December is a special month that is comprised of many beautiful moments that make up an entire season of fun and delicious memories spent with the people that you love.
There is seriously nothing better than curling up in an ugly Christmas sweater with a cup of steamy hot chocolate, in front of a crackling fire and twinkling tree or the lingering scent of fresh Christmas baking filling up your kitchen.
What: Now that winter seems to have finally settled in for the long haul, it’s time for the winter activities to commence. Grab a few friends, some hot chocolate and bundle up in your warmest, yet stylish winter attire and go skating on one of Calgary’s many outdoor rinks that are well maintained by either the city or volunteers within the community. Don’t own a pair of skates? Rent a pair at your nearest outdoor center or at specific rinks around the city – see website more for details!
What: Take a ride into your very own winter fairy tale! Pop champagne and drink steamy hot cider as you cuddle beneath a warm, cozy blanket of a horse drawn sleigh. Listen to the sleigh-bells jingle as the horses take you on a journey through glaciers, meadows, frozen waterfalls and other magical gems in the picturesque landscape of the Canadian Rockies – it doesn’t get more romantic than that. Don’t forget to check the weather report before you head out to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride!
What: If you’re new to the world of snowshoeing or cross-country skiing or don’t feel comfortable venturing out on your own, book yourself on a tour or find a group of friends and reserve a private outing. A certified guide will lead you through the mountainous winter wonderland and provide you with hot chocolate and cookies, along with snowshoes and skis if you don’t have your own.
Where: Kananaskis Village Center – 1 Mt. Sparrowhawk Cresent
Group: $69.00/person; $39.00/6-14 years old; Free for 5 and under.
Private: $89.99/adult; $64.99/youth 6-14 years; Free for 5 and under. Minimum booking of 2 adults or $180/tour. 20% off for private tours of 4-6 people.
What: Choose to either run 5km or walk 1km, whatever your fitness level will permit, while raising money for the Salvation Army. Each level of pledged donations you reach you will receive a free t-shirt and Running Room gift card, along with the added bonus of helping a family or individual make ends meet this Christmas – everybody wins!
What: Ski Mt. Norquay for only $2 on December 14th – 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: Every Saturday until Christmas enjoy 4 of your favourite Christmas classics up on the silver screen. The best part – it’s FREE! Start the series off with an old time favourite, ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ hang out with Buddy the elf in ‘Elf”, feel all the feels in the romantic drama ‘The Holiday’ and go on an adventure with Kevin McCallister in ‘Home Alone’
When: Every Saturday between December 3 and December 24
What: Enjoy a complimentary hot chocolate and coffee as you roam the streets of Kensington enjoying local holiday shopping, Christmas carolers, horse and wagon rides, selfies with jolly old Saint Nick and more. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy!
When: Every Saturday between November 26 to December 24
Volunteer at a local Charity
What: 2016 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: Babies and art rarely go together, so this is the perfect opportunity if you have an infant and are interested in seeing the Glenbow’s current temporary exhibition, “1920’s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group.” Bring your baby (under 2 years) for an infant friendly 1 hour tour of the exhibition and be transported into the vibrant life of the Jazz Age in the 1920’s in Montreal.
What: Always wondered why we hang stockings? Or what is so special about trimming the tree? Learn about old-fashioned Christmas traditions and what a classic Christmas on the prairies used to look like at the turn of the century at this exhibition held at the Okotoks Art Gallery, throughout the month of December.
Where: Okotoks Art Gallery – 53 North Railway Street
What: If you love to dress up and you love to ski then you are in luck! Grab your Jolly St. Nick, Mrs. Clause, Reindeer or Elf costume and ski for free on Christmas at MT. Norquay. It’s truly the best Christmas gift of all!
What: Want to check out some beautiful light displays, without having to break the bank? Check out the Calgary Christmas Lights Map Marker and drive around the city to holiday music, as you discover the many creative light displays that Calgarians have put up at their homes.
What: Transport into the magical Kingdom of Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince in this authentic Russian Ballet, proudly performed in collaboration with the Alberta Ballet and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Watch as the stage comes alive in the famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the battles they undergo with the mischievous army of life size mice. It’s a holiday performance you won’t want to miss!
Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14th Avenue NW
When: December 16 to 24 –Weekdays at 7pm,
Saturday and Sunday at 1pm & 6pm
What: The Calgary Youth Singers presents the wonderful and joyful performance of “Toy Wonder,” a heartfelt story about a toy and his journey through 8 decades of Christmas memories. Also, help support the Toy Angels Campaign by bringing an unwrapped, new toy to the performance and ensure that one more Calgary child has a toy under the tree this Christmas.
Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14th Avenue NW
What: Relive this iconic Christmas favourite by Charles Dickens in Theatre Calgary’s 30th anniversary of the production. Laugh, cry and feel the joy as you follow alongside Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Stephen Hair, on his unique journey to discover the holiday spirit and the true meaning of Christmas. Bah humbug!
What: Children of all ages will fall in love with this magical rendition of the original Disney Classic, Beauty and the Beast. Warm your heart with the beloved soundtrack of this holiday musical including everyone’s favourite, Be our Guest!
