There are plenty of free and by donation community events to help get you in the Christmas spirit in the next few weeks, and Coast Reporter has rounded them up for your reference.
• Friday, Nov. 25
Christmas Comes to Pender Harbour: Enjoy a dinner (by donation) at the Pender Harbour Community Hall at 5 p.m. followed by a classic Christmas movie, carol singing and the lighting of the lights to signal the start of the Christmas season in Pender.
• Saturday, Nov. 26
Sechelt Festival of Lights: This afternoon event starts at 2:30 p.m. with make and take crafts at Trail Bay Centre. The mall will also feature entertainment by the Chatelech and Elphinstone Secondary School band and Choralations Children’s Choir.
At 4:30 p.m. the fun moves to Rockwood Centre where the Coast String Fiddlers will perform before the official lighting of the lights, followed by carolling and hot chocolate.
Then, at 5:45 p.m. a parade of lights will tour down Cowrie Street to celebrate the arrival of Santa in Sechelt to see the kids.
• Sunday, Nov. 27
Gibsons Festival of Lights: The event at Tim Hortons starts with Gibsons Mayor Wayne Rowe lighting up all of the Christmas trees surrounding the restaurant with the flick of a switch at 6 p.m.
The Coast String Fiddlers will play while the community enjoys refreshments and tours the dozens of beautifully decorated trees sponsored by companies across the Coast. All proceeds from tree sponsorship will go to the Gibsons Lions Club this year.
• Saturday, Dec. 10
Lights in the Landing: This all-day event starts when Santa sails into Gibsons Harbour at 11 a.m. and walks up the dock to the Gibsons Public Art Gallery (GPAG) to take photos with the kids. Guests can enjoy free entertainment, hot chocolate, coffee and snacks at GPAG until 4 p.m. At around 5 p.m. the community is asked to make their way to the dock where they’ll be handed out candles to light the way for the carol ships that will sail into the harbour at 6 p.m.
Also adding to the Christmas spirit will be the boats in Gibsons Marina that decided to Deck the Hulls for the holidays. Boats in the harbour have been issued a challenge to set up their own light displays and $20 from each participating boat will go to fund RCMSAR Station 14.
• Sunday, Dec. 11
Santa in the Creek: Come on down to see Santa in Roberts Creek at noon. Santa and his elves will be set up at the Roberts Creek Hall for kids to meet and take pictures with. There will also be free hot chocolate.
Botanical Garden Woodlands Christmas: Come to the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden in West Sechelt from 4 to 8 p.m. for this festive family favourite. By donation.
Kids can make a take-home craft project, visit with Santa, enjoy seasonal stories and music and tour the Garden’s woodland light display with their families.
• Saturday, Dec. 17
Sechelt Christmas Carol Cruise: The annual Christmas Carol Cruise will start at 6 p.m. at the government wharf in Porpoise Bay and tour down the inlet to Tuwanek and back.
This parade of boats decked out in lights is also accompanied by a loudspeaker on the lead boat that plays Christmas carols along the journey.
SSC Properties will be hosting a campfire and have hot chocolate by donation for those who want to view the cruise from their property beside Porpoise Bay Provincial Park.
• Wednesday, Dec. 21
Pender Harbour Christmas Boat Parade: This annual Christmas Boat Parade in Pender Harbour starts at 6 p.m. at Madeira Park Wharf and tours around Hospital Bay, Duncan Cove, Irvines Landing, Lee Bay and Whiskey Slough, before ending again at the wharf at 8 p.m.
If the weather is rough the parade will be rescheduled to the next day with acceptable weather. Dress warmly and find a good vantage point to see the floating Christmas light parade.