Christmas in Vancouver – The Inside Edition

When the cold (or wet) of Metro Vancouver’s Christmas season gets a little too much, it might be time to head indoors for a restorative warm-up. Luckily, there are dozens of undercover festive-season happenings to check out in and around the city – so long as you know where to go.

Home for the holidays

The West End’s beloved Roedde House heritage mansion will be fully gussied up for the Christmas period, its antique-studded rooms decorated in sparkling old-fashioned festive finery. For added Yuletide fun, book ahead for a live music performance – classical on December 10 or jazz on December 14.

An even more legendary home is part of the appeal at FlyOver Canada, inside Canada Place. The popular simulator ride’s holiday edition takes travellers on a big-screen glide over the country – complete with mischievous elves and a breathtaking visit to the glittering North Pole residence of the great man himself.

Festive movies

FlyOver isn’t the only screen worth cozying up to in December, though. Cineplex Odeon International Village is showing Elf, The Polar Express 3D and this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special – plus the new Dickens-themed movie The Man Who Invented Christmas. And if you fancy a festive late-nighter, the Rio Theatre is also offering a near-midnight showing of Edward Scissorhands on December 15.

Bloedel Conservatory

Deep heat

But if your thermals just aren’t working and a quick Hawaii vacation isn’t in the cards, make a Christmastime beeline for Vancouver’s indoor tropical paradise. Like a balmy version of a walk-in snow globe, climate-controlled Bloedel Conservatory is the year-round home of palm trees and neon-hued birds. But over Christmas, festive illuminations are added to the verdant foliage. This year, the shimmering lights will be flicked on from December 15 to January 7.

Indoor markets

Metro Vancouver is also crammed like a bauble-covered Christmas tree with festive markets to shelter you while you shop. Consider these upcoming artisan-stuffed recommendations: the Make It! Holiday Show at the PNE Forum; North Vancouver’s Fall For Local Holiday Market; East Van’s Got Craft? Holiday Edition; and – if you still have some stubborn holdouts on your pressie list – the late-breaking December 16 and 17 Weirdos Holiday Market. Alternatively, craft your own Christmas stocking at a December Spool of Thread sewing class.

Holiday hotels

Maintain the self-made Christmas approach at the Westin Bayshore, which is hosting a tasty-looking December 19 holiday baking class. The event includes gourmet snacks to nibble on but if you don’t feel like heading back outside afterwards, stay for cocktails and dinner at the hotel’s new HJU:Z Lounge.

Other Vancouver hotels will also be luring locals from the chilly streets. Don’t miss the Hyatt Regency’s Gingerbread Lane display of locally-made gingerbread houses. Then dash to the Four Seasons where dozens of cleverly decorated Christmas trees line two lobby floors. Still cold outside? The hotel’s Yew restaurant can keep you cozy with its creamy eggnog served in antler glasses.

Festive favourite

But the best way to immerse yourself in Vancouver’s Yuletide spirit without stepping outside is December 13’s beloved Christmas Wish Breakfast at the Pan Pacific. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to enjoy a buffet breakfast and an event crammed with carol choirs and live TV broadcasts. The huge mountain of gifts helps families in need throughout the Lower Mainland – which makes it the perfect way to warm your heart no matter what the weather is outside.

Guest blogger John Lee is the creator of, a comprehensive online guide festive happenings in and around the city. Profiling more than 75 Christmas events, shows and attractions, it was co-created with Max the cat — who writes the site’s gift reviews and often appears on its @MyVanChristmas Twitter feed.



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