If the constant spending has got you feeling a little frayed around the edges, we’ve collected up a great list of what to do for free around Vancouver with your family this Christmas.
Burnaby Heritage Village Museum
There’s free gate admission, which includes light displays, sing-alongs, old fashioned Christmas films, entertainment, blacksmith demonstrations, crafts, and visits with Father Christmas. Rides on the famous carousel are $2.55. Until Jan 1, 2017.
6501 Deer Lake Rd, Burnaby
Skating at Robson Square Ice Rink
If you bring your own skates, it’s free! You can rent skates there at the rink, and every Sunday in December there’s free hot chocolate too. Open every day until the end of February including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
800 Robson St, Vancouver
Vancouver Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Celebrate the winter solstice on the 21st of December with a lantern procession or self guided tour followed by multi-cultural performances in and around Vancouver. Highlights include lantern processions in many neighbourhoods including Yaletown, Chinatown, and Granville Island, and the light labyrinths. This is a free family event, with a few ticketed venues, check secretlantern.org for details. You can join in a pre-event lantern-making workshop, and those start at $10.
Free family movies every Wednesday at the Wesbrook Welcome Centre, including Polar Express, The Grinch That Stole Christmas, and Home Alone. There’s even a special story time this Saturday (19 December).
Welcome Centre, 3378 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver
CP Holiday Train
The CP Holiday Train is traveling across Canada visiting 150 communities collecting food and cash donations for local food banks. There’s festivities at every stop, including live entertainment. In Metro Vancouver, the train stops in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on December 18th, and in Port Moody and Port Coquitlam on December 19th. Bring along a donation for the food bank to truly get into the holiday spirit. Check cpr.ca/holiday-train for full details.
Festival of Trees: Four Seasons Hotel
Tour the beautifully decorated trees at the Four Seasons Hotel and CF Pacific Centre in support of BC Children’s Hospital. Vote for your favourite trees and make your own donation. You can help decorate the Wish Tree by writing a holiday wish on a paper ornament and hanging it on the tree. Open until January 5, 2016.
791 W Georgia St, Vancouver
Image credits: Travis McCrea on Flickr, CP Holiday Train/Train Geek,
Erin McGann is the former Managing Editor for Vancouver Mom and Toronto Mom Now. She drinks just a bit too much coffee, is a bit obsessed about sourcing local food, plays the cello moderately well, spends too much time on Twitter, keeps honeybees on a rooftop, and has a thing for single-malt whisky. Erin is working on a novel set in turn-of-the-century Vancouver, which her husband, son and dog have to hear about all the time, and also blogs at Erin at Large.