Give From the Heart Friday (December 3), catch CBC Radio's 18th Annual Food Bank Day at the Pacific Centre rotunda. See, and hear, your favourite personalities as they try to beat last year's record. Give money, bring food, and know that 80,000 of your fellow British Columbians rely on food banks each month; 40 percent are families, and one-third are children. Live broadcasts and entertainment take place from 6 to 8:30 a.m., noon to 2 p.m., and 4 to 6 p.m. with some truly juicy prizes in return for donations.
Christmas Construction Spend Sunday afternoon (December 5) workshopping at the Cookschool at the Cookshop (555 West 12th Avenue) and you'll leave with a ready-to-move-into gingerbread house, landscaped yard included. Your $79 fee includes all materials and building help. Call 604-873-5683 to register. No flimsy excuses: if you can't make this one, a second session happens next Sunday (December 12).
Neighbourly Touch Cozy sums up the Christmas fresh sheet at One Restaurant Lounge (1 West Cordova Street), on until the end of the year. Samples: turkey-and-walnut rolls with cranberry dip ($8.99), smoked monkfish with oven-dried-tomato/black-olive relish and garlic mashed potatoes ($18.49), and sticky date pudding with creamy toffee sauce ($6.49). Next warming thought: partial proceeds go to the Union Gospel Mission.
Star Fare Three courses to tickle the Sagittarian palate by chef Steven Balasam make the menu Monday (December 6) at Star Anise (1485 West 12th Avenue) part of the ongoing Astrological Dinners hosted by Teresa Waclawik. Astrologer Dawn Muncaster provides charts. Live entertainment from jazz pianist James Newhouse and door prizes are also part of the evening, $85, including taxes and tip. Call 604-732-5538 for reservations. Capricorns assemble January 17.
Spicy Development No, they don't have that Guinness record breaking gingerbread man. Instead, this year Hyatt Regency Vancouver (655 Burrard Street) chef Javier Alarco has created a humungous 1.5-by-4.2-metre UNICEF themed gingerbread display. Also on show is Gingerbread Lane, 30 houses baked and decorated by local high-school students and professional chefs. This Sunday and the two following (December 5, 12, and 19), a donation to UNICEF lets you embellish your own gingerbread person from 2 to 5 p.m., while quantities last.