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How To Be Festive But Frugal: A Guide



As the holiday season is approaching everyone is searching for the best and trying to control the budget. So calm yourself down, if you want to enjoy more and worry less about spending too much. Here is your complete guide to be frugal and festive during the holidays.

1: Planning
Making a list of the people and what you want to give them lies at the top. More important is to create a budget along with the names just to set a limit to avoid spending too much. Then find the gift according to the bill.
2: Shop strategically
Search online for better deals. Hunt for the promotions. Start comparing the prices and shop the best. This is the best time to use rewards and coupons. My Points, Inbox Dollars, ShopKick, Checkout 51 are some of the best reward apps. Don’t forget about ‘Free Shipping Day’ that lies on December 18 this year. Avoid self- gifting just because things are on sale. Make sure to buy only those that are really in need.
3: Gift your Skills
Become more creative in terms of wrapping, try to use leftovers. To decorate with flair and exploring DIY, best choice is to take help from pinterest. Stock up on the basics like ribbons, bows, handmade gift cards and front door wreaths. Create gift baskets, use baked cookies. Best would be going to the dollar store or to local thrift stores and start making on your own.
4: Don’t forget extras
Snagging freebies is the best, one can do. Just search ‘freebies’ on google and it will provide with great results or search on ‘living on the cheap website’ for local guide to freebies, discounts and deals. Another option to enjoy some cool, free performances and other entertainment is to go to local malls, parks, recreation centers, community organizations and churches.
5: Prioritize and give back
Double check the list and cut out the unnecessary stuff. Prioritize people and gifts according to the budget. Keep stick to the list and downsize holiday plans if necessary. Along with exchanging gifts and celebrating, choose random acts of kindness during this holiday season. Try donating to charity activities, serving free food to poor, giving happy notes and helping the people in need by volunteering at various locations like homeless shelters, local hospitals or soup kitchens.

Start planning now as it’s never too early to start preparing.

Dilpreet Kaur is an ambitious student of journalism and writer/contributor for KPU's The Runner who enjoys travel, blogging, photography, sketching, writing and the topic of feminism.

Arts and Entertainment

Top 8 Must-Visit Christmas Events in Vancouver 2019



Let the festivities begin with Christmas markets, holiday performances,
and thousands of twinkling lights in Vancouver.

Tis the season for cold winter nights, hot cups of apple cider, and enjoying all things festive. The holidays are upon us, and one of the best things about this time of year in Vancouver is the amount of Christmas cheer in the city.

Whether you’ve been going to the German market for years or you’ve always wanted to take the gondola to skate on top of Grouse Mountain, Vancouver offers something for everyone—and every occasion.

Dress up for Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker, bundle up for the Bright Nights Christmas Train, or see your favourite holiday movie interpreted by the VSO. Here are the top eight events happening in Vancouver this 2019 Christmas season. And they’re perfect for the whole family.

1. Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Queen Elizabeth Theatre
December 20 – 22, 2019

Spend a night at the ballet and experience Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker with the accompaniment of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra bringing Tchaikovsky’s beautiful and memorable score to life. You’ll escape inside Clara’s journey through the Land of Sweets, see the Nutcracker battle the evil Mouse King, and marvel at the grace of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

2. Fly Like Santa

FlyOver Canada at Canada Place
November 21, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Get ready for an experience that truly takes your breath away. FlyOver Canada’s family-friendly flight simulation ride gets a Christmas upgrade over the holidays. You can smell the festive scents, see all the twinkle lights, and feel the wind on your face as you soar across Canada and the North Pole.

3. Aurora Winter Festival

PNE Hastings Park
November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Step into the winter village of Aurora and see the holiday magic come to life. You could spend an entire day experiencing the skating rink, light displays, market, amusement rides, and a massive tube slide in the middle of it all. It’s touted as Canada’s largest winter festival, and it certainly lives up to its name.

4. Vancouver Christmas Market

Jack Poole Plaza
November 20 – December 24, 2019

Entering its tenth year, the Vancouver Christmas Market is a holiday staple in this city. With over 80 huts of local vendors, you can fill your belly with German treats, walk through the towering Christmas tree with 36,000 lights, and hop on the carousel—just make sure you don’t spill your cider (or mulled wine).

5. Bright Nights Christmas Train

Stanley Park
November 28, 2019 – January 1, 2020

If you want to see what three million dazzling lights looks like, head to Bright Nights at Stanley Park this season with the whole family. Grab a hot chocolate, ride the Christmas train, and experience the plaza full of breath-taking light displays. You’ll be singing carols all night long.

6. Robson Square Ice Rink

800 Robson Street
November 30, 2019 – February 28, 2020

Enjoy a quintessential holiday date night and skate hand-in-hand in the middle of Robson Square. Bring your own skates or rent a pair and skate for free in the heart of downtown Vancouver. This isn’t your average skating rink—there’s something extra magical about this holiday tradition.

7. Home Alone at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

The Orpheum
December 18 & 20, 2019

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal! Experience the classic holiday movie Home Alone in a completely new way—accompanied by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Settle into your seat and hear the movie score played live while you watch Kevin McCallister protect his home.

