by Jesse Holth –
The holiday season is a wonderful time for celebrating with family and friends. It’s about togetherness, enjoying simple pleasures and bonding over shared experiences. It can be easy to get swept up in the frenzy of gift-buying often associated with Christmas, but materialism is no recipe for happiness. In fact, studies have shown that materialistic people are much less happy. This time of year – and ideally, our everyday life – is really about kindness. It’s about treating others, and ourselves, with love.
We can teach children about the importance of giving back, and encourage them to practise gratitude, while also sharing in fun and creative activities. Spending time together is really the greatest gift to each other. Being mindful and present in the moment, and making memories that will last – this is the spirit of the season. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Until Dec. 23 Take a festive Horse & Carriage Tour through downtown Sidney (Saturdays and Sundays, 12 to 4 p.m.).
Until Dec. 23 Take part in the Gingerbread House Scavenger Hunt! Find up to 40 gingerbread houses hidden around Sidney shops and businesses.
Until Dec. 31 Visit Father Christmas and the decorated streets of Old Town, at the Royal BC Museum (days vary for Father Christmas)
Until Jan. 2 Festival of Trees at the Mary Winspear Centre (Peninsula Santa’s Helpers collecting new, unwrapped toys).
Until Jan. 6 Gingerbread Showcase at Parkside Hotel & Spa – elaborate gingerbread displays by talented and professional chefs.
Until Jan. 6 The Magic of Christmas, Butchart Gardens – a tradition on the Peninsula; light displays and more!
Until Jan. 7 Come down to the 27th Annual Festival of Trees at The Bay Centre (supports BC Children’s Hospital).
Dec. 1 Pancake Breakfast with Santa Claus! 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Mary Winspear Centre (photos and face
Dec. 1 Saanichton Community Christmas and Food Bank Fundraiser Christmas tree trail, carriage rides and much more! 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saanichton.
Dec. 1-30 Toys ‘n’ Teddy Bears of Christmas Past exhibit at the Sidney Museum, daily 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Dec. 2 Watch the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade along Beacon Avenue from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by the Lighted Boat Sailpast.
Dec. 7-9 ‘Tis the Season at Mary Winspear Centre, with the Peninsula Singers, for an evening of song and dance (7:30 p.m. Fri/Sat; 2 p.m. Sunday).
Dec. 14-23 Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle, with traditional Victorian-era décor, a variety of seasonal music, and A Christmas Carol.
Dec. 15 Kids will enjoy The Storybook Nutcracker, presented by Ballet Étoile, at the Mary Winspear Centre (2 or 7 p.m.).
Dec. 22 Winter Holiday Storytime at the Mary Winspear Centre, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Stories, rhymes, songs, and crafts (all ages).
Dec. 29 Interested in something a bit spookier? Ghosts of Christmas Past Walking Tour in downtown Victoria
Have a craft day! Make paper snowflakes and other festive decorations.
Spend the day volunteering at your local food bank, soup kitchen or shelter.
Get cozy on the couch with a Christmas movie marathon and simmer a pot with cinnamon and oranges.
Go Christmas carolling, door-to-door, and singing for your neighbours.
Spend the day baking cookies and goodies to share with your friends and family.
Make a list of everything you’re grateful for – and ask your loved ones to do the same.
Grab a hot chocolate and wander around your town’s main street to see the holiday lights.
Stop by your local seniors’ centre to have a holiday visit and listen to someone’s stories.