Ready or not, here it comes.
The Christmas season is upon us, and whether you’re already full of holiday spirit or desperately searching for it, the community has got you covered.
Not only is the city just bursting with Christmas performances (check out a separate story here), there’s also a host of special events for folks of all ages. Best of all? Most of them are free.
Here are some of the holiday events to look out for in New Westminster.
1. TREE LIGHTINGS
The Queensborough Fire Hall hosts its annual lighting ceremonies on Friday, Nov. 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. You can drop in for the lights, entertainment, carolling and complimentary refreshments – bring along a non-perishable donation for the food bank.
Get ready to sing along with carollers, enjoy some complimentary hot chocolate and treats and watch as the lights go on at the Christmas tree in Hyack Square, Saturday, Nov. 30 from 5 to 6 p.m.
The teen in your household can enjoy some youth fun at the lighting of the youth centre on Friday, Nov. 29 from 4 to 11 p.m. There will be treats, music and holiday crafts to decorate the giant 10-foot tree. Youth can drop in any time to take part in the fun – it’s free with a youth membership, or 50 cents otherwise. Call 604-515-3801 for information.
2. CRAFT FAIRS
Stop by Herbert Spencer School, 605 Second St., for the Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be more than 60 artisans, plus a Candy Cane Lane full of kid crafters. Shoppers can buy lunch and sweet treats in the bistro.
Just over the border in Burnaby, St. Thomas More Collegiate is hosting its annual Knights Christmas Market on Saturday, Nov. 23 and Sunday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Browse the work of more than 100 artisans, enjoy some chili at the Christmas bistro, pick up baked goods, enjoy entertainment and kids’ activities, and more. STM is at 7450 12th Ave.
On Saturday, Dec. 7, Knox Presbyterian Church is hosting its Christmas sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 403 East Columbia St. Vendors will be selling crafts and products for gift giving. Santa will be attending. It also includes a Cookie Walk, where participants choose homemade cookies to buy and take home.
3. NEW WEST CRAFT
Also for the artisanally inclined, New West Craft is back at River Market with its artisan offerings on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., upstairs in the community square.
And the New West Craft Winter Night Market is back on the same evening, running from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at two locations, River Market and 100 Braid Street Studios. Both locations will offer up food and drinks, plus a wide array of offerings from artisans and craft vendors. It’s free and family-friendly, and you can stop in at one or both locations – with a quick SkyTrain ride connecting both spots.
It’s presented by the Arts Council of New Westminster. Search out the event listing on Facebook (New West Craft Winter Night Market) for all the details.
4. WYLDE WOOD CHRISTMAS FAIRE
The Ghost of Christmas Present from A Christmas Carol will be your host for this festive event at the Wylde Wood Collective’s River Market location. It’s running Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can enjoy puppet shows by Vancouver Puppet Theatre, plus a chance for kids to build their own puppets. There will be treats, children’s activities, carollers and a prize basket draw – and, of course, the chance to find unique gifts from the historic- and fantasy-themed vendors. Jewelry, art, graphic novels and comics, costume pieces and accessories, books, leather work and more will be on offer. Check out www.rivermarket.ca/events for details, or just stop by to check out all the fun.
5. FRIDAYS ON FRONT HOLIDAY EDITION
Yes, New West's favourite street party is back once again for a special holiday edition under the Front Street parkade on Friday, Dec. 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. Douglas College and the Downtown New West BIA are presenting a night of fun that includes fan favourite food trucks (Mo Bacon, Frying Pan, Boca'o, Cannoli King, Bread and Cheese, and Mr. Arancino, just to name a few), mulled wine by Pacific Breeze Winery, beer by Steel & Oak and a holiday artisan market by New West Craft. There will also be family activities from New West Family Place and music courtesy of the Arts Council of New Westminster. See www.downtownnewwest.ca.
6. CHRISTMAS DINNERS
You can gather with your neighbours and friends at the Queensborough Community Centre on Sunday, Dec. 8 for the Family Christmas Dinner, running from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It costs $15 for adults, $10 for kids, and you get a catered turkey feast with all the trimmings, plus a raffle prize draw. Get your tickets before Dec. 5 – call 604-525-7388.
