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Affordable and Festive: 5 Christmas Things to Do Locally in Vancouver

It’s that time of the year again, a time to get together with your loved ones for a home-cooked feast, a Christmas movie night, and board games. Here are some budget-friendly activities to experience the festive spirit outdoors with your friends and family during this holiday season.


1. Vancouver's Charming Outdoor Ice-Skating Destinations

Are you seeking a festive adventure? Join in the festivities at one of the local annual holiday ice-skating events, offering free admission to feel the holiday magic. This Vancouver tradition provides an excellent opportunity for you to either learn something new or teach someone how to ice skate. Be sure to have some cash on hand in case card payments are not accepted for skate or helmet rentals. If you don’t have your own gear, consider borrowing skates from someone or exploring thrift stores for the best deals.

Two classic outdoor rinks for a holiday skate in Vancouver:

  • The Shipyards Skate Plaza, North Vancouver (Skate rental: $7)
  • Robson Square Ice Rink, Downtown Vancouver (Skate rental: $5)


2. Navigate Through Christmas Craft Fairs and Market

If strolling from booth to booth, searching for treasures such as handcrafted soap, handmade skincare, leather goods, fabric art, clay products, artisanal chocolate, and goods from neighbourhood cafes sounds appealing to you, then participate in one of the Christmas community events.

These gatherings showcase the exceptional work created by Canadian artisans. Perhaps you’ll discover unique home goods to enhance your living space, artisan coffee for your coffee-lover friend, homemade condiments that you can incorporate into your recipes for your upcoming home-cooked meal, and even a delightful treat for your Christmas at-home spa. Keep an eye on local event listings, community centers, and social media for holiday-themed events happening in your area during the Christmas season, some of which may offer free entry or admission by donation.


3. Double Impact: Saving on Costs and Reviving Treasures Through Second-Hand Finds

Christmas at Found Boutique

Are you looking for Christmas gifts and new items for the new year? Before turning to larger fashion brands, consider thrifting from stores like UGM Thrift Store in Downtown Eastside and Found Boutique in New Westminster. You not only save money, allowing for additional purchases, but also give a second chance to items that still have plenty of life in them. What’s even better is that shopping contributes to providing hot meals for those in need during this cold season? Attend Shine Bright Shop Night at Found Boutique on December 21st 5pm-8pm to support local businesses in New Westminster. Enjoy a day of fun and shopping with us on this special day, knowing that 100% of proceeds will benefit Union Gospel Mission.


4. Illuminate the Season: A Mesmerizing Walk Through Christmas Light Displays

Find the joy of walking through beautifully decorated parks and public spaces during this iconic Christmas traditional event. Use these walks filled with light installations to reconnect with closed ones, capture memories through photos, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll to clear your mind and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

Popular places with free Christmas decorations:

  • Bright Nights at Stanley Park, Downtown Vancouver
  • Lights at Lafarge Lake, Coquitlam
  • Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum, Burnaby


5. Season of Generosity: Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers at Union Gospel Mission

Christmas is a time for giving. Besides monetary contributions, there are numerous ways to care for our local well-being. Extend a helping hand and give back locally with your compassion and skills by searching for volunteer openings at shelters and community meals. Charities could benefit from extra assistance during the festive season. At Union Gospel Mission, we constantly welcome volunteers to support our various programs and services, from helping in our kitchen to connecting with the community. Learn about specific opportunities to find a role that aligns with your interests and goals.

Grab your friends and family, and create lasting memories on a low budget in this lively city! Feeling inspired? Stay in the loop by subscribing to our weekly newsletter for updates on similar content.

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