Cold Hands, Warm Heart: How to Give Back this Holiday Season

For many of us, the holidays are a cherished time of year where we gather with friends and family, enjoy good food and walk through streets draped with boughs of evergreens and twinkling lights to shop for gifts to give the people we love. For many others, the holidays are hard, a time fraught with insecurities of food, housing or finances – but you can help! There are lots of ways to celebrate the season while supporting local charities that help vulnerable citizens get the support they need. No matter where you’re staying, whether it’s in Sooke or right downtown Victoria, we’ve made a list of the best ways to support local charities and organizations that are fun and celebratory! Because at the end of the day, isn’t that what this holiday is really about?

Holiday Hamper 

If there’s one thing that we can all agree on is that kids are cuckoo for Christmas. However, there are many children whose families aren’t able to meet the expectations of the season and that’s where CFAX Santas Anonymous comes in. This incredible organization provides families with presents for each child in the household, three bags of non-perishable food and a $75 grocery gift card so that their caregivers can purchase perishable items to ensure that over the Christmas break, children have healthy meals. No matter where you are, you can help this incredible cause and donate a gift for a child or help a family in need with a food hamper! Simply log in from any EMR property, buy a food hamper or visit the virtual tree of wishes page and follow the three easy steps to help ensure that every child can wake up on Christmas morning to gifts under their tree.

 Festival of Trees at The Bay Center

For almost three decades Pacific Center has hosted the Festival of Trees and the large shopping mall downtown Victoria, turns into an indoor forest of decorated trees. This beloved, annual event has over fifty one-of-a-kind trees on each level of the mall. From comedic to ornamental, abstract to traditional there is a tree that’ll stand out for everyone! So while you’re visiting Victoria and admiring the high ceilings dripping with twinkling lights, enjoying the excellent holiday shopping and soaking up the atmosphere, make sure you participate in a holiday tradition that supports children’s mental health programs through the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

13th Annual Gingerbread Showcase 

If you love baking shows and want to see what our local bakers and culinary experts can do with the spicy, seasonal confectionery, this is a must see event! The event is set to display some incredible works with the 2021 theme of The Future of Home which aims to imagine how we can make a smaller impact on our planet. For those staying right downtown Victoria, you can browse the displays, vote for your favourite and make a donation. All donations go to support Habitat for Humanity which helps mobilize volunteers and community partners to build simple, decent, affordable housing for lower income families in the Greater Victoria Region. This annual tradition is celebrating 13 amazing years so head over to the lobby of the lovely Parkside Hotel & Spa and the other three partner locations until January 2nd to take a peek! 

The IEOA Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive 

This year, the organizers of the Truck Light Convoy are pleased to welcome the crew back for another parade to ring in the holiday season! Beginning at 5:45 on December 4th at Ogden Point, the parade will follow Dallas road, go through Oak Bay, then double back and head west to downtown. It’ll then make its way north into the heart of Langford near Western Speedway. It’s a beloved tradition and a perfect way to get in the spirit and donate to the local food drives. There will be donation spots along the route but if you prefer, you can always make a donation online to support these vital organizations. Love the idea but don’t want to stand in the cold? This year, the organization will have a live stream to ensure that those who can’t be there in person, can be there in spirit. 

Oak Bay Beach Hotel Movie Nights

For many years, the Oak Bay Beach hotel has hosted holiday movie nights in their incredible David Foster Foundation Theater and this year, they’re back with bells on! Simply purchase your tickets to the movie of your choice here and you’ll be treated to complimentary parking, freshly popped popcorn, holiday sweets and bottled water for your evening. This is a perfect evening whether you’re staying in Sidney or right in Victoria for some holiday fun! A portion of each ticket sale is donated to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation who help raise funds for medical equipment, special projects, education and research at all the hospitals in the Greater Victoria Area.