The holiday season is now upon us, but it will be over in a flash.
For those wanting to cram as much festiveness into their schedule, look no further than the Fraser Valley. From tree lighting ceremonies and spectacular parades to pancake breakfast with the jolly man in the red suit and Christmas craft fairs, there’s SO MUCH to see and do. Seriously, it will make your pretty head spin!
So bundle up in your scarf, grab a hot chocolate or chardonnay in a coffee mug (I don’t judge), and get ready to play tourist in your own neck of the woods with these 27 FUN-TASTIC ideas on the Ultimate Fraser Valley Christmas Bucket List for 2015.
Ready, set, fa-la-la-la fun!
1. While I’ve lived in Langley for all of my adult life, I’ve yet to check out Christmas in Williams Park. Crazy, hey? It’s time to check this bad boy off my list and see all the pretty lights with my little fam jam. This event runs Dec. 7-19 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
2. Visit a Christmas Craft Fairs/Holiday Market or two… or three.. . I heart handmade treasures.
3. Kick-off to the Holiday season with a visit to Fraser Valley Highstreet for the Tree Lighting & Santa’s Arrival on Saturday, Nov. 21. Preshow at 4: 30 p.m. and lighting at 5 p.m. We love visiting Highstreet for the shops and restaurants, but this gives us a whole other excuse. Enter to win a $50 Gift Card to Highstreet HERE.
4. Breakfast with Santa at the Douglas Recreation Centre on Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. In addition to catching up with Ol’ Saint Nick of a short stack of flapjacks, there will be crafts, face painting and a magic show. MMMMM pancakes.
5. Visit a Christmas Tree Farm here in the Fraser Valley and make daddy chop down our very own tree. Hopefully this one doesn’t fall over in the middle of the night like it did a few years back. Daddy wasn’t a happy camper.
6. Check out a holiday parade in our area. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a fan of crowds or the cold, but my wee ladies are gonna love it.
7. Head over to the Clayton Heights area to see all the purdy Christmas lights. No, there’s not going to be any Baileys in our hot chocolates 😉
8. Get all dolled up, go out for dinner and then experience the magic of The Nutcracker this holiday season with my girls. The Royal City Youth Ballet’s full-length ballet, featuring a cast of over 100 dedicated and enthusiastic dancers, returns to the Surrey Arts Centre Dec 11-13. Molly and I went last year and had such a great time.
10. Make a gingerbread house. I made this one last year… er, okay, no… I did not. Totally lied.
11. Visit Potters to check out the largest Christmas display in Western Canada. For 9 weeks a year, green house benches are moved out and store fixtures are moved in, along with everything Christmas. I can easily spend an hour or two scoping out all their holiday knick-knacks, decor and eclectic gift ideas.
12.Bundle up our clan in toques and woolly sweaters, grab some hot chocolate climb on board the Bear Creek Park Christmas Train for an adventure through the festive forest. Santa is waiting at the station to meet and greet guests — little ones will receive a candy cane and an activity bag to take home. Toot, toot!
13. Head on over to Club Colour in Langley so my girls can make their very own personalized Christmas ornament.
14. Celebrate an Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Historic Stewart Farm on Dec. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. There will be a sing along with classic carols played on the piano, a chance to indulge in sweet Victorian treats baked in the wood stove, and old-time Christmas decor for our tree.
15. Rediscover the traditional charm and magic of the holidays, all under one roof at North Pole BC’s Festival of Christmas. This interactive village festival, full of enchanting scenes, elves and jolly characters, comes to life for its 7th year, to welcome the young and young at heart.
16. Catch the pantomime performance of Cinderella at the White Rock Coast Capital Playhouse, which runs from the 4th of December to the 2nd of January.
17. I’m always on the hunt for unique gift ideas, which is why I’ll probably head to the West Coast Christmas Show & Marketplace, Nov. 20-21st, where hundreds of vendors will gather under one roof. There will also be old-fashioned Christmas activities for the children, a visit from Santa and his elves, a festival of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, cooking demos and more.
18. Go for a Winter Walk at one of the many beautiful parks and trails here in ‘the Valley.’ Tucker is a big fan of Campbell Valley Park and the Houston Trail. Woof!
19. Take a little trip to a 73-acre horse ranch in Maple Ridge that has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Timberline Ranch will have glorious lights, beautiful trees, interactive scenes, lovely music, and delightful activities to remind us of times when Christmas was a lot simpler . . . and a lot less commercial.
20. Drop by one of the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries to grab some holiday-themed craft books for myself and story books for the kiddies.
21. Go Christmas caroling with friends. Molly and I went for the first time last year with a few other families that live close by. Aside from the odd grumpy house that slammed their door or turned off the lights (yes, totally happened), it was a lot of fun. When I come to your door, I accept smiles and wine. #JustSayin.
22. Swing by the Surrey Food Bank Open House Saturday, Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Surrey Food Bank Open House. There will be lots of entertainment, treats, and of course Santa!
23. Excited to embrace my British side and check out the 17th Annual FREE Dickens Animated Christmas Village, which just recently opened. This is the perfect spot for a spot of tea, lunch and an outing my girls are sure to enjoy. This animated Christmas Village is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.Donations gratefully accepted (all donations go to cover running costs and The Wheelchair Foundation.
24. Get into the holiday spirit by attending Christmas on the Peninsula Saturday, Nov. 28th. This annual event is set to have a Christmas market featuring talented local artisans and tasty goodies; a crafts fair, including many ‘create-your-own’ hands-on projects; live performances on several entertainment stages, traditional treats at the concession and much more.
25. Make memories with family or out-of-town guests in the traditional holiday atmosphere of the Fort Langley National Historic Site for Heritage Holidays at Fort Langley. At 11:00 am, start with a guided introduction of the site where British Columbia was born, then at 1:00 pm warm up with some heritage hot chocolate or decorate a cookie. At 3:00 pm roast chestnuts on an open fire while swapping stories with the clever costumed guides. This events runs Dec. 19- Jan 3 from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. (closed dec. 25, 26 and Jan.1). If you follow this blog regularly, you know we go to The Fort often.
26. Have a good ol’ fashioned family games night. Have you played this one yet? So fun!
27. Re-purpose last year’s hideous holiday sweater that’s hanging in my closet from last year’s ugly sweater party and head to Port Moody for the The Third Annual Original Ugly Christmas Sweater Dash, presented by the Now That’s Ugly Society on Dec. 5.
And there you have it my friends, 27 ways to get into the Christmas spirit for 2015. Of course, we won’t be ticking off every single item on this bucket list. That would just be nuts! I’d be sure to run myself ragged and have two cranky kids and a frazzled husband if that were the case. It’s not on the list, but I also plan to spend some time just chillin’ with loved ones.
Hopefully some of these ideas have inspired you to get out and explore some of the events and activities happening in your neck of the woods. If there’s an event or tradition of your own you’d like to share with us, please let us know in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it to help spread the word about all the great stuff ‘the Valley’ has to offer.