What: This Christmas classic is celebrating it’s 75 th year of spreading holiday joy on the silver screens! Allow the compassion and kindness that George Bailey embodies and the love he has for his family and the Bedford Falls community, to enter your hearts this Christmas season as you experience this live rendition of this wonderful holiday favourite.
Where: Pumphouse Theatre – 2140 Pumphouse Avenue SE
What: Seriously, who doesn’t have a soft spot for George Bailey and his hilarious good spirited guardian angel Clarence? Experience this heartfelt holiday classic as it comes to life in a live 1940’s radio style broadcast on the Lunchbox Theatre stage. Remember, “when you hear a bell that means an angel just received his wings!”
What: A Stampede talent show, a guitar playing teenager and handsome time traveler, could it get any more Calgarian than that? Well, minus the time traveller perhaps – but you get the point. Laugh along to jokes about life in #yyc in this modern day Calgary adaptation of this unique British fairy tale.
What: Spend over $100 at any of the participating businesses on 4th street and bring your receipt to the WURST patio to receive a FREE Christmas tree – yes you read that right! Talk about killing two birds with one stone! * FREE Christmas trees are limited in quantity to the first 40 people.
What: From 6-10pm visit Greater Goods for a unique holiday shopping experience! Browse pop-up shops from local artists, Knitatude, Milk and Honey for cozy knits and quirky home décor or purchase a beautiful Christmas bouquet from Antheia Floral. There will also be door prizes, a charity drive, hot chocolate and sweet treats for you to munch on while you shop around this beautiful boutique, located in the heart of Bridgland.
What: Market Collective is a well-known Calgary market that showcases hundreds of local artists, artisans, designers and musicians and works to support and promote them throughout the community. Join them for 4 weekends of holiday shopping, live music, delicious food, funky holiday – themed photo booths and unique performances from the Market Collective Holiday Choir.
Where: Chinese Cultural Centre – 197 1st Street SW
When: Every weekend between November 25 to December 18
What: Enjoy over 250 vendors in the indoor comfort of the Spruce Meadows Riding Hall, Equi-Plex Gallery on the Green, Reindeer Alley, and Candy Cane Lane. From imported items around the world to hand-crafted gifts the International Christmas Market brings you stress-free shopping and a place to unwind with friends to soak up the festive atmosphere.
Where: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW
When: Every weekend between November 18 to December 4
What: Get in the holiday spirit by listening to carolers sing some of your favourite Christmas tunes, while consuming a Canadian classic, cabane sucre (frozen maple syrup) and shopping pop up market vendors and more!
Where: Calgary Farmers Market – 510 77 Avenue SE
When: Every weekend from November 18 to December 11
Get creative this holiday season and add a personal touch to your gifts or traditional Christmas decor. Choose from a variety of unique workshops and learn how to make your own Gingerbread Houses, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, gift tags, ornaments and other crafty holiday options.
What: Looking to do something new for date night? Take this cooking class at the Interactive Culinary Centre and work together to create a three-course meal that will later be pair with 3 very carefully chosen wines. You even get to keep the apron!
Where: Interactive Culinary Centre – #103 227 10th Street NW
What: Experience the magic of Christmas past in this enchanting holiday event. Try your luck at gingerbread cookie decorating (worst case you just eat a cookie and a pile of colourful icing), get your photo take in the vintage photo parlour, visit jolly old Saint Nick, take a wagon ride around the park or see a live Christmas Play in the Canmore Opera House – there is something for the whole family to enjoy!
Where: Heritage Park – 1900 Heritage Drive SW
When: Weekends from November 19 to December 18
Cost: General (15+) $10.75, Senior (65+) $8.50, Youth (7-14) $6.75, Children (3-6) $5.50 and 2 under – free
Breakfast with Santa
What:See Santa stop by for breakfast. Begins at 9am and there will be
pancakes, bacon, eggs and fresh fruit. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Call 403-288-2616 or stop by the SSCA office for more information.
What: Wine and macarons is a combination you can’t go wrong with! Take a trip to France for an evening and enjoy tasting 4 French wine’s, unique to their regions, paired with tasty traditional French macarons and become and expert at wine and food pairing.
What: Escape the city for this unique opportunity to spend Christmas or New Years on the slopes and exploring after hours. You will begin the night in the Whitehorn Lodge enjoying drinks, appetizers and live music. Then you will get the explore the hill as you make your way down to the Sitzmark Lounge, where you will find a feast, live entertainment and drinks galore!
When: December 25 and 31
Where: Lake Louise Ski Resort – 1 Whitehorn Road
Cost: Adult (13+) $79, Children (6-12) $52, Kids (1-5) FREE
What: This Calgarian holiday tradition continues to live on year after year! Stay warm by dressing in layers and consuming delicious hot chocolate, as you roam through the 200 beautiful light displays, such as the all time favorite, ‘lovers lane’, and other unique light shows set up throughout the Calgary Zoo.
