December is here folks and you know what that means. Yes! Christmas parties, holiday markets, live theatre galore, and so much more. Like Halloween, Calgary takes a whole month to revel in “the most wonderful time of the year.” What’s not to celebrate? We have snowflakes dancing in the air, peppermint hot chocolates to sip, and twinkle lights illuminating on the darkest of nights. Now that is something to look forward to. But there is more. Here is a list of good times that even, “little Saint Nick” is looking forward to.
International Christmas Market – November 17-19, November 24-26, December 1-3 – Spruce Meadows
A good place to get your Christmas shopping done and early to boot. A winter wonderland that is family friendly and filled with a treasure trove of holiday fun. Local businesses are serving up unique items, delicious foods, and homemade goodies that will bring joy to anyone who is lucky enough to get them as a gift. For the 18+ crowd, a three-course meal at their Long Table Dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. Each night has a international theme that also has a wonderful range of Canadian wines to showcase. No wonder they say that it is a perfect place for a date night with your sweetie especially when you have a hot cuppa and twinkle lights surrounding you. For Sunday, a High Tea is in order for anyone who loves to wile away a lovely afternoon with tasty teas and treats will warm you up.
Zoolights – November 17-January 7 – Calgary Zoo
If over a million Christmas lights does not bring you to the Calgary Zoo then the many adventures accompanying them will. In the Dorothy Harvey Gardens you will be immersed in some rentable glass snow-globe domes to take in the spectacular views of multi-coloured lights and flower figures. In the ENMAX Conservatory, you can attend a frozen ball with sparkling chandeliers, “snow” covered displays, and arctic animals. Watch the northern lights in the Prehistoric Park and learn the life span of the polar bear. You will trek through a boreal forest and witness something special that the Zoo has been promising us: Real life polar bears that live in the newly built Canadian Wilds.
If that is not enough, the zoo has a whole list of exciting events which can be found here.
Once Upon a Christmas – November 25- December 17 – Heritage Park
Looking for a little indoor/outdoor fun where you can look into many Christmases past? Heritage Park has this when you step into this wonderful time capsule. Truly history comes to life when you add some holiday magic, it just becomes more surreal. Start off with a festive holiday breakfast at the Wainwright Hotel or the Gunn’s Dairy Barn. You can start your day right with pastries, pancakes, and good old-fashioned scrambled eggs before traveling back into time. You can say, “Hello!” to jolly old Saint Nick, go on a reindeer scavenger hunt, or take in some arts and crafts time. Unique shopping can be found here and not just in their usual stores but at their Christmas market. There is so much to experience here from the model train display, carolers singing their hearts to us, and let’s not forget the carriage rides. A truly fun and possibly romantic way to view the park itself.
To see more go here.
A Christmas Carol – November 30 – December 31 – Max Bell Theatre (Arts Common)
Charles Dicken’s classic ghostly Christmas story is once again coming to Theatre Calgary. A combination of love, life, and redemption; the story of Ebenezer Scrooge is being brought to life before our eyes. Ebenezer Scrooge was a hard-hearted, penny-pinching sourpuss who only ever cared about his money and what it does for him alone. However, when a deceased friend visits him and warns him of the terrible afterlife waiting for him, he must now change his ways. But how? With the help of three spirits that will haunt him throughout different times of Christmas night. He remembers his painful past, sees both a joyful albeit heartbreaking present, and gets a glimpse into what could be a worse future than he could ever imagine. But is this enough to get him to change? Can he avoid this dark turn of events?
Only one way to find out!
Tinseltown: The Christmas Speakeasy – November 23 – December 30 – SunnyCider Bar & Kitchen
A hidden adventure full of Christmas spirit and alcoholic spirits as well. Forget happy hour, and come have some holly jolly delight in this festive pop-up bar. When you walk into the space you are greeted with fully decorated trees, twinkle lights, wreaths, ornaments, and yes even mistletoe. So, if you have a date in December this is the place to come. It is like having the North Pole magically appear in a small spot of our big city. Especially when you get to meet the big guy in red yourself and his elvish helpers. With some Christmas tunes in the air, presents that are present, and a menu of Christmas cocktails, you will see how the Grinch’s heart grows three times its size. Don’t worry if you are not a drinker because non-alcoholic options are also available.
