Tuesday, July 23, 2024

17 festive things to do in and around Victoria this week to get into the Christmas spirit


With less than a week before Christmas, now is the best time to sink into the holiday spirit if you haven’t already!

There are plenty of ways to ring in the season, but with so much going on, sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming.

We’ve created another comprehensive list of some holiday activities and must-tries for you to pick and choose depending on your social battery, shopping needs, and preferences.

Scroll through a list of holiday performances, light displays, and other festive activities happening in and around Victoria throughout the week leading up to Christmas.

Without further delay, Happy Holidays, and here’s a list of things to get you in the holiday mood:

Drop off a toy at Natural Hair Salon

The Natural Hair Salon has partnered with Santas Anonymous for this holiday season and they’re hoping to get as many people involved as possible!

If you’re planning on visiting the salon anytime between now and December 22nd, bring a toy for kids in need.

Some gift ideas include Play-Doh, magnets, pencils, crayons, and coloring books!

  • Where: Two locations, one at 616 View Street, the other at 313 Cook Street #3
  • When: Anytime during salon hours until December 22nd

Lights of Wonder

Brightening up Centennial Square for the month of December is the Lights of Wonder, put on by the Downtown Victoria Business Association!

Wander through the impressive light displays, including a 40 foot tree, four interactive light tunnels, and themed light exhibits.

Until December 21st, Fridays and Saturdays are the only evenings offering entertainment.

Sundays and Thursdays still offer the famous lights, but they too will join in offering performances on December 21st!

It’s free to attend and is perfect for all ages!

(Lights of Wonder)
  • Where: 1 Centennial Square
  • When: Officially lit up on Friday, December 1st and will glow until December 31st

Cozy Christmas Food Tour

It’s time to slip into your comfiest and stretchiest pants!

It launched on Friday, November 17th, and guests are invited to partake in the ‘Cozy Christmas Food Tour’, organized by local food tour company Off The Eaten Track.

Gooey melted cheese, decadent truffles, peppermint bark, spiced nuts, and a luxurious hot chocolate are just a few of the samples included in this new two-hour guided walking tour in downtown Victoria!

This festive tour starts at the Off The Eaten Track gift shop inside the historic Steamship Terminal Building for a sample of Nuts & Bolts, a Todd family tradition that has been served every holiday season since the 1960s.

Adult tickets cost $65 and youth 18 and younger cost $55 and will include a 10% discount off of anything in the Off The Eaten Track gift shop that is locally made.

(Off the Eaten Track / Facebook)
  • Where: The tour starts at Off The Eaten Track gift shop, 470 Belleville Street
  • When: From Friday, November 17th to Sunday, December 31st—every week, Wednesday to Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

BC Children’s Hospital Foundation: Festival of Trees

If you haven’t been to the Bay Centre during the holidays yet, it’s not too late!

The entire building has been decked out with over 70 beautifully decorated trees for their annual Festival of Trees with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation!

They’re all lined up and beautifully decorated for the community to vote on and enjoy throughout the holiday season until January 3rd.

While you wander the Festival of Trees, don’t forget to vote for your favourites and leave a donation if you can.

Any donations that you’re able to make will be going towards a child in need!

(Festival of Trees)
  • Where: The Bay Centre, 1150 Douglas Street (2nd and 3rd floor)
  • When: Kicked off on November 16th and will be on display until January 3rd during store shopping centre hours

15th Annual Gingerbread Showcase

The 15th annual Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Showcase officially kicked off on November 25th and will run until January 4th from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at the Hotel Grand Pacific.

The showcase is hosted each year to raise funds to help local families achieve a hand-up into affordable homeownership and has become a tradition in the community for both workers and volunteers and the public!

Professional and amateur bakers spend hundreds of hours creating 100% edible gingerbread displays for visitors to come and donate to vote for their favourite.

There’s a leaflet that you can pick up to read a little more about each!

(Entry #4: Our Family Christmas Photo Album by Bonnie, Michel and Jenna Mailloux / Gingerbread Showcase)
  • Where: Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville Street
  • When: Kicked off November 25th and runs until January 4th from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Go For a Christmas Drive

Welcome to the 10th annual Victoria Buzz Christmas Lights Tour Map!

It’s time to grab hot chocolates for the family, hop in the car, and tune into 98.5 The Ocean to crank up the Christmas music as you head out on the Christmas trail!

With numerous light displays around the capital region, we aimed to narrow down some of the finest spots to catch the lights in town.

To view the full map or add another point, click here.

North Saanich Christmas Lights
North Saanich home (Colin Smith Takes Pics)
  • Where: From the Greater Victoria area all the way to Sooke
  • When: Anytime—as long as it’s dark, so the lights will be at full glory!

Time to Get Shafted

A casual reminder that you can get Moon Shaft Flights out of Moon Under Water’s distillery lounge!

The flavours rotate as the seasons change, each new lineup bringing a creative new approach to the beloved drink and an enthusiastic crowd ready to taste the next creations.

For the holiday season, they have released Eggnog Latte, Candy Cane, Gingerbread, and Nutella flavoured shafts—each styled to perfection and served on a cute quarter-moon wooden dish.

The Shaft Flights are $18 and there’s 3 ounces of Moon Shaft Espresso Liqueur in total.

Get into the holiday spirit with some Christmas-inspired drinks!

