Dust off your Santa hat, and explore Victoria’s festive activities
Ho Ho… oh no, exam season is here! After a long and grueling semester, all I want to do is curl up in a ball and drink my peppermint hot chocolate while I watch Happiest Season on repeat. But don’t worry, you’re almost at the finish line, and the colourful, twinkly lights are right around the corner.
To take a load off after this endless semester and to get you in the holiday spirit, I’ve compiled a list of holiday events to give you hope during this exam season.
Attend the Gingerbread Showcase
The annual Gingerbread Showcase is back for its 15th year. This display is a Habitat for Humanity fundraising event to help offer local families a “hand-up into affordable homeownership.”
Every year bakers of all levels contribute edible gingerbread creations that will be displayed at the Hotel Grand Pacific on the Victoria harbourfront. It is free to attend, and visitors can check out the creations, donate to Habitat for Humanity, and vote for their favourite gingerbread house, home, or otherwise creative structure. This year the Gingerbread Showcase is on from Nov. 25–Jan. 4 and will be open from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. each day.
Visit a Christmas market
What’s more quintessentially Christmas than shopping? Lucky, Victoria is home to a lot of mini Christmas markets this holiday season. As we move into December, this will be a great way to pick up your stocking stuffers and to get in the festive mood, while also supporting local artisans and makers.
Here are some holiday markets I can’t wait for:
- Moss Street Market’s 28th annual holiday market. Located in Fairfield, this Christmas market has everything you can imagine, all made by small local businesses. This event is only on Dec. 9 and 10, so make sure to not to miss it.
- Bilston Creek Farm’s Yuletide Market Series. One of the most popular holiday markets in Victoria, Bilston Creek hosts around 90 different local businesses in a retail-style pop-up store. The Market will be open Friday to Sunday until Dec. 21. They also sell food and hot drinks to warm yourself up while enjoying the ambience of the farm.
Also keep your eyes peeled for new markets popping up on Instagram or in your local coffee shop as they are still being announced.
Drink mulled wine at Merridale
Come December each year, the Merridale Cidery and Distillery in Cowichan Valley turns into a beautiful winter wonderland that people of all ages can enjoy. This farm is the perfect place to satisfy all of your holiday needs, from their free festive light displays, to it’s holiday gift kits, and even special seasonal farm-to-table meals.
While it’s a little far (40 minutes from Victoria by car), nothing screams Christmas more than drinking mulled wine while walking around and looking at the lights. If you’re willing to make your way out there, it’s definitely worth it.
Walk through Victoria’s annual Lights of Wonder
If you’re not able to make the drive out to see the lights at Merridale but are still wanting your twinkly fix, Victoria is hosting their annual Lights of Wonder display at Centennial Square. This outdoor light exhibit is completely free and will have live entertainment every Friday and Saturday leading up to Dec. 31.
On top of the live shows there will be other fun events every week, such as a “pet paw-ty” where people can dress up their furry companions, with prizes for the best dressed doggo. If you’re curious to know more of the events, head to the Lights of Wonder website, or you can show up and be pleasantly surprised.