There’s officially one month left in 2017 – let’s make it a spectacular one!
December is the month to enjoy yuletide events, sip on delicious cocoa, cozy up by the fire, and munch on delicious Christmas baking. It’s truly the happiest time of year as it allows us to celebrate all the best things in life, making it the perfect way to bring 2017 to an end.
From holiday performances to local markets to fun snowy activities, Calgary has it all when it comes to winter holiday festivities. Here are 55 things happening in and around the city that you simply cannot miss out on this month!
What: Ski Mt. Norquay for only $2 on December 13 – yes that is less than a cup of coffee! If you thought this deal couldn’t get any better, then think again. Not only do you ski for $2, but your money is also donated to a local charity at the end of the season. Help them beat their $20,000 total from last year!
What: Lake Louise was rated as 2014 World’s most Beautiful Skating Rink and trust us, it definitely lives up to its reputation. Glide hand-in-hand with your special someone as you enjoy the tranquil views and take in the fresh mountain air. The lake is even lit during the evening so you can skate under the stars and then warm up by a cozy campfire. Skate rentals are available.
Where: 111 Lake Louise Drive
Admission: email or call the Concierge Team for prices and ice conditions before heading up.
What: Spend the afternoon sipping on a mug of hot cocoa as you tour around Banff in a snowy wagon ride with Banff Trail Riders. Be sure to dress accordingly.
When: Every Sunday between November 19 to December 17
Time: Noon to 4 pm
Where: The wagon leaves from the parking lot of the Whyte Museum – 111 Bear St, Banff
Hit the Slopes
What: Getting snow early this year means that our mountainous backyard is waiting for us with a fluffy layer of the white stuff, perfect for winter sports and activities. Take advantage and get some shredding in during this great pre-season, or take your snowshoes for an adventure around one of the many picturesque lakes that the Rockies have to offer. Each hill also has a variety of Christmas themed activities happening throughout the holiday season, be sure to check the websites before heading up so you don’t miss the festivities.
What: Join Santa, his elves and the Ice Princesses on the ice at Olympic Plaza for an exciting all-ages holiday fun-filled afternoon. You will also have the opportunity to donate toys for the KISS 95.9’s annual Toy Angel Campaign.
What: With an interpretive guide, take a moonlit walk through the forest and feast your eyes on the beauty of the Northern Lights and a sky full of stars, while sipping on steamy hot chocolate – it really doesn’t get much better than that. All photography levels welcome.
What: Calgary’s only tube park is the largest of its kind in Western Canada and now boasts 12 lanes, a four person tube option, and a dedicated magic carpet. A village including a food trailer, a deck with heaters, a fire pit, and washrooms have also been added for the 2017 season.
What: Now is your chance to grab yourself a pair of beautifully handcrafted boots – if you don’t own a pair already! Each shoe is designed here in Canada and ethically made in Mexico, so you can wear your shoes proudly knowing you’re supporting safe and responsible shoemaking production. Come be the first to see their Holiday 2017 Collection. #SupportCanadianDesigners
What: Calgary’s newest market has a whole lot of festive fun planned for this holiday season. Get your photo taken with an alpaca wearing a festive scarf, enjoy delish holiday treats, let Santa and Mrs. Claus know what is on your Christmas list, sit back and enjoy a sleigh ride, and so much more!
What: Everyone’s favourite local market is back and they are transforming Inglewood’s historic Yellow Warehouse into a cozy winter wonderland for the first three weekends in December. Shop over 150 vendors, engage with unique art pieces and interactive stations, and be sure to save room for a delicious snack from Food Truck Alley. They will also be collecting donations for the Calgary Food Bank and encouraging everyone to write a holiday card to the homeless for Make it Merry. Santa will of course be making an appearance and will be taking photos with everyone and their dog – literally! #locallove
What: Enjoy a free hot chocolate and Christmas treats by Pretty Sweet as you peruse the shop for unique, local holiday gems for everyone on your list. Inspired Findings will also be doing an exciting pop up with her beautiful wooden signs that you won’t want to miss!
When: Saturday, December 9
Time: 11 am to 9 pm
Where: Greater Goods Boutique and Tea Bar – 606 Meredith Road NE
Happy Chicken Dinner at The Nash + Notable
What: Enjoy an impromptu Christmas Dinner, without having to go to the hassle of cooking it yourself. Both The Nash and Notable Restaurant are offering a Happy Chicken Dinner to-go, which includes a wood roasted whole chicken, veggies, and all the fixings!
What: Nothing is more magical than celebrating Christmas in a wonderland of snow on the top of a mountain. Help out at Santa’s workshop, experience the Elf Interactive Centre, write Santa a letter, participate in a Christmas Treasure Hunt, stargaze with astronomers, watch Disney’s ‘Prep and Landing’ Christmas short film, and so much more. It’s truly a magical wonderland that the whole family can enjoy.
What: 2017 has been a rough year for our city, and, for some, December will be even harder. Show Calgary some love by volunteering a few hours of your time at an organization that needs your help, so that everyone is able to have a wonderful holiday season and our city can look towards a brighter future in the New Year! Here are a few initiatives that are currently looking for volunteers this month:
What: A town favourite, this annual event returns to celebrate 150 years of Canadian Christmas. Be sure to not miss George Lane Park light up, performances on the Calgary Stampede Stage, carolling, hot chocolate, and other family-friendly activities.
