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2016 Christmas Calendar

Blog by The Schacter Team | November 30th, 2016

December is almost upon us. I love this season for all that it has to offer. From fond childhood memories of tasty treats by the fire after a day playing in the snow, to the acts of kindness and service that flow from people as they are filled with the spirit of Christmas. Most importantly, it is a time to connect with loved ones and remember the most significant gifts we’ve been given; life and love.

In order to fully embrace the season, We’ve put together an advent calendar of events, activities and insight that I hope will make this year all that more special. Check back each day for a new task or activity and make the most out of this Christmas Season. This list has grown with each passing year so there are some dates with multiple event options and some events that can be done on any day you choose.

December 1st
Set The Tone
Today’s activity is simple, and yet, the most likely to be neglected. Take some time today to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. By this, I’m not referring to the obligation to brave the crowds at the mall in search of the ‘perfect’ gift that will likely be forgotten in a month. Rather than think of all of the things that you want (or want to buy for others) this year, think of all of the things that you’ve already got that you’re thankful for. Maybe even make a list of these things and dwell on it for a while. Set the tone today to keep the right focus and mindset for the next month and try not to get so wrapped up in the materialism and consumerism that you miss the joy and blessing of Christmas.
Here’s a video that I like to watch at the beginning of the season to keep my mind in the right place: Advent Conspiracy or another promo for an Alternate Gift Giving Strategy
Read or watch the nativity story (Matthew 1:18 - 2:12 & Luke 1:26 - 2:20). 

Christmas Tunes
If you haven’t done so already, dig out your favourite Christmas CDs & MP3s or listen online.  If you’re up for it, make your own Christmas compilation CD or playlist and share copies with friends. Top Christmas Tunes

December 2nd
Write Christmas Cards
Here is your chance to send a personal note to all of your friends and family.  Let them know that you appreciate their friendship and why they’re special to you.  If you want to go the extra mile, follow up with a phone call or connect in person to catch up.

Brookswood Village Night of Lights
Time: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Brookswood Plaza Mall
Enjoy free hot chocolate & cookies, take a picture with Santa Paw, listen to carol singers and gather around the tree for the official lighting.

December 3rd
Write A Letter To Santa
You may think you’re too old to do this but I beg to differ. This is a great activity to do with children (if you have them) or on your own. I’m not suggesting you write a letter asking Santa for the coveted Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Rather, ask Santa for something a little more thoughtful, meaningful or even intangible.

Mail Santa here:
Santa Claus
North Pole H0H 0H0
*If you include a return address, Santa will reply to you! Canada Post

Breakfast With Santa
Time: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: Douglas Recreation Centre, 20550 Douglas Crescent
Cost: $10 - Children under 3 are free
All Ages breakfast with the jolly old Nick himself! Join us for some crafts, face painting, magic show and of course breakfast. The menu includes pancakes, sausage and bacon, juice, tea and coffee. To register, call 604-514-2865

Magic of Christmas Parade
Parade Starts at 6:00PM
Location: Fraser Highway – Parade starts at 56th Ave traveling eastbound to 207th Street
The first Saturday in December is the official date of the City of Langley’s annual Magic of Christmas Parade. The Parade Features over 50 entries consisting of festive floats, live music, decorated vehicles, dance troupes, and of course, Santa.

December 4th
Christmas Caroling
If you’re incredibly talented you can do this with a few song sheets and your voice. The rest of us will need a small boom-box with some mixed CDs. You can tour your own neighbourhood or bring your crew on the road. You would also be warmly received at most seniors care facilities (with prior notice of your visit).

Home for Christmas
Dates & Times: December 2nd 7:00 PM / December 3rd 7:00PM / December 4th 6:00PM
Location: CLA Church 21277 56 Ave
Follow a family through four decades, as they rediscover what Christmas truly means.

Surrey’s Santa Parade Of Lights
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Cloverdale Town Centre
TWO PARADES IN ONE! 2016 marks the 11th anniversary of Surrey’s Santa Parade of Lights through Cloverdale! The traditional parade with floats, marching bands, antique vehicles and horses will be joined by an amazing lighted Truck Parade. Based on the phenomenal success last year, the parade organizers are striving to have even more lighted-entries at this year’s parade. Everyone is encouraged to bring either a non-perishable food item or a children’s toy that will get picked up by one of the members of the Surrey Food Bank and the Surrey Christmas Bureau.