Where: The Calgary Zoo – 210 St. George’s Drive NE
When: November 25 to January 8 Nightly from 6 to 9 pm
What: Help celebrate the 30 th annual Festival of Lights and come see 300,000 LED lights in a colourful 3km free holiday showcase. The most remarkable thing about this light show is that it is entirely put together by a team of volunteers and draws over 56,000 visitors per day. Now that’s the true meaning of Christmas – go yyc!
What: The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies works to preserve and promote the unique history and culture of the Rocky Mountains. Bring the whole family to this event and discover the distinct past of our mountainous backyard, while enjoying carols, crafts, baked goods and of course a visit from Santa Clause himself!
What: For the 18th consecutive year everyone’s favorite holiday train will be travelling from coast to coast to 150 different Canadian cities. Come support the Calgary Foodbank by bringing a healthy and nutritious food item to the show and see Country music star Dallas Smith, The Odds and Jonathan Roy light up the night on a stage in a modified boxcar!
Where: Anderson C-Train Station – South C-train parking lot
What: Hop aboard the magical Polar Express and head to the North Pole to see Santa! You will receive hot chocolate and cookies on your journey along with caroling and holiday entertainment. Following the protocol in the movie guests are encouraged to wear their PJ’s and each child will receive a sleigh bell from Santa – to those who believe!
Where: Aspen Crossing – Highway #24 Mossleigh
When: November 25 until Christmas Eve
Cost: Economy Seating $57, First Class Seating $65, Coach Class Seating $75, Dome Class Seating $75
What: Ever since the Oval was build in 1988 for the Calgary Olympics it has become a family tradition to skate the oval during the winter months. Not only are you indoors, so bundling up is not a worry, but they provide fun family inspired events to continue to keep the tradition alive. Join them on December 23rd and enjoy hot chocolate, Christmas music and other exciting festivities as you race your friends and family around loop.
Where: The Olympic Oval – 2500 University Drive NW
When: Friday, December 23
Cost: $2 with a food donation to the Calgary Food Bank
What: This American electronic trio just released their debut album, Blood, Sweat and 3 Years, featuring collaborations with Nelly, Christina Perri, Busta Rhymes, B.o.B, Neon Hitch and more! See them light up the Marquee Stage on December 2.
Where: Marquee Beer Market and Stage – 4630 Macleod Trail South
What: This proudly Canadian alternative rock band was formed in 2012 and is known for their explosive and energetic live shows. Check out their sophomore album, Touch, that was released in September and prepare yourself for a night you’ll never forget!
What: The Festival Orchestra is bringing a piece of the most romantic city in the world to Calgary, in their iconic performance celebrating festive music and holiday favourites straight from the French capital.
Where: Knox United Church – 506 4th Street SW
When: Saturday, December 3
Cost: $25 General, $20 Seniors (65+) + Students, $15 Children (12 and under)
What: Not only are you in for a great show from this talented Canadian indie rock band, but you will also be supporting a good cause. They have teamed up with Plus 1 and as a result, $1 from your ticket will be donated to the Native Youth Sexual Network.
What: The Funk Hunters are putting the soul back into electronic and dance music in this unique performance, featuring a technical display of creative collaboration between 4 turntables. This DJ duo has successfully played for international audiences at Burning Man, Wakarusa and Shambhala – so they will not disappoint!
What: With their music, The Eagles have managed to touch the hearts of every generation. Sing along to your favourite hit’s and allow yourself to be taken back experiencing the energy and the magic in this tribute to the timeless legacy The Eagles left behind.
Where: Deerfoot Inn & Casino – 1000, 11500 – 35 Street SE
What: Come ring in the New Year at Calgary’s original country honky tonk! Have a delicious Alberta Beef dinner with all the fixings and afterwards join the party with live entertainment, popcorn, cotton candy, a photo booth and a $1005 cash money balloon drop when the clock strikes 12. Where: Ranchmans Cookhouse and Dancehall – 9615 MacLeod Trail S
What: This New Year’s marks the beginning of Canada’s 150th Birthday! Join fur traders and Metis from Rocky Mountain House and celebrate like they would have 150 years ago, while learning what Parks Canada has in store for 2017. You can even get your photo taken in a traditional Parka!
What: Get a little fancy this New Years at the Banff Springs New Year’s Eve Gala! Grab your ball gowns and tuxedos and enjoy a four-course meal, live entertainment, dancing and a delicious midnight snack buffet. If you have kidlets between 6-12 be sure take them to their own New Year’s Party that begins at 8pm.
Where: The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – 405 Spray Avenue, Banff
What: If you have ever been to Banff for New Year’s festivities, you’ll know that they never do anything small – and this year being the 150th birthday is all the more reason to expand the celebration! All along Banff Avenue experience live street entertainment children's activities, games, warming shelters, interpretive programming, food booths and more, ending in a beautiful fireworks display at midnight.
Where: Banff Avenue From Buffalo Street to Wolf Street
What: For Canada’s 150th Birthday yyc is going all out! Enjoy a glow-in-the-dark dance party, kids activities, family skating on an illuminated Olympic Plaza, live ice carvings, fire spinning, an ice slide, live entertainment from the top Calgary DJs and a special performance by Calgary’s own Eve Hell and the Razors. It will be a New Years that you won’t want to miss!