8. Peak of Christmas

Grouse Mountain
November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Take the gondola up, up, up to the peak of Grouse Mountain and experience Christmas underneath the stars. Skate along the 8,000 square foot pond, marvel at the light installations, and enjoy a holiday movie at the Theatre in the Sky.

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Arts and Entertainment

The Christmas Store at Potters, Now Open for 2019 Season



Western Canada’s largest Christmas store returns to South Surrey, through Dec.24

A beloved tradition since 2004, The Christmas Store at Potters has returned for another wondrous holiday season.

Each year, Potters Nursery transforms itself into Western Canada’s largest Christmas store, boasting more than 28,000 square feet devoted to all things yuletide. Open now through December 24, The Christmas Store at Potters is the destination to find tens of thousands of holiday-related items.

The buyers at Potters shop the world for The Christmas Store, including decor that’s tasteful yet unusual, as well as decorations you simply won’t find elsewhere. Their extensive line of ornaments (more than 50,000!) make for great personalized gifts and come in a wide variety of themes, including pets, travel, food, “Baby’s First Christmas,” and much more.

An attraction not to be missed is the 3,000-square-foot “Dark Room,” illuminated by an incredible array of themed tree-light sets, including favourites like The Grinch, Star Wars, Peanuts, Christmas Vacation, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and even retro Bubble Lights. New for 2019 is WhoVille, with a wide variety of Grinch-themed items including teddy bears, ornaments, mugs and snow globes. Also look out for (not that you can miss it!) Potters’ “Sweet Tree” — an upside-down white tree with a three-foot scoop of “ice cream” at the top, complemented by ornaments in the shape of ice cream cones, donuts, cupcakes and more.

For the foodies, the Gourmet Food area offers thousands of products you won’t easily find elsewhere, including multiple flavours of popcorn, hot chocolate, jams and sauces (including irresistible ice cream sauces like Butter Tart Caramel). New specialty product lines include Cranberries Naturally from Fort Langley, farm-direct B.C. honey, and classic mince tarts from Scotland. Saturdays and Sundays also include food demos and live music.

Be sure to leave enough time to check out the other impressive sections, including Petland, an area entirely devoted to spoiling your best friend with pet-themed stockings, cushions and tree ornaments; the Nutcracker Room, with nutcrackers in short, medium and tall designs, and in every price range; ladies’ fashions; and trendy gifts for men.

Potters also has toys, games, Coca-Cola collectibles, stockings (50-plus kinds!) and stocking stuffers, as well as unique gifts for those hard-to-buy-for adults. Many Potters regulars bring their lists and do all their shopping in one trip. Plan on spending a couple of hours here — almost everyone does.

The Christmas Store at Potters is located at 19158 48th Ave. in Surrey.
Phone: 604.576.5011.

Open daily through December 24
Mon – Wed: 9am – 6pm
Thu – Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat: 9am – 6pm
Sun: 9am – 5:30pm

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Arts and Entertainment

Interview with Inderveer Sodhi, Director of Monster, a drama based on gang violence in Surrey



VIDEO: Surrey604 video journalist, Desire Amouzou sits down over coffee at Coffee Monster in Guildford, with first time Director, Producer and Actor, Inderveer Sodhi to discuss his debut film ‘MONSTER,’ a coming-of-age drama based on gang violence in Surrey.

MONSTER (2019) is a feature-length narrative that dives into the humanistic side of gang violence, so often it is only showcased from a limited perspective which usually doesn’t encompass the youth who are in close proximity to the issue everyday.

Sodhi’s team was comprised of a little over 30 individuals from the lower-mainland all in their early twenties. Sodhi also composed the music of the film himself. The film was shot in a mere 6 days with its total preparation and post-production time surpassing just over a year and a half. The film tells the story of Harman in three stages of his life, when he’s 10, 18, and 20 years old.

Thematically the narrative focuses on the changing identity and cultures of young men in a diverse city like Surrey. This isn’t a documentary, but a fictional drama based on Inderveer’s research and experiences growing up in Surrey.

MONSTER Full Movie (2019)

‘Monster’ premiered on October 17th at Landmark Cinemas Guildford and is now available on digital. Stream now on Amazon Prime Video in the US and YouTube (above). The runtime of the film is 1hr 20 min.

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Arts and Entertainment

Release of short video (90 seconds) of upcoming new documentary film Emergence: Out of the Shadows!



Sher Vancouver releases short video (90 seconds) of upcoming
documentary film – Emergence: Out of the Shadows

Surrey, British Columbia – Sher Vancouver’s first film, My Name Was January, won 14 international awards and garnered an amazing 52 official selections at film festivals around the world. In addition, My Name Was January was eligible to enter the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Short Documentary in 2019.

Following on this success, Sher Vancouver Founder Alex Sangha is producing a second short documentary film, Emergence: Out of the Shadows.