The Surrey Santa Parade starts at 5pm precisely at the corner of 176A St and 60th Avenue and heads east to 177B Street by Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino (soon to be called Elements Casino). The parade will start at 5pm and heads south to 58 Ave and turns west to the historic downtown Cloverdale & 176 St. On the final leg of the parade, it heads south to Highway #10 ending at at Holland Park.

December 5th
Christmas Portrait
Grab a friend, family member or pet, dig out your best sweater vest or reindeer ears and take a Christmas photo. It’ll be Facebook profile pic worthy I’m sure. That or use it as your holiday Twitter avatar.

Passport To Christmas
Passport to Christmas has returned for another year – this time bigger and better! The Passport to Christmas guides you around Abbotsford to unique boutiques, one-of-a-kind shops, and fertile farms. At each stop, make sure you get your passport stamped, bringing you one step closer for a chance to WIN 1 of 2 PRIZES!

December 6th
Set Up Your Christmas Tree
Whether this means digging through your storage room, trekking into the wilderness with a saw, or stopping by our office Christmas Tree Party, today is a great day to get your tree set up and decorated.

Red Door Farm Market
Every Saturday of December
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Red Door Farm is a small, family-run Christmas tree farm featuring a vintage cottage.

Park near the garden and walk by the old ’29 truck resting amongst the trees. At Christmas, stop by the greenhouse for a selection of fresh evergreen wreaths, boughs, holly sprigs and small potted trees. Nothing compares to the fresh scent and individual charm of a real and naturally grown Christmas tree. Experience the quiet side of Christmas here at Red Door Farm. Cash only, please.

December 7th
Arts & Crafts Day
Head to your local craft store or see what you can find around the house. Whip up some festive tree ornaments, garland, or a wreath. Decorate your own home or give your artistic creations away as gifts. Find some great ideas here and here.

December 8th
Random Act of Service/Pay It Forward
Today is the day to perform an unbridled act of selfless service. This can be anything from shoveling your neighbours driveway (if there is snow), or putting up lights and decorations for an elderly neighbour, to visiting a nursing home, serving at a food bank or soup kitchen, or handing out warm clothes and food to the homeless. Let someone else know that they are cared for today and you’ll be surprised how much you in turn benefit from the act.

December 9th
Visit Santa
If you can manage to do this without entering a shopping mall, do so. Otherwise, this is where you’ll find the old man dressed in red. If you have a 4 legged friend, take him or her to participating pet stores to have a picture with jolly ol’ Saint Nicholas.

Photos with Santa
Get your family photo with Santa at Willowbrook Shopping Centre this holiday season! Photos with Santa are offered November 15 to December 24. Visit shopwillowbrook.com for Santa’s hours and information about Santa’s FastPass.

Murrayville Holiday Market
December 9 4:00pm-9:00pm
December 10 11:00am-8pm
Location: 21667 48 Avenue
A fantastic Christmas Craft fair awaits at the Murrayville Hall. Admission is FREE and there will be more than 40 vendors in attendance.

December 10th
Christmas In Williams Park
Time: 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Dates: December 5th - 17th
Location: 238th Street & 68th Avenue
The annual Christmas in Williams Park in Langley is a FREE family and community event. View the spectacular show of lights as you drive or walk through the park. The entire event is put together by volunteers. Running for more than 2 decades, this event has become a beloved holiday tradition for many families.

Aldergrove’s Annual Christmas Light Up Parade
Time: Starts at 6:00 PM
Location: Downtown Aldergrove
Aldergrove’s Christmas Light Up Parade is an annual event held at 6:00 pm on the second Saturday of December. The parade route runs along Fraser Highway through downtown Aldergrove and includes carol singing and free hot chocolate. The Walter Levy trophy is presented to the Christmas home decorating contest winners.

December 11th
Pancake Breakfast with Santa
Time: 9:30 AM -11:30 AM
Location: Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery, 6179 248th Street
Cost: By donation towards Breast Cancer Resarch.
The annual pancake breakfast with Santa fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research in Memory of Liz Krause is one of Krause Berry Farm’s biggest events with face painting, a Lego master builder & Santa himself even stops in for the kids to have a visit with.

