Butchart Gardens presents Magic of Christmas from Dec 1-Jan 6, 2020. The Gardens sparkle with tens of thousands of coloured lights and seasonal decorations, and miles of fresh evergreen swags. Marvel at the Twelve Days of Christmas displays tucked into the landscape, and hear traditional carollers and festive brass music from 5-9pm. Whirl around the outdoor ice skating rink. Skate times run on the hour during admission hours and are 40 minutes. Skate rentals available; children’s helmets on loan. Kids 12 years old and younger can bring a hand-crafted paper snowflake and exchange it for a cup of hot chocolate in the Coffee Shop. butchartgardens.com

Father Christmas in Old Town at Royal BC Museum from Dec 6-8, 13-15, 20-22 (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11am-3pm). Photos by donation. Then take in the sights and sounds of Christmas long ago in Old Town. Marvel at the huge Christmas tree, visit the wood-cobbled streets lined with festive garlands, and see the shops decorated with Christmas finery (until January 9, 2020). royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.

Canada’s National Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Showcase is at the Parkside Hotel & Spa’s atrium (810 Humbolt Street). Feast your eyes and nose on creative inspirations constructed out of gingerbread. This year’s theme: “Building a Diverse Community.” Vote for your favourite. All funds raised support Habitat for Humanity Victoria, helping bring strength, stability, and independence to families living in need of decent, affordable housing. From 9am-9pm until Jan 5. habitatvictoria.com/gingerbread-showcase.html.

Celebrate the 28th annual Annual Festival of Trees in support of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. The Bay Centre will transform into a lush forest of hand-decorated trees. As sponsors of this event, local businesses, organizations and individuals decorate the trees until Jan 6, 2020. Vote for your favourite tree. Admission is free, though a $2 donation is suggested for every vote. The Festival will also be held in Nanaimo at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre until January 6. bcchf.ca/fot.

Enjoy a classic downtown tradition with your family this holiday season. Free Horse-Drawn Trolley Rides running Saturdays and Sundays ((December 1, 2, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 from 1-5pm) until Dec 22, will circulate throughout downtown, making it easy to take in all of the sights and sounds of the Christmas celebrations. Stops at: Store St. and Chatham St. (in front of Capital Iron); Johnson St. near Wharf St. (in front of Willie’s Bakery); Langley St. at Bastion Square (across from Re-Bar); and Government St. at Fisgard St. (in front of CRD Plaza)—hop off here to see the Lights of Wonder display. downtownvictoria.ca.

Holiday Events at Market Square. The Nerdy Days of Christmas Craft Fair is on Nov 30 and Dec 1 from 11am-4pm. Bid on nerdy treasures in the silent auction and visit with Santa. Entry by donation with proceeds going to Victoria’s Hospitals Foundation. Celebrate Tuba Christmas on Dec 14 from 12:30-3:30pm. Tuba players from all over BC and the Pacific Northwest come together to perform in support of the Times-Colonist Christmas Fund. marketsquare.ca.

Christmas Night Market at Victoria Public Market (Thursdays until Christmas, open until 8pm) has everything you need for under the tree, and on the table. Santa will visit on December 7, 14 and 21 for free pictures (taken with your own camera) from 10am-3pm. Donations accepted on behalf of CFAX Santas Anonymous, with a Christmas Toy Drive on December 1 from 11am-3pm. Bring an unwrapped toy to exchange for a delicious treat. victoriapublicmarket.com.

Children’s Health Foundation Holiday Events at Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville Street. Choose from an assortment of festive activities including: Pancakes in Pajamas with Santa on Sunday Dec 15 from 10am-noon; Visit with Santa and have cookies and cocoa on Saturday Dec 7, 14 and 21 from 1-3pm. Proceeds support Children’s Health Foundation. islandkidsfirst.com.

The Christmas Express at the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, running over three weekends, Dec 6-8, Dec 13-15, and Dec 18-23 from 4-9pm. Ride behind Samson, the museum’s 1910 steam locomotive, through festive light displays and exhibits in the forest and on the trestle. Visit Santa Claus, dance to live Christmas music, and make a Christmas tree craft in the schoolhouse. Santa will ride the first train, leaving at 4:30pm and then will be in the main museum for pictures and visits. 2892 Drinkwater Road. bcforestdiscoverycentre.com.

Live Nativity Scene. The First Christmas, an outdoor Nativity pageant, features Wise Men from the east, the Angel Gabriel, shepherds with flocks, an innkeeper, King Harrod with his soldiers, townspeople, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. This outdoor depiction of the Christmas story runs four times nightly on Dec 21, 22 and 23 at 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8pm at Topaz Park, between Quadra and Blanshard. Parking is available at S.J. Willis school and the park’s lot off Quadra. Free. christmasnativity.ca.

Helmcken House Old-Fashioned Christmas at Royal BC Museum from Dec 17-31 (noon-4pm). Step through the doors of the oldest house in B.C., still on its original site, and experience what Christmas would have been like in Victoria over 100 years ago. Decorations, music, and first-hand accounts will take you back to Christmas past. St. Ann’s Schoolhouse will also be open. Free with museum admission or by donation. royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.

Milner Christmas Magic at Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach. Stroll through tens of thousands of lights, enjoy local musicians and storytellers, stop by Santa’s shop for a visit, pop into the Teddy Bear Cottage and try to count all of the old bears, and enjoy tea or hot chocolate in the tea room. Dec 6-8, Dec 13-15, and Dec 18-22 from 5-8:30pm (last entry at 8pm). Entry is by donation, with proceeds supporting Milner Gardens & Woodland. www2.viu.ca/milnergardens or call 250-752-6153.