Advent Activity Calendar (Christmas Events in and around Langley)
December is 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, 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, I’ve put together an advent calendar full of events, activities and insight that I hope will make this year all that more special. If you’re so inclined, 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. Events that are date specific will have the date highlighted in Green Text.
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 make a list of these things. 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
Read or watch the nativity story (Matthew 1:18 to Matthew 2:12 & Luke 1:26 to Luke 2:20).
Wine Country Christmas in Langley
December 1 - Celebrate the holiday spirit in wine country without leaving the city. Enjoy the festive season at our south Langley winery this December. Join us at our annual holiday celebration for a fun afternoon of wine tasting in our cozy new barrel cellar tasting room. We'll have fireside treats, special wine offerings, new releases and live Christmas music. Indulge in a glass of wine and delicious goodies while you find just the right gift for your wine enthusiast friends and family. 12pm-4pm at Township 7 Winery. In support of local charity.
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’re so inclined, follow up with a phone call to catch up.
The Vancouver Christmas Market
It runs November 22 to December 24th outdoors at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. Celebrating the rich and unique German culture with all who enter through the gates, the Vancouver Christmas Market is a showcase of traditional German crafts, delicious food, and entertainment for all ages.
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:
If you include a return address, Santa will reply to you!
If you haven’t done so already, dig out your favourite Christmas CDs & MP3s. If you’re up for it, make your own Christmas compilation CD or playlist and share copies with friends.
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.
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge
CLIFFWALK, the park’s latest attraction and a hit with guests since it opened in June, brings an exciting new holiday thrill during the winter chill. The narrow 700-foot cliff-side walkway, split into ascending and descending staircases and viewing platforms takes guests along the colour-washed cliff-face, through an enchanting light display high above the rushing waters of Capilano River. Holiday activities from 4 to 9 p.m.; Park is open from 11 a.m. 9 p.m. daily
*except Christmas Day when the park is closed
Random Act of Service
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 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.
Holiday Festival on Ice (Langley Events Centre)
Friday, December 6, 7:00pm LEC Facility - Arena Bowl
Ticket Prices range from $55.75 - $75.75 ($49.00 - $69.00 plus taxes and fees of $6.75)
An additional $69.00 gets you the Meet & Greet VIP Package which includes 1 seat, 2 Free Beverages and appetizers in the LEC Banquet Hall directly following the show.The Meet & Greet VIP Package also includes the opportunity to meet all of the skaters and singer Holly Cole who will be mingling and signing autographs.
Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.ca
Arts and 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 Christmas Wreath. Decorate your own home or give your artistic creations away as gifts.
Langley’s Pioneer Christmas
Explore Langley Centennial Museum's decorated galleries as a family while enjoying a variety of pioneer and traditional crafts. Along with a visit from jolly old Saint Nicholas there will be activities throughout the museum such as gingerbread cookie decorating, a colouring contest, and shopping in the general store!
Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm and 2:00pm - 4pm
Place: Langley Centennial Museum
9135 King Street
Cost: Family of 4/$5
Magic of Christmas Parade & Country Christmas Celebration
Saturday December 7th – 6 pm to 8 pm
Fraser Highway between 203 and 207 Streets
This festive Santa parade provides the community with a little magic and a ton of fun. Country Christmas follows the parade at the Douglas Recreation Centre with the Mayor of Langley City kicking off the “tree lighting” ceremony, and lots of entertainment and family activities.
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.
Santa Parade Of Lights
The best place to warm up your Christmas Spirit will be at the 8th Annual Surrey’s Santa Parade of Lights that now starts in the historic downtown of Cloverdale. This colourful parade features special guests from “Central City’s Santa’s Big Rigs for Kids”. The pre-parade festivities will include a variety of activities including music at Hawthorne Square which is located in the centre of the 5700 block of 176 St. by the Clova Cinema. After the parade there will be the traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony by the Square with a chance for children to meet and greet Santa Claus.
