 8 fun and meaningful ways to enjoy the holiday season in Metro Vancouver.
1. Attend a free Christmas event
Christmas is a magical but also an expensive time of year. Especially with the record-breaking inflation that is hitting all of us hard, the added costs of the holiday season can feel all too overwhelming for anyone. But thankfully, there are several fun and festive Christmas events in Vancouver that you can attend with your family and friends.
Here are some of the free events in Metro Vancouver for the 2022 holiday season:
- Lights at Lafarge
- Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum
- Bright Nights at Stanley Park (entrance by donation)
- Glow Maple Ridge
These events are not only free and family-friendly, but transit accessible as well!
2. Give back to the community by starting a holiday fundraiser
Embrace the giving spirit of the season by giving back to people who need support this Christmas by coming together with your community to raise funds to help provide hot meals, safe shelter and warm clothing. Start a #ShareChristmas online fundraiser campaign with UGM this holiday season to help our neighbours stay safe and warm during this cold winter season.
“UGM helped someone close to me and I am forever grateful and this is why I am choosing to start this fundraiser. UGM is an incredible organization that helps many people who are experiencing homelessness and are struggling with addiction.” - @kathleengerms, influencer and past #ShareChristmas champion
Give back this season, by sharing the holiday spirit with your neighbours. It’s so easy to start an online campaign with us. You even unlock bonus gifts when you hit donation milestones!
3. Take Christmas photos with the holiday light displays
Another free but fun Christmas activity in Vancouver? Visiting the free light displays and taking photos with your loved ones! After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words. Taking cute photos together that you and your family can look back on together is definitely not something you’ll regret. While the city’s twinkling with Christmas lights, why not capture the magic in a timeless photo?
Here are some free Christmas light displays in Metro Vancouver:
- Christmas at Canada Place
- Lights of Hope at St. Paul’s Hospital
- Dundarave Festival of Lights
- The Christmas Light Dome outside Nordstrom Pacific Centre, downtown Vancouver
- Burnaby Holiday Light Displays
- Vancouver Christmas Tree at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square
4. Find the perfect Christmas gift and give back to the community while shopping
Is guilt-free shopping even a real thing? It is at Found Boutique, one of UGM’s social enterprises. When you shop at Found, you support local businesses and give back to your community with every purchase—all revenue goes back to UGM programs which help end poverty, homelessness and addiction in Metro Vancouver. Look good, do good, and feel good when you shop here.
This is the perfect place to do all your Christmas shopping, while giving back to the community at the same time. From home decor, accessories, skincare, clothing for all genders and more from local artisans—there’s sure to be a gift for every person in your life. You can visit our store in-person at 641 Columbia Street, New Westminster or shop online on our website.
5. Volunteer and give back to your community
Volunteering not only has a positive impact on other people in your community, but also to yourself: studies have shown that volunteering can help improve your self-esteem, reduce your stress, increase your problem-solving abilities and more. Not only this, but you’ll also grow your skills, meet new people in your community and maybe even make life-long friendships! We’ve seen this happen time and time again here at Union Gospel Mission.
If you’d like to try volunteering and help end homelessness, poverty and addiction in your community, visit our website or check out Go Volunteer and learn all the different ways you can volunteer: whether it’s in our kitchen, with our Thrift Store or more.
6. Participate in a Christmas event with your loved ones
There’s no shortage of festive, fun events in Metro Vancouver this holiday season! Have a holly, jolly time at these magical Christmas events (note that these are paid—for free events, scroll right back up):
- Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden
- FlyOver Canada’s Soar With Santa Film
- Christmas Glow in Langley
- Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
- Vancouver Christmas Market
7. Support families in your community that are in need
We’re always inspired by the strength and resilience of families in our community, but at Christmas, the financial stress can be crippling—especially since many are struggling with the harsh impact of record-breaking inflation. You can spark Christmas joy for families this holiday season by donating to our Gifts of Hope program!
When you stock our Christmas Hamper Store, you help ignite the joys of the season for families in need of support. Our Christmas Hamper Store is a place where parents can shop for free a few weeks before Christmas. Each family accesses food gift cards, a gift per person (and especially for the children), winter gear per person, a hygiene kit, and some household necessities, all packaged up in a tote bin. Volunteers offer to wrap the gifts, and provide parents a ride home if they’d like. This all adds together for a dignifying and memorable holiday shopping experience.
Fill up the Christmas Hamper Store and make the season bright for our community through our Gifts of Hope program! The deadline is December 16.
8. Go ice skating for free
Wanting to experience the frosty weather of the season through an outdoor activity? Go ice skating! It’s a classic Christmas activity that always brings out the festive vibes of the holidays.
There are free ice skating rinks around the city, like the Robson Square Ice Rink in downtown Vancouver and the Skate Plaza at The Shipyards in North Vancouver. Note that while skating admission is free, if you don’t have your own skates and do need to rent, you’ll need to pay a small rental fee: $5 at the Robson Square Ice Rink and $5 for kids and $7 for adults at the Skate Plaza at The Shipyards.
We hope you make merry and bright memories with your loved ones this Christmas. Make it a December to remember. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our UGM family to yours!
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