  • Where: 350 Bay Street
  • When: Hours for the Distillery Lounge
    • Wednesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Friday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Give Back to the Community

The season of giving is in the air, Victoria!

In spirit of the holidays, it’s important to remember that connection, togetherness, and generosity towards those in need is what it’s all about.

Receiving gifts is wonderful, but giving to others is the ultimate thing we can do to give back to the community!

Whether it’s shopping local, donating to a toy drive, or volunteering your time at a soup kitchen, these all make a considerable difference to a person in need.

To make sifting through options a little easier, we’ve created a list detailing how you can give back and where if you’ve got the time or resources to spare.

(Mustard Seed Food Bank)

Full article: Here’s how Victorians can give back to the community this holiday season

Catch a Holiday Classic

On select days throughout the month of December, the Vic Theatre is showcasing the 1960s classic, The Sound of Music (special sing-a-long edition).

You can pick between 19+ screenings or all ages screenings for your own curated movie experience!

Check out their monthly calendar to find a showtime that works for you.

Sound of Music is a great family film.
(Vic Theatre)
  • Where: Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street
  • When: Multiple showtimes available the last couple weeks of December

Christmas at Butchart Gardens

Magic is in the air once again at the Butchart Gardens!

Every year, as the days get shorter, the gardens opt to be a light in the darkness offering everyone thoughtful and jaw-droppingly beautiful Christmas lights displays.

The Christmas spirit is alive in the garden’s piazza with local carolling groups and brass bands who are brought in to play holiday music, the Coffee Shop serving up hot chocolate and the gift shop is open for anyone who needs to do some last minute, stealthy gift shopping.

The lights at Butchart Gardens will only be up until January 6th. Attendees have to book their time slot online, especially if they plan on bringing pets, as those time slots fill up fast!

More information on the Christmas season at Butchart Gardens is available here.

Trees illusion (Curtis Blandy/Victoria Buzz)
  • Where: Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Avenue
  • When: The lights are up until January 6th—book your tickets online

NWA Xmas Carol

If you’re looking for a Christmas party atmosphere, this is for you!

Join DJs Anger, Degree, Low & Marlon at Lucky Bar for a night of Compton & West Coast classics from NWA and beyond.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

(File photo)
  • Where: Lucky Bar, 517 Yates Street
  • When: Thursday, December 21st at 10 p.m.

Grinch on the Gorge Paddle

The true meaning of Christmas is spreading joy and happiness, and Victoria resident Curtis Becker has found the perfect way to reach as many people as possible, and you’re invited.

This Saturday, on December 23rd from 11 a.m. until 1:15 p.m., chuck on your best festive outfit and join the Grinch on a paddle ride down the Gorge starting at Craigflower Beach!

Whether it’s from a paddle board, canoe, or a kayak, you’re encouraged to arrive with your jolliest smile and help bring the Christmas spirit to lucky onlookers.

(Grinch paddle boarding / Courtesy of Curtis Becker)
  • Where: Departing from Craigflower Beach alongside Admirals and Gorge Road
  • When: Saturday, December 23rd from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Winter Wonderland Family Carnival

Join Panorama Recreation on the ice for some holiday fun for the whole family!

There will be hot chocolate for everyone to enjoy, plenty of kids games, some painting on the ice, and a special visit from Santa in this beautiful winter wonderland.

See you there!

(Panorama Recreation / Facebook)
  • Where: Panorama Recreation, 1885 Forest Park Drive
  • When: Saturday, December 23rd from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Maureen Washington’s Annual Christmas Show

Head downtown to Victoria’s jazz hotspot to listen and bop along to Maureen Washington’s Annual Christmas Show!

This featured Hermann’s Jazz Club performance will include other talented musicians Karel Roessingh, Joey Smith, and Damian Graham.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online or in-person.

(Maureen Washington / Hermann’s Jazz Club, Facebook)
  • Where: Hermann’s Jazz Club, 753 View Street
  • When: Saturday, December 23rd from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble

The Christ Church Cathedral is thrilled to present their The Night Before the Night Before Christmas concert, the CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble!

Share in the cherished musical traditions of Christmas alongside esteemed musical guests and dear friends, Festive Brass.

Also featured includes Vince Guaraldi’s timeless masterpiece, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

General admission tickets are $35, $15 if you’re a student, and free for children 12 and under.

(Christ Church Cathedral)
  • Where: Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Avenue
  • When: Saturday, December 23rd from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Celtic Yuletide with the Hounds of Cuchulain

Experience the magic of Celtic music and traditions at the Paul Phillips Hall!

Hosted by the Fernwood Community Association, they bring you the Hounds of Cuchulain for a festive Yuletide celebration known as Tibb’s (or Tipsey!) Eve in Newfoundland.

They promise a world of enchantment and merriment brought from the rich sounds of traditional Celtic instruments such as the fiddle, whistle, banjo, mandolin, harp, and the voices of the performers!

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

(Hounds of Cuchulain / Facebook)
  • Where: Paul Phillips Hall, 1923 Fernwood Road
  • When: Saturday, December 23rd from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Christmas Eve Morning Service

The Fairfield United and James Bay United Church will be offering a special Christmas Story presentation!

Join them on Sunday morning for a story of hope, peace, and love.

This event is free and open to anyone who wishes to attend.

(Fairfield United / Facebook)
  • Where: 511 Michigan Street
  • When: Sunday, December 24th at 10:30 p.m.

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