Looking for some holiday events in Metro Vancouver that make your spirits bright while keeping your wallet happy?
The Christmas season can be an exciting time for both kids and adults, but the pressure to make it “perfect” can be a major stressor. Since much of what happens during the holidays is costly, here are some local holiday events to enjoy that cost little or no money.
Bright Nights in Stanley Park
Until January 6
A great light display that is open to all and is by donation, with money going to the Burn Fund. With some luck, we may even get some snow to add to the spectacle. There’s also a train that takes you through the wonderland, but you have to buy tickets. To keep your costs low for the train, try afternoon matinees when the price is significantly less.
Skate at Robson Square
Until February 14
You can take in free skating at Robson Square during the holidays. Bring your own or rent skates for a small charge. There is also live music some days throughout the season.
Until December 24
A German-style Christmas market with crafts, exhibits and music. It does cost to attend, but you can usually find discount tickets online. Or you can volunteer for free admission and food.
30th Annual Christmas at Canada Place
Until December 31
This free outdoor event includes the nostalgic tradition of the Woodward’s Windows, a magical holiday lighting display, the Sails of Light and the festive Avenue of Christmas Trees.
Christmas Gingerbread Lane
Until December 29
This is a free exhibit of elaborate Christmas gingerbread houses by different cooking schools, restaurants and public schools. Free to attend, but donations benefit the Make a Wish Foundation.
The Festival of Chanukah
Celebrate with the lighting of Canada’s tallest candelabra (Menorah). Live music, free refreshments and a gelt drop at the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza.
The Singing Christmas Tree
Festive performance with 100+ voice choir, ensembles, orchestra, actors, dancers and acrobats. Free tickets on a first come, first serve basis after November 12.
Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum
Until January 5
Festivities include theatre performances, choirs, street characters and musicians, along with crafts, baking in the farmhouse and visits with Father Christmas. Free admission.
Lights at Lafarge
Until January 21
Billed as the largest free outdoor lights display in the Lower Mainland, Lafarge Park offers another bright lights option for free!
A Fort Langley Christmas
December 22-23 and 27-30
Listen to Kwantlen stories, enjoy chestnuts roasted over the fire, or make a beautiful cedar ornament. Guided tours at 11 am or 3 pm, and daily features at noon. There’s a huge outdoor Christmas tree for selfies or family photos at various scenic spots. Complimentary admission for Canada 150, but you’re encouraged to make a donations for the Langley Food Bank.
Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows & Tri-Cities
CP Holiday Train
CP rail cars are decorated for the holidays, touring across Canada to raise food and cash for local food banks. Concerts by Alan Doyle (of Great Big Sea) and The Beautiful Band are also on offer. The Holiday Train also concludes CP’s Canada 150 celebrations. Free.
December 15 and 22
This free festival hosts a display of over 150,000 lights on over 3 acres and includes live entertainment, face painting and hot chocolate.
Songs in the Snow
Enjoy free music along with refreshments and craft making. Come with a blanket or cash donation to the Steveston Museum’s Town Square Park.
Entries in a gingerbread house contest will be on display at this new event presented by the Downtown Surrey BIA, which encourages everyone in the community to build their own gingerbread creation, whether it’s a house, school, playground, or even an iconic Surrey building. Donations collected for the Surrey Christmas Bureau.
20th Annual Winter Ice Palace
December 22 to January 7
Experience a winter wonderland at Cloverdale Arena and skate across the old fashion pond. Admission is $4.50, plus skate rentals are available.
Dundarave Festival of Lights
Until January 5
Beautiful Christmas tree display, plus free concerts are held on Saturdays throughout December.
There are sleigh loads of Clark Griswold’s throughout the Metro Vancouver who have turned their humble abode into a holiday wonderland. Check out who has gone all out with a display of lights in your neighbourhood and plan a walk with friends and family.