Time to swap your pumpkin spice latte for peppermint hot chocolate! This holiday season there are so many fun events and activities for your entire family that you are sure to be in a bright mood, regardless of how cold and wet it may get! From visits with Santa to lighted ships and a Polar Plunge, there are plenty of holiday activities in Vancouver and throughout Clark County to make your holidays merry and bright.

A Christmas Tail at ReTails Thrift Store

November 1: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
November 2: 10:00 a.m.
5000 East Fourth Plain Boulevard, Vancouver

The first glimmer of the holidays marches into ReTails Thrift Store at the beginning of November with its seasonal boutique, A Christmas Tail. Staged inside ReTails each year, the boutique gives shoppers access to a dashing array of donated holiday merchandise that’s been carefully preserved and stored away throughout the year.  Because ReTails is owned and operated by the Humane Society for Southwest Washington (HSSW), all proceeds help provide shelter animals with food and housing, medical support and adoption services.

To kick off the season, ReTails will host a preview event for ReTails Rewards members on the evening of Friday, November.  That day, the store will close early at 4:00 p.m. and reopen to members only from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Cookies and refreshments will be served to keep spirits high. Anyone can sign up to be a ReTails Rewards member for free at the store in advance of the preview or on the evening of November 1. Then, shop at ReTails throughout the season for all your gifts and decorating needs!

Holiday Events Vancouver Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl
See Santa and his reindeer, vote for your favorite business decorations and attend an ugly sweater pub crawl in Uptown Village this holiday season. Photo courtesy: Shyla Esko Bare

Wreath Decorating Party

November 4: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sixth Avenue Bistro
7904 NE 6th Ave, Suite 112, Vancouver

Start your holiday decorating with a one-of-a-kind DIY creation at a Wreath Decorating Party at Sixth Avenue Bistro. They will have an instructor there to guide you through the process. You will make a faux wreath that you can enjoy year after year. This is a 21-years-old or older event. Purchase tickets beforehand by calling 360-718-8028.

Holiday Bazaar

November 9: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mountain View High School
1500 SE Blairmont Drive, Vancouver

This Holiday Bazaar is huge, with over 200 tables of handcrafted gifts, decorations and anything else you may want to celebrate the season. The bazaar is the biggest fundraiser for the Mountain View High School band and orchestra programs.

Holiday Sip & Shop

November 14: 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Downtown Camas

Turn your shopping into a holiday event! Gather your friends and head to Downtown Camas for a festive holiday shopping experience! The Holiday Sip & Shop includes cocktail tastings, holiday music, shopping specials, caroling, treats, photo booth, raffle prices and more! Look for the elves throughout downtown – they will be handing out goodies and gift cards. With your ticket, you will receive a passport with 12 tasting locations and one free prize ticket. For more information, visit the Downtown Camas Association website.

Ladies Night & Holiday Bazaar

November 14: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Shorty’s Garden Center
10006 SE Mill Plain Boulevard, Vancouver

Shop from over 20 local vendors as well as Short’s Garden Center while listening to live music and enjoying a wine tasting. There will be raffles and door prizes as well.

Holiday Events Vancouver Nutcracker DanceWorks 1
Attend the Sugar Plum tea, see a preview of this year’s “The Nutcracker” and get tickets to see the full performance! Photo credit: Michael Verity Photography

The Sugar Plum Tea

November 17: 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
DanceWorks Performing Arts
11005 NE Fourth Plain Boulevard, Vancouver

This fun event is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, while supporting scholarships for young dancers! Attendees will be treated to a tea featuring sandwiches, pastries and a kid-friendly menu, along with a preview of this year’s performance of “The Nutcracker.” Price of tea includes a ticket to this year’s full performance of “The Nutcracker.” To purchase tickets, call DanceWorks at 360-892-5664.