Pre-teens and teens (ages 11 to 18) can gather for their own Friday Night Holiday Dinner at the Queensborough Community Centre on Friday, Dec. 20 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. – it’s free for New West Youth members, or 50 cents to drop in. Call 604-525-7388.
The New West Youth Centre also has its own Youth Holiday Dinner on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., featuring food, games, prizes and presents for 13- to 18-year-olds. It’s free for New West Youth members, or 50 cents to drop in. Call 604-515-3801.
And, for the 50-plus crowd, Century House has a few foodie offerings for the holidays, too. There’s a Christmas Dinner Dance on Sunday, Dec. 1, with dinner at 12:15 p.m. and dancing from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. On Thursday, Dec. 5, you can join the Christmas Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $9 per entrée (dessert and beverages purchased separately). There’s also a Yulelog Dinner with entertainment by the Langley Ukulele Ensemble on Wednesday, Dec. 18 (members $21, non-members $25), and a Christmas Dinner with the Coro Cantare Choir on Tuesday, Dec. 10 (members $21, non-members $25). Century House is at 620 Eighth St. Call 604-519-1066.
7. VISITS WITH SANTA
The magical Mr. Claus is making multiple appearances in New West this holiday season, so be on your best behaviour and go make sure you’re on the nice list.
You can find him at two Breakfast With Santa events – Sunday, Dec. 1 at Queensborough Community Centre (call 604-525-7388) and Saturday, Dec. 14 at Centennial Community Centre (call 604-777-5100).
There’s also the popular all-ages Skate With Santa event at Moody Park Arena on Saturday, Dec. 21 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. (call 604-525-5301 for info).
For a complete listing of all the city’s holiday events, be sure to check out the Christmas Active Living Guide – you can pick it up at city facilities or download it from newwestcity.ca/rec.
8. SANTA CLAUS PARADE
It’s just not Christmas till Santa Claus comes riding down Columbia Street. He’s back, rain or shine, for the annual Santa Parade on Sunday, Dec. 15 starting at 11 a.m. Arrive early to stake out your viewing spot, because it can get busy out there. Kids can also drop in to the Anvil Centre to stop by the Santa letter-writing station and deliver their letters to Canada Post’s holiday helpers. All the fun is free.
9. VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS
Stop in to Irving House (302 Royal Ave.) to experience Victorian Christmas celebrations, as the house is decked out in splendour, and musicians will entertain in the parlour. It’s on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7, 8, 14 and 15. It’s by donation.
Or take it a step farther and enjoy a Victorian Christmas Tea, with seatings at noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on those same four days. Each seating can accommodate six guests, or individuals can book a seat at the 3 p.m. spot on Saturdays. It’s $20 per person, and you need to register ahead at 604-527-4640.
10. NEW WEST ARTISTS GALLERY
The New West Artists Gallery is hosting a Christmas Marketplace craft show and sale on two Saturdays in November – the first was Nov. 16, but you can still catch the Nov. 30 event, from noon to 5 p.m. Support local artisans and browse for gift ideas including hats, jewelry, soap, ornaments, cards, craft items and more.
The gallery is also hosting a Winter Social on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 1 to 4 p.m., featuring a Let It Snow pop-up art show, plus refreshments and volunteer appreciation. Everyone’s.
The gallery is at 712C 12th St. See www.newwestartists.com.
11. PAINT AND SIP
For something a little different, why not consider a Paint and Sip night at 100 Braid Street Studios? The studio offers a number of different options for paint nights, and many of the paintings in November and December are on winter themes. Check out www.100braidststudios.com for the full calendar and registration information.
12. WINTER CELEBRATIONS AT ANVIL CENTRE
The Anvil Centre is once again offering a holiday season full of entertainment and activities, including a lantern labyrinth, running from Wednesday, Dec. 18 to Sunday, Jan. 5. A full schedule will be posted soon at www.anvilcentre.com – and watch this website for more on the event as it approaches.
Got a Christmas or other seasonal event happening in New West? This list will evolve over the season, so be sure to email Julie, email@example.com.