Sunday, December 8, 2013 from 5:00pm
Cloverdale Town Centre
http://www.cloverdalebia.com | 604-574-9802
Boughs, Bows and Bells
December 8 - The Langley Community Chorus invites everyone to join them as they present their 2013 Christmas Concert BOUGHS, BOWS and BELLS Afternoon Matinee 3:00pm Sunday Dec 8 at Sharon United Church, 21562 Old Yale Road, Langley TICKETS: Adult $15 Students $10 Under 6 Free. Available at the door 30 minutes before Concert or from Chorus Members The music for this concert will be an eclectic mixture of Christmas songs, non-traditional carols and lovely melodies that highlight the 80 voices of the Chorus. We will sing in English, French, Spanish and Latin. Some music dates back to the 16th century while others are from the 20th century. It will be a different and very entertaining concert, which everyone should enjoy. For more information about the Chorus and to see the music list visit our website
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 hearts content.
The Robson Square Ice Rink will once again be opening for the 2013-2014 season. It’s open now until the end of February. From November 15, 2013 to February 28, 2014
Dates and Times:
SUNDAY to THURSDAY: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
FRIDAY and SATURDAY: 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Christmas Lights Tour
Check your local paper for neighbourhoods with impressive Christmas Light displays. You may even find some that allow you to wander around the grounds. Many parks and Zoos also have Christmas Light Tours.
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 (See December 4th). 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).
Karaoke Trolley Tour
From December 11 – 30 join The Vancouver Trolley Company and sing your favourite holiday carols while visiting two of Vancouver’s most spectacular light displays.
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 taken 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 payment option, which reduces photo wait-in-line time and offers convenient online ordering. Call 604.530.4492 for more information.
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.
Royal City Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
Celebrate with RCYB the 25th anniversary of its production of everyone’s favourite magical Christmas story! As the longest consecutive ballet performance in North America, this production delights young and old with beautiful sets and extravagant costumes. Under the artistic direction of Dolores Kirkwood, the cast of talented young dancers perform to sold-out audiences across BC and Alberta every year. Adult $35 l Child $25
Friday, December 13 to Sunday, December 15, 2013
Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Ave, Surrey
https://tickets.surrey.ca l 604-501-5566
Pancake Breakfast with Santa
December 14, 2013 9:00 am – 11:00 am. Cost: $8 per child and $10 per adult
Ho, ho, ho! Santa is coming to Backyard Vineyards. Join us for this festive family event for children and adults alike. Bring the whole family for a morning filled with food, crafts, story time and a visit from the jolly one himself! It’s a perfect way to celebrate this magical time of year! We will be serving pancakes, sausages, fruit and juice. Adults will also have their choice of orange juice, mulled spiced wine or a Mimosa. Each child will leave with a gift from Santa.This event is to benefit the Langley Food Bank. Please bring non-perishable food items for donation. If you are interested in volunteering for this event please contact us at 604.539.9463.
Backyard Vineyards - http://www.backyardvineyards.ca
3033 232nd Street
Act of Generosity
Research a charity that you would like to support or visit your local food bank or toy bureau and and make a contribution to those less fortunate. If you know of a friend or family member who has hit hard times, consider finding a way to slip them some cash anonymously.
Fort Langley Winter Farmers Market
Saturdays - November 16th and 23rd, December 7th and 14th - 12.00noon to 4.00pm. “Fresh Farm Produce, fresh Chicken, Turkey and Farm eggs, Warm winter clothes, tasty home- made treats & preserves, Hot Coffee and Chocolate, Handmade Jewelry, Woodwork, and all kinds of Holiday treats and gifts. Drop by the market this Saturday and meet our Farmers and Artisans”. at the St. Andrews United Church 9025 Glover Road. Fort Langley
Milner Village Winter Market
Every Saturday 10am - 3pm from October 26 - December 14 at Milner Garden Centre 6690 216th Street. Field fresh, seasonal food & decor, kids entertainment, artists & music Weekly workshops and Poinsettia Nursery Tours.
