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Student holding a Christmas ornament
December 5, 2018
4 mins read

Ways to give back this holiday season

Spend some time this December connecting with the Vancouver community. Check out these charitable events and spread some holiday cheer by giving back. 

Attend a festival 

Throughout December there are so many festivals and events to enjoy that also give back to the community. This guide will take you all over Vancouver!

Bright Nights

Take a whimsical Christmas Train ride and see three million light bulbs illuminate Stanley Park!


A portion of ticket sales, as well as donations at the front gate, will go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. Since 1998, this event has raised $1.4 million to support burn survivors, as well as to provide education in fire safety and prevention.

  • When: Nov 29 - Jan 5
  • PriceVaries
  • Where: Stanley Park

Hop onboard

HI-LIGHT Festival

Attend their opening night on November 30 for games, face painting, and pictures with Santa!


Throughout December, this organization holds different events and activities each day. Check out their schedule to see what’s going on! Entry is by donation and all proceeds go to the North Vancouver Firefighters Charitable Society, who support other local charities in their community.

  • When: Nov 30 - Dec 31
  • Price: By donation
  • Where: Park & Tilford Gardens

Join the festival

Canyon Lights

Hang out 110 feet above the forest floor and take amazing pictures with the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world!


Each year the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is illuminated to give you a festive holiday adventure in nature. A portion of admission proceeds goes to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. You can also decorate gingerbread houses by donation!

  • When: Nov 22 - Jan 27
  • Price: $34.95 (+ tax) for students (with valid ID)
  • Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

See the lights

CP Holiday Train Event

Save the date for food by the fire, live music, and fun activities!


The CP Holiday Train travels from the east to the west coast of Canada, making stops at major cities and hosting events that bring together the local community to address hunger needs. This unique event happens once a year with money raised going to SHARE Family and Community Services.

  • When: Dec 18
  • Price: Cash or food donation
  • Where: 300 Loco Road Port Moody

Get into the spirit


Whether you want to start volunteering or are looking to give back through a single event, check out these local charities that can connect you with the right opportunities!

Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau

This non-profit organization relies entirely on volunteers and fundraising events to distribute toys, clothes and food vouchers to over 1000 low income families during the holidays.


Become a Christmas Toy store volunteer and help parents choose the perfect gift. (They offer flexible 4- hour shifts at any day or time!) You can also participate in their Chevrolet Teddy Toss (Dec 8) or enjoy a free hot breakfast at the Pan Pacific Hotel (Dec 13) with a donation of a new unwrapped toy.

  • When: Throughout December
  • Where: Downtown Eastside

Spread holiday cheer

Ignite the Warmth - Blanket Drive

Donate online or drop off your blankets and warm clothing at a location near you.


Ignite the Warmth works with community partners to engage with issues of poverty and homelessness, and provides them with immediate solutions. During the holiday season and winter months, they aim to provide warmth to those in need.

  • When: Dec 15 & 16
  • Where: Various locations

Give Back

The Salvation Army

This charity supports a variety of projects from Christmas hampers to meals in school breakfast programs to shelters for the homeless.


Whether you want to dedicate your weekends or prefer to volunteer once, there are plenty of opportunities to be found!

  • When: Anytime
  • Where: Various locations

Find opportunities

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank strives to empower communities through food.


Volunteers have the opportunity to get hands on experience providing food aid to those in need. This holiday season you can attend and donate at their CBC Open House, 15th annual Santa Claus Parade, or Joy of Giving food fairs.

  • When: Anytime
  • Where: Various locations

Support food aid


Don't have time to organize trips or volunteer this December but still want to give back? Check out these organizations that you can support.

St. Paul’s Light of Hope

Around the holiday season, St.Paul’s Hospital spends six weeks illuminating their building to create a dazzling display.


This is their biggest fundraiser of the year with all proceeds going to patients. Donate online or check out the lights in-person.

  • When: Nov 16 - Jan 8
  • Where: Various locations including downtown Vancouver

Donate today

Simplify the Season

This holiday hamper program by the YWCA gives you the chance to make a positive impact on the lives of single mothers.


This program lets you deliver presents to a family while giving back to your community. Check out their holiday wish list to see what you can give or donate to support their programs.

  • When: Anytime
  • Where: Various YWCA locations

Help a family

Festival of Trees

This event takes place at various locations in support of the BC Children’s Hospital.


Get into the holiday spirit and try to see every tree! Check out the main display in the Four Seasons Hotel lobby and get ready to be dazzled! Choose your favourite tree and vote through a donation on their website.

  • When: Nov 21 - Jan 1
  • Where: Various locations

Find your favourite