Remember those “back-to-school” essays about “How I spent my _______ vacation?” Well, now that I’m back at work (did I ever really leave?), I’d like to share some photos from the holiday activities my younger son and I found around town.
Vancouver is hosting a Chinese Lantern Festival for the first time this year, with 35 displays beautifully lighting up the outdoor exhibition grounds. While most of the lanterns are handmade from silk, there are also illuminated dragons made of small liquid-filled bottles and a massive pagoda constructed from over 100,000 plates, bowls, cups, and spoons! We spent three totally worth-it hours in freezing temperatures, pausing to warm up at the food and coffee trucks and the outdoor heaters. We even sat on frozen benches to watch the traditional dancers and the amazing guy balancing a large ceramic pot on its edge on his head or throwing it high to catch it on the back of his neck! They warned us, “Don’t try this at home!”, as the pots are heavier than they look!
Each year, we visit the Vancouver Christmas Market, featuring “more than 75 huts of authentic, German sweets, treats, and treasures”. Perched on the waterfront with the mountains in view, the Market is a lot of fun to stroll around “window” shopping at the craft booths. Christmas songs came from above the crowds (above the Gluehwein sign) as English country/folk singer, Rachel Button, serenaded us. Mostly, though, my son and I were there for the goulash in a bread bowl!
We didn’t time our visit quite right. Had we been there earlier in the week, we might have seen this flash mob of 40 professional choir members who accompanied one man’s (successful) proposal to his girlfriend. (Video via The Georgia Straight from Palette Creative and the Vancouver Christmas Market.)
Our Christmas break wouldn’t be complete without seeing a traditional English-style pantomime. A panto is great fun, because it’s the one time when you don’t have to keep quiet in a play. Audience participation is not only encouraged, but demanded! You have to boo the villain, warn the heroine to look “Behind you! Behind you!”, and respond to “Oh yes it is” with “Oh no it isn’t!” This year’s panto took the story of Snow White and set it in East Vancouver, where she runs to escape her evil stepmother, the fitness queen of West Vancouver (the rich part of town). And of course as always in a panto, the female villain is played in campy style by a man! (Picture taken surreptitiously in the dark…)
Of course, there was also the Christmas hockey tournament that my son played in. Unfortunately, his team was not the winner. (Picture taken through cloudy glass.)
And last but not least, my husband brought home a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that the whole family got involved in and completed in two days! What’s the picture? In true Canadian fashion, hockey, of course!