You don't need to "get in the mood" for Christmas. You were in the mood in March. You've been waiting for this all year and it's finally here! The holiday season is magical, romantic, and it helps us get through this long dark Winter.
This list is perfect for all Christmas-lovers who can't wait to start celebrating and spreading cheer. In the lead up to the big day, there are plenty of places across the province you'll want to see. Put your holiday shopping on pause and go check out what's going on.
In addition to your favourite annual holiday classics, we've got a few new events this season that we can't wait to check out. Whether you're looking for a cute town to visit this holiday season or the next best Christmas market, go ahead and feed your obsession!
Victoria during Christmas is amazing, but it wouldn't be much without the Fairmont Empress. This hotel is consistently ranked as one of the best in Canada. I love the way it looks lit up for the holidays! Treat yourself to a drink, meal, tea or stay at this historic hotel and marvel at their Christmas decor and finery.
Locals from B.C. know that the most adorable Christmassy town to visit this time of year has got to be Fernie! Set right against the mountains, the sight of Fernie covered in fresh snow will melt anyone's heart. Fernie has a Festival of Lights, holiday craft fairs and parties that you can see when you're tired of all the Winter sports!
You simply have to make the trip to Harrison this holiday season to check out their Lights on the Lake celebration. This cheeky holiday event will also celebrate the area's rich Sasquatch history! You can pick up a Christmas Tree Trail guide to show you exactly where to see the best Christmas lights in town and wander the main street which will be totally decked out in whimsical Christmas decor!
Granville Island is a totally underrated destination for celebrating Christmas. You can shop for fresh produce, holiday gifts, and stroll around the island taking in the lights and the sights without the summer tourist crowds. Plus, if you're bored of having turkey for Christmas dinner, then why not try fresh lobster?
You'll feel like you stepped right into Mr Scrooge's flashback when you take in the splendour that's Barkerville at Christmas. Nosh on traditional Victorian food and shop from exquisite vintage-inspired goods at this Christmas extravaganza!
If you're not actually obsessed with Christmas and just enjoy the occasional spirited holiday event, then going to Tofino for Christmas is your best bet. Winter is when you get peak surfing and the best whale watching of the year. Plus, Tofino has their own artful lights display called Winterlights worth checking out!
Any Christmas-lover worth their salt knows that the Polar Express in Squamish is the ultimate holiday fantasy-come-true! Your golden ticket includes a roundtrip ride on the Polar Express, a visit to the North Pole and hot chocolate with cookies. Get your tickets ASAP to avoid disappointment.
One of the most exciting things to happen in Vancouver's retail scene was the recent return of Chapters to Robson Street just in time for the holidays. Even when I have no one left to shop for, I still love going into Chapters because their vibe is so Christmassy! Visit their new flagship store on Robson (right where Forever 21 used to be) and wander around, peppermint mocha in hand!
Check out the Light Festival at Bear Creek Park in Surrey to rev your holiday engines! From now until Saturday, November 10 you can see the trees in Bear Creek Park and the gardens lit up in an exciting light display.
Fort Langley is a haven for Christmas-lovers! This Winter, you can check out their free Christmas in the Village market where local vendors will gather to create an atmosphere of small-town holiday charm and cheer.
Maan Farms in Abbotsford is hosting a unique Christmas fair that you won't want to pass up! Shop for gifts from local vendors, see the goats enjoying the holiday festivities and take part in wine tastings. Plus, you can stock up on Mama Maan's authentic Indian food to tide you over to the big Christmas dinner you have planned.
If you love Christmas but want to keep it on the down low, then head to Commercial Drive! This neighbourhood keeps it cool when it comes to celebrating Christmas. You'll find tons of cool gifts for friends and family here. Try finding a festive Italian panettone cake to eat on Christmas morning. Sipping on a well-deserved cappuccino after a long afternoon of shopping on the drive sounds like just the thing to combat holiday stress.
Jump onboard one of these San Francisco-style trolleys for a Christmas Lights tour through the city while belting out your favourite holiday songs. I'm pretty sure that this one is not for the faint of heart. Only the most die-hard Christmas fans are equipped to handle this awesomeness!