Emergence: Out of the Shadows (Documentary)

Explore the taboo topic of being gay or lesbian in the Punjabi community of Metro Vancouver and abroad. Kayden tells a poignant story of family rejection and self-discovery while embracing his newfound family and life. Parents and their children discuss the struggles they have endured and overcome to preserve the family through generations to come. Success often means setting aside long-established culture and tradition for compassion, love, and acceptance.

“It is very rich to hear from the parents whose acceptance gay and lesbian children seek. For the parents, it is so difficult when teachings or loyalties are split between children and what they may have “known” deeply to be right or moral all their lives,” states Alex Sangha.

“Many South Asian parents with gay and lesbian children also do not know any other parents with gay and lesbian children. They are isolated with limited understanding. Emergence will help fill this gap and empower and save lives and create a sense of community and critical awareness,” states director Vinay Giridhar.

Here is an exclusive first-hand interview with the producer and director:

About the Producer

Alex has a Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy from the Department of Government at the London School of Economics, and a Master of Social Work from Dalhousie University. In addition, he has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of British Columbia. Alex is a Registered Clinical Social Worker and Registered Clinical Counsellor.

Alex has worked as a Team Leader, Clinician, Social Worker, Instructor, and Youth Counsellor. He currently runs his own private counselling practice in North Delta. Alex’s family is originally from Punjab, India and is of Sikh background. Alex is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada.

About the Director

Vinay completed the Digital Graphic Design Program at Vancouver Community College and a Diploma in Classical Animation at Vancouver Film School. Vinay completed the animated short film “Love’s Age.” Vinay is the current Art Director and Graphic Designer for a South Asian Lifestyle Magazine.

Vinay has edited numerous short videos and has done significant film and video, as well as art and design work for Sher Vancouver and the My Name Was January documentary film project. Vinay is originally from Kerala, India and currently lives in Surrey, B.C.


Sher Vancouver has signed an agreement with OUTtv to broadcast the film, as well as make it available on their online OUTtvGo channel, after the film festival circuit.

Emergence: Out of the Shadows will also be distributed to the educational market in Canada and the USA through Moving Images Distribution which is a non-profit social justice distributor based in Vancouver. A discussion guide for teacher’s will be created to go along with the film.


We gratefully acknowledge funding assistance from:

  • OUTtv
  • Vancity
  • MoveUP
  • Unifor Local 3000 Canada

Sher Vancouver is in need of funds to complete this important project!

If you would like to donate or become an official sponsor of this documentary film please contact for an official sponsorship kit.

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Arts and Entertainment

Four Fantastic Days Out in Surrey



When it comes to keeping yourself entertained, Surrey is a city with plenty to offer, as locals know all too well. Filled with a host of family-friendly days out, as well as top-notch bars and eateries, art galleries, and cultural treasures, it really does have the perfect option for every itinerary.

At a loose end and looking for some great ideas to keep yourself occupied? Then here are four fantastic days out for you to enjoy.

Pay a Visit to Bear Creek Park:

Surrey is famed for its beautiful scenery and wide-open spaces, so if you find yourself in need of some entertainment, one thing there’s no shortage of is outdoor attractions. Bear Creek Park is popular with visitors and locals alike, and if you haven’t paid it a visit already this autumn, you really are missing out. Filled to the brim with everything from picturesque hiking trails through to picnic areas, a running track, and even an outdoor swimming pool, we advise taking a hamper and making a day of it. Don’t forget to stop and admire the gardens while you’re there, as the backdrop of cottonwoods, western red cedars, confiders, and azaleas is a truly spectacular sight to behold.

Visit the Historic Stewart Farm:

If you have a thirst for history, we have the perfect pick for you. The Historic Stewart Farm offers a fascinating glimpse into what life would have been like for the pioneer family who lived there between 1880 and 1944. Built in a Victorian style, the property’s exterior is utterly charming, but the interior is where you’ll find yourself truly mesmerized. Dressed in period costume, staff will take you on a tour of the archaic site, giving you an unparalleled opportunity to step back in time. Once you’re done, you can explore the surrounding gardens and farmland, to soak up the beautiful views and sit down for a picnic.

Spend an Evening at Playtime Gaming:

If you’re looking for something a little different to do, why not spend an evening at Playtime Gaming? Located in Surrey, this local casino seeks to offer a community gaming experience for both visitors and locals to enjoy. Providing a range of options, including slot machines and electronic blackjack, its main draw is its regularly held bingo sessions. Boasting comfortable seating, unique table layouts, and electronic touch screen terminals, this is a great way to spend an evening with friends. You could even play online bingo at if you wanted to practice beforehand. With plenty of offers to choose from, it’s a great chance to get a handle on the game in advance.

Visit Vinoscenti Vineyards for Some Wine Tasting:

If you’d like to spend a day feeling cultured, Vinoscenti Vineyards might just be the perfect place for you to visit. Offering not only wine tasting but a tour of the vineyards and the many beautiful spots surrounding the winery, it’s a great location for a relaxing afternoon with friends. While the highlight is having the chance to sample some of its finest vintages while soaking up your stunning surroundings, good company is an added bonus.

Isn’t it time you started exploring some of Surrey’s most special treasures?

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