It’s the most wonderful time of the year, which is probably why it always seems to go by so unbelievably fast.
For those wanting to soak up as much holiday cheer into their schedule without venturing far from home, look no further than your own backyard.
From spectacular tree-lighting ceremonies and festive parades, to pancake breakfast with the jolly man in the red suit and cozy bonfires, there is no shortage of wonderful things to see and do here in the Fraser Valley.
So, bundle up, grab a hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and get ready to play tourist in your own neck of the woods with these 14 Christmassy events and activities that our on our Ultimate Fraser Valley Christmas Bucket List 2018-2019.
Ready, set, fa-la-la-la fun!
When it comes to Christmas trees, you just can’t beat the real thing.
Sure, they’re a lot more work and can become a fire hazard if left to dry out, but for many families here in ‘the Valley,’ the hunt for the perfect tree is an annual tradition.
If you’re looking for a jolly good festive time with the family, bundle up, load the car and prepare to channel your inner Paul Bunyan – ‘cause this year you’re going to a tree farm!
Psst…Don’t forget to check out our popular guide to popular Christmas Tree Farms in the Fraser Valley.
Are you looking for something fun and festive to do with your family over winter break that won’t break the bank?
If so, head on over to Cloverdale Arena, located at 6090 176 St, for the 20th Annual Winter Ice Palace.
Every December, Cloverdale Arena is transformed into an icy winter wonderland, complete with an old-fashioned pond and holiday displays.
With the beautiful lights, displays, hot chocolate and festive music, it’s the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday madness and get into the Christmas spirit.
This public event runs Dec. 21 to Jan. 6.
Call the Cloverdale Arena at 604-502-6410 or visit www.surrey.ca for more info.
Hear stories by the fire, taste a chestnut roasted over the fire, and take a guided tour. Admire the charming holiday ambiance and take family snapshots at various scenic spots on site.
Regular admission fees apply: $7.80 per adult, $6.55 per senior, and free for youth under 17. Fort Langley annual pass holders and Parks Canada Discovery Pass holders also get free entry.
Event runs Dec. 21-23 and 27-30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Langley City’s annual Magic of Christmas Parade is a free family event held on Saturday, December 1 from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Come join the three-part event which includes entertainment and crafts, a parade and Santa, and tree lighting and caroling.
The event is on from 4-8 p.m. For more information, visit www.city.langley.bc.ca/events
Once again, Glow Christmas is bringing the warmth of the holiday season to the Fraser Valley. Bring together the people you love to stroll, laugh and play under the twinkle of a million lights. The playgrounds and interactive features will entertain the kids for hours, while the adults kick back at the licensed bar and enjoy some seasonal beverages and live music. Glow’s illuminated sculptures are the perfect backdrop for selfies and holiday family photos. You can even whisper your Christmas list to Santa!
There’s also a Christmas Market and delicious options from local food trucks. Event runs Nov. 22 to Jan. 19.
There’s no need to head downtown to see the production of The Nutcracker – the holiday tradition will come alive at the Abbotsford Arts Centre Nov.25.
Presented by the Royal City Youth Ballet, this timeless classic delights all ages with its beautiful sets and extravagant costumes that illuminate the magic of the toy soldiers, Sugar Plum Fairy, and a growing Christmas tree. Talented and enthusiastic young dancers perform to Tchaikovsky’s classic score with its favourites such as Waltz of Flowers and Dance of the Reed Pipes.
Another great spot to shop til’ you drop is Art’s Nursery, over at 8940 192 St. in Port Kells.
Every year in mid-November, their gift shop and courtyard is transformed into a beautiful Christmas Market complete with lights, glitter, sparkle, foliage and festive florals. Beautiful Christmas trees are decorated with stylish ornaments, traditional decor and holiday baubles while thousands of unique gift ideas adorn the shelves and displays.
Be prepared to spend a good hour or two scoping out all the holiday knick-knacks, décor and eclectic gift ideas.
8. All aboard!
Bundle up your 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!
The train runs Dec. 7–31 (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day)
Visit www.bctrains.com for more information.
Leave city sidewalks and blinking stop lights behind and come to the Historic Stewart Farm for the annual holiday gathering on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sing along with classic carols, indulge in sweet Victorian treats, and craft vintage Christmas décor.er hunt. This free drop-in event is geared towards all ages. Can’t make the event? There’s more Christmas fun to be had at the farm’s Heritage Christmas drop-ins:
- Saturday, December 1
- Sunday, December 9
- Saturday, December 15
- Saturday, December 22
- Sunday, December 23
Take a little trip to a 73-acre horse ranch in Maple Ridge that has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Once again, Timberline Ranch, located at 22351 144 Ave. 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.
This event runs Dec. 1 to 19. Visit www.timberlineranch.ca for more information.
Take a family drive to Chilliwack – home of the 20th Annual Animated Doll Christmas Village over at Dickens Sweets & British Museum (45945 Alexander Avenue).This is the perfect spot for a spot of tea, lunch and an outing for all ages.
Donations gratefully accepted to go towards the running costs of the Village.
For Tearoom Reservations…book early!
Want to experience what Christmas is like in the wild west? This family-friendly Christmas event will have something for everyone, the live carousel, Santa rides, bumper cars, carnival games and live shows to tasty eats and more. Event runs Nov. 22 to Dec. 30.
Presented by Coast Capital Savings, the Surrey Tree Lighting Festival returns to Surrey’s Civic Plaza on Saturday, Nov. 24.
The expanded holiday market will return to offer locally-made goods. The Holiday Fun Zone on University Drive will feature:
- amusement rides
- road hockey
- a DJ
The lighting of Surrey’s 60-foot Christmas tree will cap the event. This is one of the tallest Christmas trees in Canada.
Step back in time to a retro holiday party for the whole family. From Bing Crosby to tinsel heavy trees, no era captured Christmas quite like the 1950s.
After you play old school games and make a vintage decoration, visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Sip free hot chocolate as you bask at our huge textile themed Christmas tree. Then do the selfie scavenger hunt for a chance to win $100. While you’re there, take in our various exhibits, such as Dinosaurs Unearthed and the TD Explore Zone.
And there you have it, 14 fun and festive ways here in the Fraser Valley to get into a holiday state of mind for 2018- 2019. Is there an event we’ve missed? Let us know and we’ll add it to our roundup.
For even more local bucket list inspiration, make sure to visit subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow along on our family adventures in and around ‘the Valley’ on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Note: Many of the links posted refer to articles written from last year- be sure to double-check dates of all events to avoid disappointment.