The holiday season is a time for fun and frolicking in the snow, reveling in the concept of peace on earth, and partaking in the spirit of giving. Those looking for Christmas events in Calgary this year to embrace all the warm and fuzzies that the holidays can bring, should check out these three annual festivities that simply foster everything that Christmas is about.
Heritage Park Once Upon a Christmas
Once Upon a Christmas is by far one of the most cherished holiday traditions in Calgary, and the monthlong event transports visitors into an old-fashioned town. A picturesque Christmas scene through and through, The Heritage Park Once Upon a Christmas Village is open from late November to late December, making it the ideal place to spend a day indulging in holiday magic. There are literally dozens of engaging activities and exhibitions to enjoy on weekends, with favorites including:
- Wagon rides replete with caroling and culminating with a visit to Santa.
- Visiting with the park's ornately wardrobed holiday horses.
- Participating in crafts such as decorating gingerbread cookies and making decorations.
- Watching live plays within the cozy Canmore Opera House.
- Checking out Snooker Hall's impressive Christmas train on display.
- Taking photos with Saint Nick at Gasoline Alley inside a vintage truck.
The Once Upon a Christmas festivities are the ideal place to get some holiday shopping accomplished for both adults and children. Inside Haskayne Mercantile Block within this makeshift community, there are one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts awaiting new homes. Children are welcome to stop by the mercantile's ‘Kids Only Section,' where volunteers supervise youngsters seeking to secretly pick out special gifts for family and friends.
Santa Claus Parade Day in Banff
Residents and visitors alike revel in the idea of opening the holiday season with the appropriate festive cheer at the Santa Claus Parade Day in Banff. This year's parade launches on November 16th, and it is the premier Christmas kick-off within the Canadian Rockies. The afternoon festivities include face painting, craft making, carnival games, balloon twisting and visits with Santa for photos. Anybody that is familiar with this area has probably spent some time at Lake Louise and its surrounding areas. Check out this wonderfully put together Lake Louise hiking guide.
Be prepared for things to elevate to stellar levels at dusk, when Santa Claus heads down the alley and the amazing light show comes to life. The procession will include floats, street entertainers, and marching bands. Following the parade, attendees can head to the Cascade Gardens and enjoy the glorious Carols by Candlelight concert. All of this fun is free to the community, so consider it an early Christmas gift!
Lougheed House Christmas
While the Lougheed House is open for tours year round, the holidays see this homestead museum transform into an enchanting respite for Lougheed House Christmas. From mid November through the end of the year, this impressive mansion dons one of the region's most stunning holiday light displays inside and out. However, the good old-fashioned holiday festivities don't end there.
Throughout the holiday season, Lougheed House will host numerous events including musical performances, plays, craft sessions, and there will also be cookies and treats to share with Santa. Be sure to check out this year's exciting calendar, which is filled with numerous special programs that have limited space such as the Holly Jolly Christmas Escape Caper.
A nostalgic holiday tradition for many families, seeing a live performance of The Nutcracker ballet is an excellent way to celebrate the season. Watch as Clara and the Nutcracker take on the evil mice and then dance gayly with the lovely Sugar Plum Fairy. Set to the vibrant motion of Tchaikovsky classics, some of the region's finest dancers will perform several weekends during December at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.
With so many glorious ways to celebrate and ring in the holiday season, Calgary and Christmas festivities go hand in hand.