Now, you can be naughty and nice in this event filled with holiday cheer.
Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss – December 3 – Scotiabank Saddledome
The hockey players who have big hearts are at it again. Every year for one night only, the Calgary Hitmen are asking fans are to bring new or gently used teddy bears to the big game. When the time comes, the audience will throw their teddy bears onto the ice to be collected for local children’s hospitals and charities. This year the Calgary Hitmen are taking on the Prince Albert Raiders. Both have a strong chance of winning since they both have acclaimed the same number of wins and losses as each other. In the past year alone with the games they have played against other teams have shown this and their skills. However, this time it comes with stuffed animals that go to the little boys and girls that need a holiday miracle more than most.
Come to the dome, bring your best stuffed toy, and make a small child’s wish come true.
Glow: Festival of Lights – December 7- December 31 – Nutrien Western Event Centre
This year we get to look forward to the theme: Santa’s Sleigh Adventure. What does this mean? It means Santa needs all of us to help him out of a jam. Jolly old Saint Nick has lost all of his reindeer and it is up to the public to find them in this illuminated maze of mystical lights and bright colours. Only the light garden holds the secrets but there is more to behold. Such as the Merry Makers Market where local artisans such as Calgary ChocoSweeats Factory, Glitzy Glam, and D’or Delights are highlighted for all to enjoy. Speaking of highlights, you don’t want to miss their amazing events and entertainment. Such as the talented musicians that will take over the stage or perhaps the character shows that will surprise us all with their tantalizing tales. Now this is normally a family friendly event but the 18+ crowd would not want to miss the Friday night dance parties. They are full of fun and you get a souvenir glow cup.
Find everything you need here.
An Elvis Christmas Special – December 11-12 – Stage West Theatre Restaurant
It is never Christmas until you hear Elvis’s crooning with his beautiful voice. As soon as you hear that man sing, “Blue Christmas,” it is like you are in love and floating in a sea of stars and snowflakes. Stagewest is doing a fitting tribute to the famous singer and his love for Christmas for only two nights. With the help of Matt Cage, the Casino Brothers Band, the Uptown Hornz, and an extra special guest Daphne Moens, this play is a reminiscence of 1968 Special with Elvis. If a person has ever seen this on any platform, you will be taken back to a time where Rock n’ Roll is the name of the game.
Those who have had the pleasure of visiting this marvellous dinner theatre will know that their buffet which consists of some appetizing appetizers all the way to delectable desserts is an incentive to itself to visit.
Spark After Dark: Greatest Hits – December 15 – Telus Spark Science Centre
All the best of Spark After Dark’s events of 2023 is rolling up into this one night. This is the grand finale that highlights all the best parts of the year’s 18+ themes in our favourite science museum. A little nostalgia for all that has happened this one year is promised to be relived. The fashionable technology of Fashion-Tech, the trembling of Fear, and the excitement of Arousal can be experienced all over again. The entire centre is open for adults only, a signature cocktail is being sold at their full-service bar, and dancing to the music performed by DJ SoniDef is what you can expect but there is more. You can see how to make wine the traditional way in large wooden barrels, see RO5IE the robot who can hold your drink for you, take in a show at the Infinity Dome and enjoy the fabulous games all night long without having to battle the young ones for it.
The Nutcracker Ballet – December 15-24 – Southern Jubilee Auditorium
Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece is one of the best shows to see during the holiday season. This is why it is played every year since it was created. Who can resist this magical tale of a young girl’s journey into the enchanting land where she meets the Nutcracker Prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Rat King? Armed with stunning sets, charming costumes, and dazzling dances of the 120 performers on the stage, this is a magnificent feast for the eyes. For the young and young-at-heart this fairytale will light up your soul and imagination like nothing else ever has before. So, to inspire yourself, your friends or family, you will want to get a seat at the Southern Jubilee posthaste.
Get your tickets here.
All month long we cheer on the red, green, and white. Not just because it’s the colour of candy canes but because this is the season when our hearts open and we shine even when we are suffering from the slings and arrows of life. This is a time of kindness, giving, and love whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa. So, you have to answer this one important question. Have you been naughty or nice this year? Either way, make sure that you had fun with it.