Pancake Breakfast with Santa at Krause Berry Farms
The cost is by donation to breast cancer research on December 15, 11am to 2pm No reservations are required. At Krause Berry Farms, 6179 248th St. For more information, contact 604-856-5757 ext. 203 or www.krauseberryfarms.com
Christmas Wonderland: Port Kells Nursery
They will be accepting donations of non-perishables for the food bank every day 9am to 5pm. Santa is there 11am to 2pm on December 15 and 22. Face painting available then as well. Santa will be accepting cash donations for the Gateway of Hope. At 18730 88th Ave. Bring a camera. Info: 604-882-1344. - See more at:
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 25 Christmas Movies
The event is at Laughing Stock Ranch, 24556 32nd Ave. on Dececember 16, from 10am to 4pm Santa will be there to meet the kids (photos available). There is also pony rides, a petting zoo, bouncy castle, colouring contest, hay room filled with candy canes and prizes, a silent auction, concession, and more. Cost: $15 per child (adults admitted free). Bring two non-perishable food items or an item for Basics for Babies( diapers, canned food, etc.) and the cost is $10 per child. Info: http://www.laughingstockranch.ca.
Winter Wonderland Public Skate
December 16 - 6:30-8:00pm - Location: Langley Events Centre
Tis’ the season for sugar plums and skating fairies! Do not miss out on Winter Wonderland at the Langley Events Centre.
Bright Nights in Stanley Park
The Vancouver Park Board and British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund invite everyone to nights of magic and illumination for the 13th annual Bright Nights in Stanley Park.
Get in the spirit of the Holidays - take a train ride through our forest transformed with two million twinkling lights, see the animated displays and listen to holiday sounds as you enjoy hot chocolate, fresh popcorn and roasted chestnuts.
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 for some tobogganing or snowshoeing.
Bear Creek Park Christmas Train
Come and enjoy our annual Christmas Train and Fair, Closed Xmas Day. Santa is at the station till Dec 24 Visit Santa till Dec 24 Receive a candy cane Make a reindeer headband And reindeer food Take a train ride through the magical Xmas display Prices Adults $5.50 Children $7.00 Merry Christmas! We hope to see you at the station!
Friday, December 6, 2013 to Sunday, January 5, 2014 from 10:00am to 4:00pm
Bear Creek Park, 13750 88 Avenue
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
Get into the spirit of the holiday season at the 2013 Festival of Lights from December 11 to January 4 at Van Dusen Botanical Garden.
The Festival of Lights is a magical experience for the whole family with over a million twinkling lights covering Van Dusen Botanical Garden from 4:30pm to 9:00pm, every evening during the holiday season except on Christmas day (December 25).
The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain
Sleigh bells ring, choirs sing! During the month of December, the spirit of Christmas comes alive with a magical celebration and a multitude of festivities on top of Grouse Mountain.
Bring your family to Santa's Workshop and meet reindeer, or take a sleigh ride* through our mystical alpine forest. You can also experience the tranquil beauty of skating on our 8,000 square foot mountaintop Ice Skating Pond, surrounded by snow-topped trees.
Learn more about Santa's reindeer at our daily ranger interpretive talks or have a digital photo taken with Santa to keep a memento of your Peak of Christmas visit!
Visit the Theatre in the Sky to enjoy classic Christmas movies on our large high-definition screen. Or listen to joyful Christmas carols sung by the enchanting voices of Vancouver choirs.
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.
Fort Langley Christmas
Heritage Holiday at the Fort
December 21 - January 5, 10 am - 5 pm
Get away from the holiday bustle and make memories with your family and friends at the fort! Enjoy a traditional holiday atmosphere, crafts, and children's activities. (Closed Dec. 25, 26, Jan 1) Regular admission fees apply; free for annual pass holders
Family Skate with Santa
Bring the family ice skating with Santa Claus at the George Preston Rec Centre on December 22, 3-4:30 pm. Includes hot chocolate.
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.
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.
Holiday Lunch with live music
December 23 - On Monday, December 23rd Seasonal 56 Restaurant is proud to offer a festive holiday lunch menu along with the sweet sounds of live (local) holiday music! Lunch service from 11:00 - 3:00. Reservations are advised! Call us at 604-625-5601
Christmas Eve Skate
On December 24, from noon to 1:30 pm, take the family skating at the George Preston Recreation Centre. $2. There is also snowman building, ice painting and more.
Christmas Eve Service
If you don’t have a home Church, check your local papers for participating Churches in your neighbourhood.
Celebrate, relax and spend time with loved ones.
Merry Christmas to you and yours from The Schacter Team!