Gather together with your friends and family to celebrate yet another year slowly coming to an end as you drink cocoa, warm up by the fire, and enjoy the childhood nostalgia of all the Christmas decorations.
From spectacular twinkling lights to unreal Christmas performances, Calgary has a lot to offer when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Here are 33 things you won’t want to miss out on this year!
Horse-drawn carriage on Commercial Drive (Christmas on The Drive)
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: 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 14 Avenue NW
What: Get in the holiday spirit at this Christmas extravaganza. Stroll through the Nerdy Wonderland consisting of comic book vendors, toy dealers, collectible retailers, and so much more. Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick will even be making an appearance.
When: Saturday, November 25 to Sunday, November 26
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Where: BMO Centre, Halls B and C – 20 Roundup Way SW
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: Along with the 45-foot Christmas tree they’ll be erecting, the Find Christmas Downtown event on November 23 will feature a performance by country music singer Dan Davidson, a fireworks display, and 150 other Christmas trees that will be decorated and donated to families. All trees will remain on display until December 20.
When: Thursday, November 23
Time: 6 pm
Where: CORE Shopping Centre – 324 8th Avenue 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: 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: Looking for an easy alternative for an impromptu holiday family meal? The Nash and Notable Restaurant are offering a Happy Chicken Dinner, which includes a wood roasted whole chicken, veggies, and all the fixings!
Northern Reflections Window Exhibition: First Snow (Buds of Buds)
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: 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: 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: Decorate gingerbread cookies, get vintage photos taken, visit the alpaca’s, paint snow, enjoy a wagon ride, and sing Christmas carols as you experience Christmas from years gone by. 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
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.