Free Vancouver Holiday Events – 5 Free Things to Do This December

Photo credit: FernShade

With just one week to go until Christmas, Vancouver’s biggest holiday attractions and shows are in full swing. It’s also likely at this point that you’ve already spent the majority of your holiday budget. Here’s a list of 5 free holiday events and activities that will make your season brighter, without having an impact on your credit card statement.

5 Free Holiday Events

1. Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival, through January 6
All neighbourhoods have a little glitter but Trinity Street goes all out. Their annual festival of lights blazes from the 2400 block to the 2900 block with residents competing for the most holiday cheer. Learn more from their Facebook page.

2. Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum, through January 4
The open-air Burnaby Village Museum – where the 1920s come to life – is decked out in a dazzling Christmas lights. Take in traditional sights, sounds and tastes of Christmas past with the family: shimmering Winter Wonderland at the Love Farmhouse, Angel Bridge Crossing, Holiday Lane and a whopper of a Christmas tree by the vintage carousel. There’s also story book scenes, scavenger hunts, and a special seasonal display by the Miniature Club of BC. Carousel rides cost money, but you only have to pony up $2.30. Continue reading:
Free Vancouver Holiday Events – 5 Free Things to Do This December

Free Christmas Fun: Vancouver Tree Lighting Celebration, Nov. 29

Photo: Flickr | nadeel2011

One of the top free Christmas events in Vancouver is the annual lighting of the 50-ft.-tall, Rockefeller-style Christmas tree in Jack Poole Plaza at the harbourfront Vancouver Convention Centre.

“How often has the Christmas tree afforded me the greatest glee?” asks the classic holiday carol O Christmas Tree (known in Deutsch as O Tannenbaum). I’d have to concur on the topic of all those “lovely branches.” Seeing a soaring evergreen tower illuminated with tiny, twinkly lights is heart-melting holiday goodness right up there with watching Home Alone as an adult.

The annual tree lighting ceremony takes place Nov. 29, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. This is the sixth year Amacon real estate developers have sponsored the event. At this point, it’s safe to say this is a special Vancouver holiday tradition. Continue reading:
Free Christmas Fun: Vancouver Tree Lighting Celebration, Nov. 29

Free Vancouver Holiday Events – 5 Free Things to Do in Vancouver this December

Private homes on Vancouver's Trinity Street create a free holiday spectacle with their exuberant Christmas decor.

There are just ten more days to Christmas 2011 (December 25) and Vancouver’s biggest Christmas and Holiday attractions are already in full swing. But what about free things to do between now and the end of December? Yes, there’s the free ice skating at Robson Square (which runs through February 2012), but there are also five fun, free events happening around Vancouver that will get you in the seasonal spirit without touching your wallet.

5 Free Things to Do in Vancouver in December
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Free Vancouver Holiday Events – 5 Free Things to Do in Vancouver this December

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at Vancouver's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Photo: Secret Lantern Society

Among the many holiday celebrations happening in Vancouver this December, there is one event that stands out from the rest: the 18th annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival on December 21, 2011.

Rooted in the primal celebration of nature’s rhythms, rather than any specific religion, the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival commemorates the longest night of the year—the winter solstice—and honours the return of the sun with lantern processions, drumming, music, and fire.

Organized by the Secret Lantern Society, this free festival takes place on the same day—December 21—in five different Vancouver neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive, Yaletown, Granville Island, S.E. False Creek, and Chinatown.

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Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – December 21, 2011

Vancouver Tree Lighting Ceremony – December 9, 2011

Vancouver's 50-foot Christmas Tree moves to the Jack Poole Plaza for 2011. Photo: Amacon

One of the top Christmas Events in Vancouver—and one of the best free Vancouver Christmas events—is the relatively new (2011 is its fifth year) tradition of lighting a huge, 50-foot-tall, Rockefeller-style Christmas tree in the heart of downtown Vancouver. For the last four years, the tree was in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery; this year, it will be at the Jack Poole Plaza at the Vancouver Convention Centre (where the Olympic Cauldron is).

Called the Vancouver Tree Lighting, the ceremony and free party to light the huge Christmas tree has fun for all ages, with live performances from the acapella group Aliqua, the Vancouver’s Children’s Choir, and Christmas soloists, plus special guest appearances by the BC Lions, the Felions and Bro Jake from Rock 101, and, of course, Santa Claus.

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Vancouver Tree Lighting Ceremony – December 9, 2011

Pan Pacific Vancouver Christmas Wish Breakfast 2011 This Wednesday, December 7

Thousands bring donated toys to the annual Pan Pacific Vancouver Christmas Wish Breakfast.

Get ready to bring joy to a child in need and leave with a very full belly: it’s time for the annual Pan Pacific Vancouver Christmas Wish Breakfast, the largest toy fundraiser in the Lower Mainland.

Now in its 24th year, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Christmas Wish Breakfast is an epic toy drive that attracts thousands. On December 7, between 6am – 9am, guests bring an unwrapped toy or cash donation to the Pan Pacific Vancouver and receive a free festive breakfast, courtesy of the luxury hotel’s acclaimed Cafe Pacifica Restaurant.  Last year, the event collected 26,000 toys and over $25,000 cash from 5,000 visitors, all benefiting the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau, an organization that helps make Christmas special for families in need.

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Pan Pacific Vancouver Christmas Wish Breakfast 2011 This Wednesday, December 7

Rogers Santa Claus Parade 2011 This Sunday, December 4

Photo: Rogers Santa Claus Parade

Vancouver’s Christmas and winter holiday season gets its official kick-off this weekend with one of the city’s best and biggest Christmas events: the 8th annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, December 4, 2011.

Back with a new route through downtown Vancouver (route details below), the annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade is a fabulous free event for all ages. Not only will the 300,000+ spectators enjoy a host of marching bands, Christmas dancers, elaborate floats, and—of course—an appearance by Santa himself, there are free festivities at the Coast Capital Christmas Square, too, including kids’ activities and live music on the outdoor entertainment stage.

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Rogers Santa Claus Parade 2011 This Sunday, December 4