REVIEW: The Original Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at the Commodore

Another year, another Christmas, which means another Ugly Christmas Sweater party at the Commodore….14 years and going strong. Around this time of year, I always see multiple pictures posted on Facebook of what looks like everyone having a blast at this party yet have always been hesitant to go mostly due to the $35 price ticket. This is finally the year I’m biting the bullet in and effort to see just what all of this hype is about. Knowing that partial proceeds from the event go to a charity like The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada is well worth the ‘ugly’ experience and the ticket price thankfully includes one free drink and unlimited cookies… I think I got my money’s worth in cookies. Who doesn’t love dressing up to look as ridiculous as possible this time of year, any excuse to throw on a costume and Vancouver is there! Some kept it simple in their Christmas sweaters and others went all out in from head to toe in red and green Christmas suits.... ...

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Christmas Adventures: Festival of Lights at VanDusen Gardens

Van Dusen Gardens has mastered the art of Christmas lights and then raised it up another 20 levels. Mermaids, umbrellas, the Eiffel tower you name it, there is a display made out of lights here. I didn’t know if I was walking in circles or down different paths but everywhere I went I saw different decorations and light displays. The Festival of Lights runs until the end December. Over a million lights cover VanDusen Gardens. Although I struggled with my directions throughout the night, I highly suggest keeping track of where you are going and making sure you don’t miss any parts because every section is completely different with new themes and displays to see and each one equally as amazing. As you are walking around, make sure to stop and enjoy the Dancing Light show that is right in the middle, on the lake. Who knew lights could keep someone entertained for so long. It was like watching a live show as the lights on the water, trees and ground light... ...

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Christmas Adventures: Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Thrill seekers looking for something to do this Christmas – Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge is the place for you. Nothing tops this combination of adventure and Christmas all wrapped up in one special holiday package. I thought I just had to walk across the suspension bridge to look at the lights but no, there was more.  The treetop adventure and the cliff walk had my adrenaline pumping from the get go.  I loved the excitement of the bridge swaying over the canyon. My friends, not so much but that is all part of the Canyon Lights ‘experience’.  As little kids passed us completely unfazed by anything, we held on to the railing for dear life. Quite the epic outdoor sight, testing your boundaries at night, surrrounded by the glowing festive cliff face is a must do Christmas adventure in Vancouver. Once we safely made it across the bridge, the beauty of the sparkling tree lights and trails became the main attraction. The reflection of the lights on the water was one of the... ...

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Christmas Adventures: Peak of Christmas

Did I go to Grouse Mountain or step into a scene of a Christmas movie, that was the question I kept asking myself as I wandered through the Peak of Christmas. Whoever did the decorations for this, nailed it. As if the scenery up on Grouse Mountain isn’t amazing enough, the Peak of Christmas took it to a whole other level. It really looked like a scene of North Pole straight out of a movie. By far my favourite part was the Light Walk. I’m going to try to describe it but this does not even do it justice, it’s really something you just have to see for yourself. They decorated a path with all white lights. It was like walking through an enchanted forest. In some areas the lights were scattered and simple and in others you were surrounded by nothing but white lights. The tunnel made out of lights at the beginning is so beautiful that my friend was convinced it will be a marriage proposal hotspot –... ...

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Rogers Santa Claus Parade

In true Vancouver fashion, it rained during the 12th Annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade, but that wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the thousands of spectators. I brought my seven-year-old sister Lauren with me. Once the rain started pouring down I asked if she wanted to go, but just like most of the children around us, she was willing to stick it out and get soaked for a chance at seeing Santa – and hopefully confirming a spot on the nice list. I was surprised to find out the parade lasted two hours because it certainly did not feel like I was out there for that long. There was constant entertainment, music and interaction with the crowd, which kept mine and Lauren’s attention the whole time. I mean the free chocolates and candy might have helped too. We were towards the end of the parade route and I am still amazed at the stamina of the dancers and bands that were able to keep dancing or playing an instrument... ...

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Christmas Adventures: Vancouver Christmas Market

Christmas time is finally here. The first stop on my holiday adventures thoughout Vancouver was the 6th annual Vancouver Christmas Market. If I am being honest, I didn’t have very high expectations, I thought it would be just a little window shopping, walking (well more like shivering in the cold) past booth after booth of items too expensive for my ‘ just finished university’ budget, but I was pleasantly surprised. They managed to transform Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza into a picturesque little Christmas village. It had lights, candy canes, nutcrackers, a mistletoe and a sparkling christmas tree – which makes for a perfect holiday instagram post. All of my skepticism was put to rest; I wasn’t looking at overly priced goods while out in the cold. There was a lot to do. For kids, there was crafts to make, gingerbread men to decorate, and a scavenger hunt to win a free ride on the carousel. As for me, I followed my nose and ended up in the food section. I mean... ...

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Gear for your outdoor angel!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there….bringing with him a big sac of new gear, to enhance her adventures in the New Year. But with so many gear options, how do to choose one that’s dear? OK enough of the sappy tinsel rhymes – let’s get down to business.  Christmas is but a few days away and chances are you are still humming and hawing about what to get that special outdoorsy gal.  Go with any of these last minute girly gear suggestions and your Christmas morning will be merry and bright too. Newton Women’s Kismet Stability Core Trainer Consider this shoe her training buddy. When the winter weather gods are not cooperating, when the snow is non-existent or mushy, hitting the pavement for a run is sometimes the only solution to clearing the mind and releasing frustrations. Every girl needs a great pair of runners and don’t forget, technically they should be replaced every 300 to 400 miles.... ...

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