What: Hear all your favourite Holiday tunes being sung by the Christmas Cheer carollers along Stephen Avenue every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the Christmas season.
When: Every Tuesday and Thursday, November 23 to December 21
Time: 4:15 to 5:15 pm
Where: Stephen Avenue
Visit with Santa
What: No one said that a visit with Santa was strictly reserved for children. Bring the whole family and enjoy a few laughs while visiting this jolly ol’ man and making sure he knows what you want for Christmas. Plus, you’ll likely receive a memorable photo that can go up on your mantle as a permanent decoration!
What: The Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo never fail to amaze. Each year, this unforgettable winter tradition of fun activities and stunning lights warms the hearts of many. See the Calgary Zoo light up for seven weeks straight and help celebrate the 20th anniversary of everyone’s favourite holiday experience.
When: Friday, November 24 to January 6
Time: 6 to 9 pm
Where: The Calgary Zoo – 210 ST. Georges Drive NE, Calgary
Tickets: General (16+) $14.95, Child (3-15) – $11.95
What: Downtown Calgary shop windows will be getting a makeover this December, and it’ll be more than just a bit of paint. Using an Augmented Reality enabled app on your phone, you’ll be able to interact and experience each painted window destination, that will reflect various Christmas stories and memories of local artists. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite window through the app!
What: Every Saturday until Christmas, enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate, selfies with Santa, horse and wagon rides, a petting zoo, and four of your favourite Christmas classics up on the silver screen. The best part – it’s FREE!
What: Embrace winter wholeheartedly as you skate in front of the stunning Chateau Lake Louise while helping to raise money for a fantastic cause. Afterwards, you can warm up by a crackling fire as you roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate with your friends and family.
What: See the Calgary Hitmen play the Moose Jaw Warriors and bring a teddy bear to participate in this world-famous toss. In recent years they have collected over 300,000 stuffed toys that have gone to local groups and community partners. Let’s make an effort to beat that this year!
What: Take a break from the Holiday shopping hustle and take a stroll through the 45-foot tree decorated in the midst of the CORE shopping centre, along with 150 other sparkling trees in the surrounding area. There is no better way to get in the mood for a little holiday romance!
When: Until December 20
Time: 6 pm
Where: CORE Shopping Centre – 324 8th Avenue SW, Calgary
What: Go back in time for a more traditional form of Christmas from years ago. Tap into your inner child and decorate gingerbread cookies, get vintage photos taken, visit the alpaca’s, paint snow, enjoy a wagon ride, and even sing along to some Christmas carols. You can also find some unique holiday treasures as you peruse The Corner Emporium, Plaza Mercantile, Antiques and Collectables, Switzer’s Grocery & Confectionery, and the Toy Shoppe.
When: November 25 to December 17, 22 and 23
Time: 9:30 am – 4 pm
Where: Heritage Park – 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary
What: This festival of lights is the largest drive-by Christmas lights event in Calgary (and it’s free!). With over 300,000 lights and opening fireworks to start the celebration, this is a light show you won’t want to miss.
When: Saturday, December 2 to Monday, January 8
Time: Opening day 5 pm, then 6 pm to midnight daily
Where: Confederation Park – 14th Street NW, north of 24th Avenue, Calgary
What: This two-kilometer drive through in Spruce Meadows is lit up so festively that it’s undeniably special for anybody to see. Also free, this Christmas lights event will leave you feeling as though Christmas day is just one sleep away.
When: Saturday, December 9 to Sunday, January 7
Time: 5 to 10 pm
Where: Spruce Meadows – 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW
What: The Canadian Holiday train will pass by looking like a scene straight out of any Christmas movie ever, and will be presenting a boxcar stage, musical performances, and an important contribution to the local food bank. This is a Calgary light event you surely won’t want to miss out on.
When: Saturday, December 9, 2017
Where: Anderson C-Train Station – South C-train parking lot
Time: 6:45 to 7:45 pm
Price: Free! Bring non-perishable donations to support your local food bank.
What: Any excuse to dress up and hit the town during the holidays is always an exciting way to spend an evening. Plus, it’s just not the Christmas season without Scrooge and his spooky ghosts this heartfelt reproduction of Dickens’ classic tale.
What: Come see the talented multi-award-winning singer/songwriter, Steve Bell, in concert and let him charm you away with his songs, sonnets and memorable charm. 100% of the proceeds will go towards Her Legacy Campaign, which provides support to two very deserving local charities: Oxford House and Next Step Ministries. Come celebrate the holidays, while helping those who need it most this Christmas season.
When: Wednesday, December 6
Where: Jack Singer Concert Hall – 205 8th Avenue SE
What: Have your heart warmed by this beautiful story about a cherished friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a Spider named Charlotte. This classic story will bring back feelings of childhood nostalgia as you show your children and grandchildren this magical story.
What: Add some glamour to the holiday season by getting all spiffed up and heading to this magical recreation of “The Nutcracker.” For many, Clara and her Nutcracker bring back a warm childhood nostalgia as they brave the evil army of mice and dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Set to the motion of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music in an authentic Russian setting, this classic will have the whole family following along in awe.
When: December 15 to 17 and 21 to 24
Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14th Avenue NW
Kristy is a creative Communications and PR strategist, freelance writer, coffee enthusiast and wine connoisseur who has a strong passion for travelling, art, style and fashion. Check out her blog (FloralandBows.com) for a taste of YYC through the lens of a refined, sassy, PR girl working on being a successful #girlboss.