This pop-up exhibit at the Royal BC Museum is a cute way to get a taste of Christmas past! Little shops lining a wood-cobbled street will be decked out so you can enjoy "the sights and sounds of Christmas long ago" in Victoria.
Visiting Whistler in the middle of the Christmas season can be a little overwhelming and expensive, but real Christmas-lovers won't care because it's the most idyllic place in the province at Christmastime! Drinking hot chocolate in chalets by the fireplace, walking the twinkling paths of Whistler Village and playing in the snow? Whistler is basically a Christmas-lover's dream come true.
Get transported to Christmas in 1918 with the Surrey's Heritage Railway! Their own Electric Express train will have an adorable Christmas event complete with period costumed-characters and a visit to Santa's workshop.
Vancouver's own German Christmas Market is the place to go for adorable holiday gifts, treats, snacks and, of course, and eggnog! Brave the cold and visit this quintessential Christmas classic event. You can enjoy chimney cakes, beer, and German specialties like glühwein, pretzels, kartoffelpuffer and schweinshaxe. You'll be saying Fröhliche Weihnachten before you know it.
Looking for a new way to celebrate Christmas? The Spirit of Christmas events at the Sea to Sky Gondola are great to check out, especially if you're not down to drive all the way to Whistler but you still want some fun on the mountain. Try their the snowshoe and fondue tour where you can explore the mountains by snowshoe and then indulge in a chocolate fondue!
Hycroft Manor on the edge of Vancouver's Shaughnessy neighbourhood opens its doors for the holidays! Shop from craft and artisan stalls, listen to music and see the heritage house done up in Christmas finery. This is one fancy Christmas event and worth checking out if haven't seen Hycroft before.
This West Vancouver holiday event is the most heartwarming on our list because funds raised go to help provide services for the North Shore's homeless community. Join in to see the Christmas trees lit up along the beach, listen to the free concerts and warm yourself by the massive beach bonfire!
Lovers of the True North will find the Christmas spirit alive and well in Fort St. John. They have their own Santa Claus parade and this locale is so far north that you can see the northern lights!
I feel like you could literally hear reindeer on the roof at this barn house in Invermere! Rent this place for a quick Winter getaway after the holidays so you can keep in the Christmas spirit long after December 25th.
The tough thing about going to all these outdoor Christmas events is that they're so darn cold! That's why Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver is one of the best events to check out this year. This year's theme is Arctic Oasis, and you'll stay toasty warm inside the tropical conservatory celebrating Christmas with all the beautiful creatures that call this lush haven home.
See an impressive selection of Christmas Trees at the historic Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston! The town of Steveston itself is worth checking out in the Winter because it looks extra-adorable when it's frosted with snow.
Hands down, this is a must-do this Winter if you're obsessed with Christmas. It has everything: lights, characters, hot chocolate, and nostalgic holiday vibes. This event tends to be more geared towards kids and families, but if you buy tickets for a late train ride then you might have fewer tots to contend with on the train!
New to the holiday event circuit this year, the Aurora Winter Festival at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver promises to impress Christmas-lovers this year! With an ice rink, food and shopping stalls, Ferris wheel and more, Aurora is one of the most anticipated places in B.C. this holiday season.
Peak of Christmas is the epitome of Winter holiday goodness. This year, the event runs from November 23, 2018, to January 6, 2019. Grouse transforms into the North Pole and you can go on a sleigh ride, see the lights around Blue Grouse Lake and meet Santa's reindeer!
The heritage village at Burnaby Museum will be transformed into a vintage Christmas dream once again this season! This retro display makes the perfect backdrop for photos with friends. Ride their carousel to maximize your Christmas fun.
One of my favourite holiday traditions is dressing up warm and heading out to the botanical gardens after dark to check out their incredible light displays! You can check out VanDusen Garden in Vancouver or Butchart Gardens in Victoria to snag a little piece of Winter magic for yourself.
Although this one might be more of a family-oriented event, you're sure to have fun and a ton of cool Instagram photos when you check out Glow in Langley. This is one holiday light display you won't want to miss.
Visit Coquitlam to stroll around Lafarge Lake this holiday season. This is the largest free lights display in Metro Vancouver! Walk the 1.2 kilometres Lafarge Lake Loop and take in lights, music, and entertainment while basking in the glow of holiday lights glinting off the chilly lake!