Vancouver Farmers Market Holiday Market

November 29: 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
November 30: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
December 1: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hilton Hotel
301 W 6th Street, Vancouver

If you are looking for unique, local gifts for the people on your list—or maybe something for yourself—head to the Vancouver Farmers Markey Holiday Market. Last year they had over 80 vendors and this year’s is sure to be just as good. Find everything you could want from jewelry to yummy treats.

Holiday Activities Clark County Vancouver Turkey Trot
Burn some calories on Thanksgiving day at the Turkey Trot and Polar Plunge in Vancouver. Photo courtesy: Clark County Food Bank

Clark County Turkey Trot

November 28: 9:00 a.m.
Klineline Pond and Salmon Creek Park
1112 NE 117th Street, Vancouver

Burn off some calories so you can eat that extra piece of pumpkin pie at the Clark County Turkey Trot! This family friendly race day has a 5k Run/Walk, 10K Run and the fun Polar Plunge! Sign up now, 100 percent of the proceeds goes to the Clark County Food Bank. Learn more at the Turkey Trot website.

Vancouver Rotary Foundation Community Tree Lighting

November 29: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Esther Short Park
6th Street and Columbia Street, Vancouver

Head out to Esther Short Park the day after Thanksgiving for the grand Vancouver Rotary Foundation Community Tree Lighting ceremony, officially kicking off the holiday season. There will be music, Santa and his elves, Anna and Elsa, horse-drawn wagon rides around the park and more. Watch the tree come alive as 12,000 lights are turned on at the big moment. In addition, stop be Divine Consign in Vancouver and check their 12 beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Trees will be on display November 9 – December 15.

Christmas Tree Train

November 30
December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22
Chelatchie Prairie Railroad

Departing from their Yacolt station, the Christmas Tree Train takes you on a fun ride with hot cider, hot chocolate and cookies. Santa will be onboard with a gift for each child, so be sure to bring your camera! Family tree packages include a fresh-cut 6- to 7-foot tree and four train tickets. The Winter Finale Train is December 21-22 – supply of trees may be limited. Reserve early to secure a tree and indoor seating at Chelatchie Prairie Railroad website.

Holiday Events Portland Christmas Ships
The new Vancouver Waterfront is an excellent place to view the Christmas Ships on the Columbia River. Photo courtesy: Christmas Ships Inc.

Christmas Ships Parade

December 5, 10, 11, 17, 19
Columbia River/Vancouver area

A Vancouver tradition your entire family will love, the Christmas Ships! There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the colored lights reflected on the Columbia River. The new Vancouver Waterfront will be the perfect place to take in this tradition. You can walk along the Waterfront Renaissance Trail to view. Or, make a reservation at one of the many waterfront restaurants and watch the boats glide by while enjoying a wonderful meal: Joe’s Crab Shack, WildFin American Grill, Warehouse ’23, Twigs Bistro, Beaches Restaurant, McMenamins on the Columbia, and Who Song and Larry’s.

Hometown Holidays

December 6: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Downtown Camas

Hometown Holidays is a great way to celebrate the season in downtown Camas! There is be a tree lighting at 6:30 p.m., complete with snow and fireworks, cocoa, photos with Santa, live entertainment by local students, hay rides, holiday shopping, art and more. There will be a free shuttle service sponsored by Camas School District to the tree lighting and a pedestrian corridor to make walking about easy and safe.

Miracle on 34th Street

December 6-8, 12-15, 19-21
Magenta Theater
1108 Main Street, Vancouver

The Magenta Theater is bringing “Miracle on 34th Street” to life this holiday season, starting on December 6. Directed by Brenda McGinnis, this version is adapted by Mountain Community Theater from the novel by Valentine Davies and based on the motion picture. It’s a production your entire family will love. For tickets, visit the Magenta Theater website.

Christmas Tea at Pomeroy Farm

December 7, 14, 18, 21, 28: 12:00 p.m.
Pomeroy Living History Farm
20902 NE Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt

There is nothing like Christmas on a farm! Plan a ladies’ day after shopping, or a romantic date. The Christmas tea includes three sandwiches, four desserts, scones and tea. After your tea, enjoy a tour of the historic log house, which will be decorated for the holidays. To reserve your tea, call 360-686-3537.

