TGIF: My First Christmas in Vancouver

December 13, 2013

christmas in vancouver

Last week, I got into the Christmas spirit in a big way, and it definitely carried forward into this week. After watching one Christmas movie with a friend in Toronto, I started binging on them. Honestly, I think I’ve watched 6 or 7 already this week. Someone needs to stop me! (No, don’t… I love it.)

Aside from watching movies and finishing my shopping (hooray!), this week I also started looking into what Christmas activities are available in Greater Vancouver. Since this is my first Christmas living on the mainland (as Vancouver Islanders call it), I want to take in as many activities as my budget allows, and see what some of the most popular traditions are.

On Wednesday, I met my friend Kasey downtown and we walked through the Vancouver Christmas Market together. One baked apple and a hot chocolate later, I can see why its a popular activity for families and friends. I’d also love to check out the Festival of Lights but still need to find someone who’s willing to go with me (any volunteers?).

Aside from those two activities, what I really want to find are the best Christmas light displays! I know where all the best houses are in Victoria, and I’d love to drive around and see what Vancouverites have to offer.

Oh! And it snowed here! How weird is that? (It’s weird.) If I didn’t love the view from my new place enough already, the roofs and treetops covered in snow make it breathtaking…

The low of my week was realizing I’d already gone over my December budget. I know $72 doesn’t seem like much, but my budget is tight this month. I just need to watch my spending now.

The high of my week was finding the motivation to finally step back onto a treadmill, for the first time since my car accident. It hurt a lot, but it also felt so amazing to break a sweat.

A blog post I loved was How to Save $10,000 and Track Every Detail of Progress in an Awesome Spreadsheet. If you’re getting ready to make some savings goals for 2014, read Bridget’s post now!

The best money I spent was $38.41 on a gift I never imagined Baby Bro would ask for: a trilogy of books! I wish everyone asked me for books. Although, if they did, I’d probably be broke.

My plans this weekend include having dinner with Krystal, hanging out with Wendy, then baking cookies for some people who have helped me out a lot since my accident. ‘Tis the season!

How was your week? What are you up to this weekend?

  • Britt December 13, 2013 at 6:02 am

    What about Bright Nights at Stanley Park? Riding the train through the Christmas displays is something I’ve done since I was a kid and enjoy every year! The lights are spectacular too. Buy your tickets online beforehand though – they sell out!

    • Cait Flanders December 13, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll see if someone will go with me :)

  • Danielle @ LabelsAreForTinCans December 13, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Some of my favourite lights in downtown Vancouver:
    – Jack Poole Plaza Trees
    – Gastown (the trees on the streets are decorated)
    – English Bay (giant tree is covered)
    – St. Paul’s hospital on Burrard Street

    • Cait Flanders December 13, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Thank you, Danielle!

  • Sara Hamil @ They Call it Gumption December 13, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Aaaahhhhh I’m so hopped up on Christmas spirit and as soon as my grading is done I’ll be able to enjoy it all properly. I basically spend every night in the living room, tree lit and while I grade I either have a Christmas movie on or… The fireplace channel (NO JUDGING).

    What Christmas movies have you watched so far?

    Also, it totally looks like you have more snow in Van than we do here! That’s nuts (but also very festive :) )

    Enjoy your first Christmas in Vancouver, Cait!

    • Cait Flanders December 13, 2013 at 8:52 am

      No judgment at all! Roomie and I used to watch the fireplace all the time. :)

      I’ve watched: Home Alone 1 + 2, The Santa Clause 1 + 2, Four Christmases, The Holiday and The Family Stone! This weekend, I’ll start watching some of my real favourites: A Christmas Story, National Lampoon, etc. And then maybe move onto Love Actually and Rudolph! lol

  • Nadia December 13, 2013 at 7:20 am

    If I lived in Vancouver I’d totally do lights with you!

    Here in Edmonton it’s worth going to the Legislature grounds and wandering around admiring all the pretty lights!

    • Cait Flanders December 13, 2013 at 8:53 am

      Sounds nice! The leg in Victoria is always a beautiful sight too :)

  • Trista December 13, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I had some highs and lows this week. Work has been incredible slow which is always a bummer and the days drag on. But yesterday was a fun and expensive day. I got my hair cut for the first time this year (oops) and then did some Christmas shopping with a friend. When we were done we took a walk around a local pond to see the lights and the snow. Then we took a drive around to look at the Christmas lights. This weekend I have Christmas and birthday celebrations with friends, family and colleagues.

    Oh I forgot to mention dealing with the snow has been very disheartening. I haven’t been able to get up my driveway for the last three days because my landlord is doing a horrible job of clearing the driveway and it’s much too large for me to clear myself (also it’s shared with the couple who live next door). Just to make things worse we are expecting another 20cm of snow between Sunday night and Monday. I’m really still hoping we might get a green christmas but I think I’m in for a huge let down.

    • Cait Flanders December 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Oh gosh, I hope the snow doesn’t cause you more grief, Trista! It sounds like you have some nice plans this weekend. Enjoy yourself :)

      • Trista December 16, 2013 at 4:52 am

        We didn’t get as much as the forecast and I managed to get my car out no thanks to the landlord. But I’m not gonna let it bring me down.

  • Girl Meets Debt December 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I can’t wait to see your place. And bake cookies. And watch Christmas movies. And talk and talk :)

    • Cait Flanders December 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm


  • Dear Debt December 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Sounds lovely. I went to Vancouver last Thanksgiving and it was lovely this time of year. You have such a nice weekend ahead of you. Jealous you get to hang out with Wendy. Wish I could crash your party.

    • Cait Flanders December 14, 2013 at 7:22 am

      I wish you could too!

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 14, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Glad you’re getting into the holiday spirit! I’m going over budget this month too, but I had a lot of maintenance items to buy, so it wasn’t so much because of wants…OK a little was wants. :) So glad to hear you started exercising again! I know how much you missed it.

    • Cait Flanders December 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      A little wants is ok. :)

      And thanks! I’m going to attempt workout #2 tonight!

  • Jibran Qazi December 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Doesn’t sound like THE place for hanging out on Christmas but you and your friends should go for a walk around the Horseshoe Bay area in the daytime or night (Ferry Terminal). It’s like a little piece of heaven on earth.