Christmas Wonderland: Port Kells Nursery
Dates: 3rd, 11th, 17th & 18th
Time: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: Port Kells Nursery, 18730 88th Avenue
Cost: Free
Christmas Wonderland at Port Kells Nurseries is filled with all kinds of surprises. The in-house experts have worked their magic and have created bold and beautiful displays filled to the brim with colour to entice and excite you, creating that perfect Christmas adventure. Every year new and exciting displays are created. We would ask if you could bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Surrey and Langley food banks. Info: 604-882-1344

Brunch With Santa
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Langley Golf & Banquet Centre
Cost: Adults:     $32.95     Seniors:     $26.95
         4-11yrs:   $19.95     3 & under:    $5.00
Enjoy a tantalizing Brunch Buffet and a visit with Santa. Every child receives a gift from Santa, be sure to bring your camera. For more info and to reserve: 604-534-4555 ext 3

Ice Skating
If you can find a place to do this outdoors you get bonus points. Otherwise, find out when your local ice area has open public skating, grab some hot chocolate and elbow pads and glide to your heart’s content.

Skate with Santa and Face Painting
December 10 2:15-4:15PM        December 17 2:15-4:15PM
December 11 1:00-3:00PM        December 18 1:00-3:00PM
Location: Sportsplex BC

December 12th
Enchant Vancouver | The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze
Time: 4:00 PM - 10:00PM
Date: November 25th - December 31st
Location: W 1st Ave & Crowe Street, Vancouver
Cost: Adults:     $19.95     Seniors:     $14.95
         6-15rs:    $14.95     Family:       $59.95
Enchant is the world’s largest Christmas Light Maze, made up of over 55,000 sqft of brilliantly illuminated sculptures arranged to create the perfect atmosphere for an evening adventure. Along with the maze, Enchant features a market with over 40 local vendors, 12 food trucks and a licensed eating area where guests can enjoy their favourite holiday drink. Eat, drink, explore and shop – experience the wonder of Enchant
this winter. Use Promo Code RMH2016 when you buy your tickets and Ronald
McDonald House BC and Yukon will receive a portion of proceeds!

Trees Of Hope
Date: November 21 - December 21
Location: Seven Oaks Shopping Center
Visit the Food Court from to view all of the wonderfully decorated
trees from our generous sponsors. Vote for your favourite tree and
enter to win a $100 Sevenoaks Gift Card.

December 13th
Act of Generosity
Research a charity that you would like to support or visit your local food bank or toy bureau and make a contribution to those less fortunate. If you know of a friend or family member who has come upon hard times, consider finding a way to slip them some cash or grocery gift cards anonymously.

December 14th
Christmas Movie Night
This is one of my favourites and will likely be spread over many additional nights. Here’s a list of the Top 20 Christmas Movies.

December 15th
Games Night
Have a group of friends over to play board or video games. If you want to take a more festive approach, arrange a token gift exchange game.

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden
Time: 4:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Date: December 1st - December 31st (closed December 25th)
Experience the Festival of Lights, a frozen winter wonderland with over one million lights decorating VanDusen Garden. Stroll with friends and family through themed areas and enjoy the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, the gnome performance, and the shadow puppet show. Have photos taken with Santa, savour holiday treats, and delight in much more!

December 16th
Christmas in the Village
Time: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Date: December 16th - 18th
Location: Fort Langley Community Hall, 9167 Glover Road
Special 3-day Christmas Farmers Market in the Village of Fort Langley. Themed after the Charles Dickens book, “A Christmas Carol” bring the family along and get the chance to win a Christmas Farmer’s Basket, featuring a turkey and all the trimmings of a family Christmas dinner.

December 17th
Winter Ice Palace
Time: View times here
Dates: December 17th - January 2nd
Location: Cloverdale Arena
Cost: $4.50     Skate Rental: $3.25     Helmet: $1.75
As is Christmas tradition, the Cloverdale Arena will be transformed into the Winter Ice Palace over the winter school break. 2016 marks the 19th year this popular event has been attracting families from all over the Lower Mainland. If you are looking for something to do either December 25th or January 1st, you are in luck as they are open both holiday days. Don’t worry if you forget your skates and helmets, rentals are available. Call 604.502.6410 for more information.

