The holidays are a great time to create family traditions from baking and decorating cookies with friends, to opening one special gift on Christmas Eve, to bundling up and strolling through your neighbourhood to admire Christmas lights. And it’s never too late to start a tradition! Here are some wonderful family outings you can experience year after year.
Five family friendly holiday outings
Canyon Lights, A Winter Festival
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
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November 23 – January 28
Hundreds of thousands of lights transform the suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, rainforest and canyon at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park into a magical winter wonderland. The magnificent 250 year old Douglas firs in the Treetop Adventure will be lit up, making them the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world! In addition to the Snowy Owl Prowl, gingerbread cookie decorating (by donation) and singing carols with the holiday band, there are two new kids’ activities this year: decorating wooden ornaments and make your own holiday badge (by donation) in the Winter Craft Tent.
Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park
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November 30 – January 6
This is the 20th anniversary of Bright Nights in Stanley Park! The Train Plaza is transformed into a winter wonderland with three million twinkling lights. You can visit the displays at the Train Plaza by donation, and then grab your ticket for the train and enjoy the displays and live performances along the train route. Your donations and a portion of ticket sales go the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fun. Since 1998, $1.4 million has been raised to help burn survivors and their families.
Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker
December 14 – December 19
Get dressed up and head to the theatre to see The Nutcracker! The Goh Ballet puts on a beautiful performance every year. You’ll watch Clara’s dream come to life as she dances through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets and along the way you’ll meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, the evil Mouse King and the Nutcracker Prince. There are more than 200 glittering costumes plus dramatic sets and your kids will love seeing kids their age on stage.
The Centre in Vancouver, 777 Homer Street
Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt Regency
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December 1 – December 29
One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is to wander through the lobbies of some of the big hotels in downtown Vancouver. They’re all decorated with elaborate trees, garland and tons of beautiful lights.
The Hyatt also houses Gingerbread Lane from December 1st to 29th with 30 incredibly detailed, delicious looking gingerbread houses that will make your mouth water. The houses are designed by secondary schools, professionals and amateur culinary artists. Your kids will love admiring the houses and you’ll love that the Hyatt has raised over $80,000 through its Gingerbread Lane for numerous charities over the past 26 years. Their current charity partner is Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon. The Hyatt promises that this year’s 27th annual Gingerbread Lane will be the best one yet!
655 Burrard Street
Take the kids shopping for a family in need this holiday season. The YMCA offers many ways you can help a low income family over the holidays. With the Presents of Peace program, you will be provided with a family’s wish list so you and your kids can go shopping to help make the holidays a little happier for a family in need. You may also have the opportunity to deliver the hamper directly to the family. It’s an incredible way to teach your kids what the holidays are really about and it’s a wonderful family tradition to start. (Approximate cost of a hamper for a family with one child is $300. An additional $125 is suggested for each additional child in the family).
Amy Beeman has been working in morning radio for almost 20 years, first in her hometown of Prince George and now for 94.5 Virgin Radio with Jonny, Holly & Nira. Her interests include running half marathons, dancing in her kitchen, napping, blogging at According to Amy, and going on adventures with her twins, Lucy and Sam, and her son Stanley. Amy loves seeing the world through their eyes.