11 FREE Christmas dates to plan for the 2018 holiday season

Dec 5 2018, 10:27 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Dania Gravelle

Christmas truly is the best time of the year. Lights are twinkling, people are singing, and everyone has a serious case of the feel-goods.

Between hot-chocolate, gift-wrapping, and purchasing presents, things can get a little expensive. Here are some things you can do for free around Calgary during the holidays.

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Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows

Head out to Spruce Meadows to see a quarter of a million lights. Drive through the 2 km stretch and experience the magic. Pack a thermos and enjoy hot chocolate on the way- or stop for hot chocolate at Founders Plaza.

When: December 9 to January 6  (Excluding December 25)
Address: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW

Lace up your skates


Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

Grab a pair of skates, put on your warm clothes and hit one of the many outdoor rinks in Calgary for a great afternoon (or evening). You can head to a community rink, or to the ever famous Olympic Plaza which has lights, and numerous vendors close by so you can grab something warm when you are done.

Click here for a list of city rinks that are open.


Embrace your inner-kid again and grab a crazy carpet. There’s nothing like hurtling down a hill that’s covered in snow to get the adrenaline going. Luckily, The city has a number of City-Maintained hills to choose from. Just remember to be safe.

Volunteer at the food bank

There is nothing better than doing something that makes you feel good with someone who makes you feel good. Grab your date and suggest volunteering that Calgary Food Bank. It’s a great way to give back, all while saving money — and it’s pretty fun too!

Build a Snowman

Nothing gets you into the Christmas spirit quite like building a snowman. Dress warm, grab some supplies, and find out who can build the best one! Maybe it will even turn into a snowball fight (which is equally as fun!)

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is rolling through cities across Canada as we speak. Bring a food donation and watch Dallas Smith perform while the train rolls through Calgary on December 8

Where: Anderson C-Train Station – South C-train parking lot
When: Saturday, December 8, 2018, arriving at 6:45 pm

Christmas in Kensington Movie Series

What: Head down to the Christmas in Kensington Market to celebrate this magical time of year! Every Saturday is a free Christmas movie at the Plaza Theatre, and Sundays there are Santa Selfies from 1 to 3 pm. It doesn’t get more Christmassy then that!

When: Doors open at 3 pm and the movie starts at 3:30 pm

  • Saturday, December 8: National Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation
  • Saturday, December 15: No movie, but horse and wagon rides with free hot chocolate
  • Saturday, December 22: Elf

Check out Lake Louise

There’s something romantic about the mountains, and going skating on a frozen lake is no different. Grab that special someone and head up to Lake Louise to enjoy the fresh mountain air.

Make sure you go early in order to get a parking spot, as it gets extremely busy, and call ahead to ensure that the lake is skateable before getting your hopes up.

Walk around Banff

Nothing says Romance and Christmas quite like Banff. Only an hour and a half from Calgary (depending on your driving habits) there is a ton to see here — for free!

Spend the day poking around town, taking in local wildlife, and simply exploring. There are tons of local coffee shops to choose from as well!

Do some Christmas Baking

Baking Christmas cookies/Shutterstock

Baking Christmas cookies/Shutterstock

While baking isn’t technically “Free” You would be surprised at how much you can cook with what you can find around the kitchen!

Find someone you like, a recipe that sounds good, and get to work at the oven! Afterward, you can decorate the cookies and — even better — eat them together!

Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

Get in true Christmas Spirit and cuddle up for some intense Christmas-movie-watching. Grab a big cuddly blanket, someone who you enjoy and get ready for a day of doing nothing. Netflix has their “Holiday Selection” out, however, there are also a ton of Christmas movies on every channel right now — you can also watch the ever famous Holiday Log!

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