Christmas Train
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Last trains leaves the station at 3:45 - doors close at 3:45
Dates: December 9th - January 1st (closed December 25th)
Location: Bear Creek Park
Cost: $10.00 each + tax
Santa is at the station December 9th - 24th Bring your camera! Visit with Santa & receive a candy cane, Christmas Activity kit and Train ride through the Christmas forest.

December 18th
Snow Day
Embrace your inner child and brave the cold for some winter fun. Have a snowball fight, build a snowman, make some snow angels - just no face washing! If there is no snow in your area, take a trek up to a local ski hill like Cypress Mountain or Mount Seymour for some tobogganing or snowshoeing.
The Peak of Christmas
Dates: November 25th - January 2nd
Location: Grouse Mountain
Cost:    $89.95/Family of 4
See how magical elves have transformed Grouse Mountain into the North Pole where you can have breakfast with Santa, visit his workshop, meet real reindeer or vote for your favourite creation in our Gingerbread Village. This Christmas, believe again.

December 19th
Christmas Performance
Every playhouse, school, and church in town will be hosting a myriad of Christmas plays and performance.  Be sure to check out at least one this year. Vancouver Plays
Dates: December 15th - December 20th
Location: The Centre In Vancouver 777 Homer Street
Cost: $28.00 - $91.50
A Traditional Rendition of a Classical Masterpiece. Experience Clara’s dream come to life as she embarks on a magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets where she is greeted by the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy. An unforgettable adventure awaits as her gallant Nutcracker battles the evil Mouse King and his army of mischievous mice. This heart-warming production is sure to delight audiences of all ages with more than 200 glittering costumes, dramatic sets and valuable lessons – all danced to Tchaikovsky’s memorable score performed live by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

December 20th
Baking Night
Dig out the recipes for your famous Christmas Treats and make a mess of your kitchen. Your goodies will be ready just in time the share with loved ones on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We’ve found some great recipe ideas here: Food Network, Best Holiday Baking Recipes

December 21st
Heritage Holiday at the Fort
Time: 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Dates: December 17th - January 2nd (closed December 25th - 26th & January 1st)
Cost:     17yrs+:    $11.70        3-16yrs:    $6.30
Create magical memories in the old fashioned fort setting. Taste chestnuts by the open fireplace in the holiday workshop. Children will love the crafts and the Twelve Days of Heritage Holiday Scavenger hunt to earn a treat. All ages can craft a handwritten letter with pen and ink for a loved one, then relax with coffee or lunch at Ielem’ at the fort Café. Watch hourly barrel-making and blacksmithing demonstrations, and at 12pm and 2pm, laugh along with our holiday themed Fur Trade Wedding, where you might just find yourself as the bride or groom. And make sure to capture a picture of your group in costume at the holiday photo booth.

December 22nd
Donate Blood

For some people this holiday season, the best give you can give will be the gift of life.  Find a clinic near you at Canadian Blood Services.

Canyon Lights
Time: 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Dates: November 24th - January 8th (closed December 25th)
Location: Capilano Suspension Bridge
Cost: $85.00/Family of 4
Glittering lights, towering heights and festive nights – Canyon Lights returns for its 10th season! Park guests will be dazzled by the thousands of lights glittering throughout the rainforest, across the Suspension Bridge and on the cliffwalk. Go on a snowy old prowl, enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating and make your own Christmas card.

December 23rd
Connect With A Friend

Think of that person who you haven’t spoken with in a while but with whom the conversation resumes right where it last left off. Give them a call and take them for a coffee; anything with eggnog is highly recommended!

December 24th
Christmas Eve Service

If you don’t have a home Church, check your local papers for participating Churches in your neighbourhood.

Celebrate Christmas at Flyover Canada
Times: November 24 – December 16 10am – 9pm
           December 17 – January 2 9:30am – 10pm
           December 24th 9:30am – 6pm
Location: FlyOver Canada, 201 – 999 Canada Place
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. Some may even be able to catch the scent of Mrs. Claus’ baking as they swoop over her gingerbread factory! Watch our Christmas trailer for a sneak peak!

December 25th
Celebrate, Relax and Spend Time With Loved Ones.
Merry Christmas to you and yours from The Schacter Team!