Vancouver Adventures: Our To Do Picks Dec. 21-27

This week: Light up your life at the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, do some last-minute shopping at the Last Chance Christmas Craft Fair, and more

Credit: Flickr / ItzaFineDay

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – December 21

Better wax the snowboards and sharpen up the ice skates ‘cause December 21 marks the official arrival of winter. And one way to celebrate the start of snow season is at the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, lighting up the night with a lantern procession wending through several Vancouver neighbourhoods, including Yaletown, Granville Island, Chinatown and the Eastside. Check it out on December 21 starting at 6 p.m., with admission by donation.

Credit: Vancouver Cantata Singers

Vancouver Cantata Singers – December 21

Fact: The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the Vancouver Cantata Singers’ Christmas concert sells out every season. That’s because the world-class choir appeals to audiences of all ages with a song list spanning both the traditional and the contemporary, and ending in a soaring rendition of “Ave Maria.” Check out A Christmas Reprise XI on December 21 at Holy Rosary Cathedral (646 Richards St, Vancouver), starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 at brownpapertickets.com.

Credit: iStock / AmeliaFox

Passport to Prana

The holiday season is no time to get bent out of shape — unless, of course, you’re talking about yoga. And you won’t find a better deal these days than with a Passport to Prana, entitling yogis of all levels to take one free class at dozens of participating studios across the Lower Mainland. When you consider that a single drop-in fee runs around $15 or more, the passport’s $30 price tag is an unbeatable bargain.

Credit: Flickr / Context Travel

Heritage Holiday at the Fort – December 21 to January 5

The world might be a global village, but it still looks awfully quaint at Fort Langley (23433 Mavis Ave). From December 21 till January 5, Heritage Holiday at the Fort has turned this National Historic Site into a winter wonderland, complete with enough carolers, roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate and bonfires to warm the cockles of the coldest heart. Check it out daily, except statutory holidays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with admission $7.80 for adults and discounts for seniors and children.

Credit: The Observatory

Grouse Mountain’s Christmas Lunch in The Observatory – December 24

If you’re like most people, you’re too busy buying gifts for everyone else to give much thought to yourself. So go on, get selfish and treat yourself to a day without dishes at Grouse Mountain’s Christmas Lunch in The Observatory, the self-described “crown jewel” of alpine eateries. Santa’s made a list and checked it twice to guarantee diners will enjoy this three-course, $50 festive feast, taking place daily through December 24.

Credit: Flickr / Gord McKenna

Railspur District at Granville Island

For many, “mall” is a four-letter word. So when you’re shopping for holiday gifts, check out the Railspur District on Granville Island, considered “the best place in Vancouver to find unique, artisan-made gifts and products.” From ceramics to textiles, brooms to leather goods, sake to boats, you’re guaranteed to find all manner of artful offerings for everyone on your gift list.

Credit: Flickr / nickpix2012

Last Chance Christmas Craft Fair – December 22

Are you an 11th hour shopper? Good news: it’s not too late to spend like Santa at the Last Chance Christmas Craft Fair, taking place on December 22 at Vancouver’s Croatian Cultural Centre. Held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the fair features tables upon tables of quality crafts that should satisfy everyone on your gift list. General admission is $5 at the door, but get there early because the first 50 shoppers will receive a free swag bag. 

Credit: VOC Sweet Soul Gospel

VOC Sweet Soul Gospel – December 23

You can take it on gospel that you’re in for a good time if you swing by Vancouver’s St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church (1022 Nelson St) on December 23. That’s because the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel will be staging a Christmas concert that promises to raise the roof as the 130-member ensemble sing some of the world’s best-loved spiritual and inspirational songs in six-part harmony. Buy tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show at the door for a minimum $15 donation, with discounts for seniors/students and free for kids under nine.

Seussical – Until January 5

The Cat is back! Carousel Theatre’s hit production Seussical returns to the Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright St, Granville Island) until January 5. The Jessie Award-winning show brings the tales of Dr. Seuss to life in a toe-tapping story that spans a spectrum of musical styles while boasting a cast of characters ranging from Horton the Elephant to The Cat in the Hat himself. Tickets can be purchased online or  by calling 604-685-6217

It’s Snowing on Saltspring – December 28

It’s Christmas Eve on Saltspring Island. The stockings aren’t hung by the chimney with care and disenchanted Bill Bannister hopes that St. Nick won’t be there. Will it take a reindeer-guided trip to the North Pole for Bill to rediscover the spirit of Christmas? Find out in It’s Snowing on Saltspring, a homegrown Christmas classic playing at theGranville Island Stage until December 28. Buy tickets for evening and matinee performances from $29 online or by phone at 604-687-1644.