A map of well-decorated houses

Finding Chilliwack’s Christmas cheer

Lights, visits with Santa, and live music round out final weekend before Christmas

While mild temperatures and green lawns may be dampening your Christmas spirit this week, there are plenty of ways to boost up the holiday cheer meter around town.

The event calendar at Minter Country Gardens is stuffed full of holiday-themed activities for all ages. Depending on the day you visit, you could visit with the Grinch, Santa, or Mrs. Claus. Minters has set up a cozy photo shoot area complete with Christmas tree and fireplace, which is open during store hours now until Christmas Eve.

While you’re there, check out the inspiring evening indoor light display, go on a candy cane scavenger’s hunt, ride the indoor Christmas train ($4 for those ages four and up), catch a holiday classic movie, or enjoy live musical entertainment. Check www.mintergardens.com for full details and costs.

The Christmas season is also in full swing up at Cultus Lake. The Cultus Lake Christmas is a free event for families to enjoy from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Dec. 18-21 at Cultus Lake Park. Activities include a home and business decorating contest, nightly caroling, music, visits from Santa, and more.

If you want to experience something indoors, Dickens Sweets on Alexander Ave. is running their very popular 16th Annual Animated Christmas Village, complete with St. Nick’s Workshop. The workshop, an Enchanted Forest, a Victorian Village and more are free to enjoy and are wheelchair accessible. Food donations are being accepted for the Salvation Army, and cash donations are being collected to purchase wheelchairs for third-world countries through the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation.

For times and dates of Santa’s visits, go to dickenssweets.com or call 604-793-1981.

If you’d like to be entertained from the comfort of a theatre seat, there are also several choices. The UFV Theatre department is presenting A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with a handful of showings left before closing night, Dec. 21. For more information, visit www.ufv.ca/theatre or call 604-795-2814.

And on Dec. 20, The Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra will be presenting A Celebration of Christmas, featuring soprano Sinead White, at the Cultural Centre at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit the Centre Box Office, or call 604-391-SHOW(7469), or visit www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca.

Finally, on Dec. 22, join St. Thomas Anglican Church for I’ll Be Home For Christmas, an evening of classic Christmas music and new tunes with Caroline Buckingham, Nicola Davies and Kiel Magis in the church hall (46048 Gore Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at the door or by calling 604-792-8521. Proceeds will benefit St. Thomas Anglican Church as well as local musician, Caroline Buckingham in her musical endeavours in New York City next March.

There are also many homes lit up for the holidays with dazzling light displays. The Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board has complied a list of the most decorated homes, and even compiled an online map with driving directions to about 60 homes. The addresses are listed in the Dec. 19 issue of the Real Estate Review, and the maps are available at the CADREB office (#1-8433 Harvard Place). They are also available online at www.cadreb.com. Click on the News and Statistics tab to find the 2014 Christmas Lighting Tour.