“The Nutcracker” Presented by DanceWorks Performing Arts

December 20-22
Fort Vancouver High School

DanceWorks Performing Arts puts on this holiday tradition year after year. For many, “The Nutcracker” ballet is a must-do each season. Your entire family will love watching over 100 dancers from several local dance schools perform.  Proceeds from ticket sales help fund scholarships for local dancers. Find tickets at the DanceWorks Performing Arts website.

Holiday events Clark County Holiday Ball Free Clinic
Get all dressed up and celebrate the season fora good cause at the Holiday Ball December 7. Photo courtesy: Free Clinic of Southwest Washington

Holiday Ball

December 7: 5:30 p.m.
Heathman Lodge
7801 NE Greenwood Drive, Vancouver

This annul Holiday Ball is a fundraiser for the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington. Dance the night away after a wine/champagne reception, sit-down dinner and an exciting program. The Holiday Ball is a great adult-only date night holiday activity in Vancouver for a good cause. Proceeds go towards medical care, medicine, supplies, lab testing, and medical equipment for low-income, uninsured and under-insured members of the community. Purchase Holiday Ball tickets online, or by calling 360-313-1388.

Light up the Village

Uptown Village, Vancouver

The Uptown Village Association in encouraging businesses in the area to “light up the village” by decorating their store for the holidays! There will be a competition, with visitors being able to vote on their favorite business between December 8, when the Reindeer Block Party happens, to December 14, the day of the Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl. The People’s Choice Award will be announced the night of the crawl. You can text your vote by texting “lights” to 123456 or by casting a ballot inside the business.

Holiday Events Vancouver Reindeer Block Party
Don’t miss this chance to meet Santa and real reindeer! Photo courtesy: Shyla Esko Bare

Reindeer Block Party

December 8: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Uptown Village
Main Street (between 23rd and 24th), Vancouver

Head to Vancouver and see the adorable reindeer that help Santa each year! The Reindeer Block Party closes Main Street to cars for some Christmas fun. Seriously, if you have not seen these tiny deer in person, you are missing out – they are one of the cutest creatures on this Earth and your children will delight at seeing them! You can also enjoy local craft vendors, free activities and crafts, live music and more! You can even get a free photo with Santa.

Classic Holiday Movies

Starting December 13
Kiggins Theatre
1011 Main Street, Vancouver

Get out of the cold and warm up with some of your favorite classic holiday movies back on the big screen! The Kiggins Theatre will be playing all your favorites including “Elf” and “Christmas Vacation” (December 13-17), “A Christmas Carol” (December 18), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (December 20-24), and “White Christmas” (December 20-25). Get your tickets in advanced and save $3 a ticket. For more information visit the Kiggins Theatre website.

Holiday events Fort Vancouver Christmas at the fort
Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas event at Fort Vancouver December 14. Photo credit: Junelle Lawry

Christmas at the Fort

December 14: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
1001 E 5th St, Vancouver

Experience an 1840s Christmas with Christmas at the Fort! This is something your entire family will cherish forever. Not only will you get to see carolers and other reenactors in their Victorian finest, but visitors will be invited to participate in activities residents of Fort Vancouver would have done over 175 years ago! This includes wreath making, holiday beverages (wassail anyone?), caroling and more.

A VSO Holiday Celebration

Holiday Events Clark County Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert
A VSO Holiday Celebration happenign December 14-15 is a great family-friendly event. Photo courtesy: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

December 14-15
Skyview Concert Hall
1300 NW 139th Street, Vancouver

There is nothing like a lovely symphony during the holidays. Featuring guest artist Charlotte Pistor, soprano and dancers from Columbia Dance Center, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Holiday Celebration is something you won’t want to miss. Full of Christmas carol favorites, it’s sure to put you in the spirit of the holidays. You can purchase tickets on the VSO website.

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