Get support from UBC student resources and services on finances, health, immigration, and more.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND UBC’S RESPONSE: Find the latest updates and resources from the University.

gingerbread cookies
December 13, 2019
3 mins read

Jolly holiday activities to try this season

Alongside the signature holiday events happening around Vancouver, add some spice to your cup of latte with these creative, low-budget activities!

(P.S. You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to try these ideas.)

Partake in Secret Santa (or White Elephant)

We love the holidays, but our wallets don’t. With an abundance of Christmas parties, it can become a burden to buy gifts for every. Single. Person.

The solution? Secret Santa! Gather a group of friends and do a name draw. The name you draw is the one person you’re responsible for buying a gift for—you’re their Secret Santa!

Participants can create wish lists if they please. Setting a budget limit also helps—you wouldn’t want to spend $50 on a gift, and receive a $10 present in return! (You can even make it a DIY gift exchange!) Gather near the holidays to exchange these presents, and have a blast taking a guess at who your Santa is.

Build some gingerbread houses

All you need is a stack of graham crackers, some packs of colourful icing, and a handful of yummy candies.

Let creativity do the rest! Blast some holiday tunes, and gather your friends and family for a gingerbread house-building contest. You can set fun criteria, such as “most creative”, “most livable”, or “most extravagant”. Keep the building process clean, and you can bask in the joy of devouring these houses as a final treat!

Check out these awesome gingerbread house ideas!

Celebrate with cookies

Who doesn’t love cookies? Host a baking party! The best part is decorating the cookies with loads of colourful icing, candies, and sprinkles…and then eating them.

You can do a ‘cookie swap’, or even run a bake sale! You can either make batches and batches of sugar cookies, or...

...up your game with these fun ideas from The Food Network! Ugly Christmas sweater cookies, cornflake wreaths, peppermint bark, and a Santa skillet cookie are just a few you can try.

Deck the halls

What better way to get hyped for the holidays than to bring your surroundings to life?

Take a field trip to the dollar store, and stock up on those shiny sequins, adorable ornaments, colourful stockings, and Pinterest-worthy lights.

… and go crazy with it! Deck your hallway with colourful fairy lights. Dress your Christmas tree (or your dying houseplants) in ribbons, candy canes, and DIY ornaments. Set the mood at your fireplace with stockings, a hot cocoa bar, and a Christmas countdown calendar. Line your dorm room with snowflake stickers and polaroid pictures. The possibilities are endless!

Check out these fun Christmas decorating ideas to get inspired.

christmas lights

Try some DIY

Let the creative juices flow even more by getting your hands dirty in DIY! Let your inner child shine bright this season with these craft ideas. You can make...

Want to take it up a notch? Check out this article for some totally unconventional ideas, such as Flip Flop wreaths, fish bowl snowmen, yarn Christmas trees, and pine cone centrepieces. BRB, I’m going to try some of those.

Cozy up with movies

There’s nothing quite like bundling up in a warm blanket, toes wrapped in fuzzy socks, and hands warmed by a cup of cocoa. With the snow (or rain) storming outside, you know what to do—curl up with some movies!

Grab a few friends, your family, or your dog, and enjoy some holiday classics. Here are some of my personal favourites:

  • Home Alone
  • Elf
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Polar Express
  • Krampus (for horror fans)

Walk the blocks

There’s no need to pay to enjoy the lights. Check out the beautiful decorations set up by your neighbours just down the block!

Throw on some mittens, and take a stroll to some residential areas. Explore this interactive map to pinpoint the best locations to visit. Make it an adventure!

Give back

December is a season for giving. Vancouver offers a lot of ways for you to contribute!

Or simply, tip your waiter some extra money and wish them a wonderful holiday.

Cheers to the end of a great year!

colourful lights