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25 Things to Do This Holiday Season Under $30

1. Christmas at Spruce Meadows
When: December 5 – January 4, 5 pm – 10 pm
Where: Spruce Meadows
Cost: Free!
Take a scenic drive through the Spruce Meadows tournament track to view gorgeous displays comprised of millions of lights and Christmas decorations.
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2. Spruce Meadows Christmas Market
When: November 16-18, 23 – 25, 30 – Dec 2
Where: Spruce Meadows
Cost: $10 online in advance or $12 at the gate; Seniors 65+ and children 12 and under are free
A reindeer petting zoo, elaborate light displays, hot chocolate and international food kiosks, fire pits, live music, and holiday entertainment make a visit to this shopping market fun for everyone. It gets very busy, but holiday spirit is always in the air.
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3. Zoolights
When: November 23 – January 5, 6 pm – 9 pm (gate closes at 8:30 pm)
Where: Calgary Zoo
Cost: $19.95 General Admission; $14.95 Child (3-15 years old)
See some unique animals at the Calgary Zoo—ones made out of coloured lights! Bundle up and stroll the elaborate outdoor light displays while enjoying ice skating, a visit with Santa, children’s activities, hot chocolate, and carols. It’s an annual city tradition!
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4. Once Upon a Christmas
When: November 24 – December 23 (Weekends only, 9:30 am – 4 pm)
Where: Heritage Park Historical Village
Cost: $11 Adult; $8.85 Senior; $7.00 Youth (7-14); $5.70 Child (3-6)
Nothing feels more traditional than a day at Heritage Park for Christmas and Hanukkah crafts and activities, gift shopping, antique photos, horse-drawn sleigh rides, costumed carollers, a Christmas play, and homemade treats.

If you’re just in the mood for some shopping and a festive treat, you can stay in the plaza area without paying admission to get into the park. The plaza area features the Haskayne Mercantile Block: five stores full of unique gifts—there are antiques and collectables, stocking stuffers, candy, kitchenware, hostess gifts, toys, jewellery, decorations, and much more—as well as Railway Cafe that sells baked goods, hot drinks, and light lunch fare. The plaza area is open 10 am – 5 pm daily.
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5. A Merry Market Collective/MC10 Holiday
When: December 7-9, 14-16th
Where: BMO Centre hall C (20 roundup way SW)
Cost: $5 Adult (admission for all weekend); Free admission for children
This isn’t your typical craft fair! Here, Calgary’s crafty DIY crowd sells handmade, Pinterest-perfect and Instagram-worthy creations. Shop for gift ideas and holiday decor, and take a break to enjoy food trucks, pop-up cafes, gift wrapping, and Market Collective’s popular photo booth.
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6. Light Up the Square
When: Saturday, December 1, 3 pm – 6 pm
Where: East Village
Cost: Free!
As the sun sets around 5 pm, the beautiful Christmas tree in East Village neighbourhood will be lit. Before the tree-lighting enjoy hot cider and treats, a visit from Santa, and wagon rides through the neighbourhood.
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7. A Christmas Carol
When: December 1, 2 pm
Where: Theatre Calgary
Cost: Pay-What-You-Can (This date and time only)
This performance of the beloved Christmas play is a by-donation show, making it accessible for everyone. Tickets are limited and available only at the door starting at 1 pm; line up early for your best shot at tickets.
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8. Norquay Cool2Carpool Days

When: December 19, 2018, January 9, February 13, March 13, & April 10, 2019
Norquay has revamped Toonie Days this year, as the popularity of the program meant they had problems with parking. This year, they are running Cool2Carpool Days.

How it works:

Skiers and boarders are encouraged to ride-share to the hill. Split the $50 per carload price between each passenger for your own individual lift ticket (each passenger must be legally seated!). So, round up your family and friends alike, fill the station wagon, mini van or coach to save big this winter! (Each carload purchase must be made in a single transaction; sorry, no splitting payments.) And, if you choose to take the shuttle from Banff, you’ll ski for only $10/pp.
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9. Lions Festival of Lights
When: December 1 – January 8, 6 pm – 12 am
Where: 14 St NW, South of 24th Ave
Cost: Free!
Where: Calgary’s beautiful Confederation Park is covered in light displays that are free to view. Walk or drive by.
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10. It’s Wonderful of Life
When: November 26 – December 22, 12 pm (additional 6 pm show on Thursdays and Fridays; no show on Sunday)
Where: Lunchbox Theatre
Cost: $25 Adult; $20 Senior; $20 Student
Back by popular demand! It’s Christmas Eve and the unimaginable has happened. George Bailey is on the edge of ruin; thousands of dollars are lost and with seemingly no way to save the old Bailey Savings & Loan, George wonders if the world would be better off had he never lived? With the help of a rookie angel and a cast of charming characters, It’s a Wonderful Life reminds us that we are each precious and important. Conceived as a live 1940s radio broadcast, this classic holiday story of love and redemption will be brought to life on stage by our Betty Mitchell Award-winning ensemble.
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11. Lougheed House Christmas
When: November 16 – December 30
Where: Lougheed House
Cost: varies
Celebrate a very vintage Christmas with a tour of this beautiful historic home built in 1891. Get ready to snap some photos—is decked out in beautiful vintage Christmas decorations and lights. Visit on weekends for seasonal activities, crafts for children, and live Christmas music. Breakfast with Santa, A Christmas Carol, Holiday Centrepiece workshop, Holly Jolly Christmas Caper
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12. Christmas Cooking Classes
When: December 10, 11, 17, & 18, 12 pm – 1 pm
Where: ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen
Cost: $25
These lunch-and-learn sessions include lunch, a demonstration on how to make the dish, and take-home recipes.

Warming Winter Soups (Thursday, December 13 & Friday, December 14) $25
Nothing warms the belly and the spirit on a cold Alberta winter day like a bowl of homemade soup. Learn how to make roasted cauliflower and tortilla chicken soups as well as your own rustic rosemary ciabatta buns for dipping. We’ll even do a fun spin on soup for a surprise dessert.

Hosting A Holiday Brunch (Thursday, December 20 & Friday, December 21) $25
Join us for a decadent holiday brunch! In this class our Chef Instructors will teach you all you need to know to host the perfect holiday brunch, complete with a pannettone French toast with orange scented blueberry sauce and mascarpone cheese, a homemade turkey sausage benedict, and a classic holiday stolen with marzipan and candied fruit.

December Classes - ATCO Park Learning Centre

Non-Traditional Christmas (Friday, December 14) $25
Wanting to switch things up this Christmas? Join us for some alternative ideas for the big meal. We’ll teach you how to prepare a special occasion-worthy braised roast beef and potato gratin that are also suitable to serve any time of the year.

Holiday Favourites (Friday, December 21) $25
This time of year, nothing beats a traditional turkey dinner with all of the fixin’s. Join us for a special meal, with turkey, stuffing, gravy and some special vegetable sides and a holiday-worthy dessert. You’ll walk away stuffed — and full of ideas to make your own holiday dinner extra special.
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13. Santa Shreds for Free
When: December 25
Where: Mt. Norquay
Cost: Free!
Planning to hit the slopes at Norquay on Christmas Day? Don your best Santa suit (or dress like Mrs. Claus, an elf or reindeer – but it needs to be the whole suit, not just a hat!), and you can ski for free!
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14. Family Christmas Movies
When: Saturday’s at 11am
Where: Cineplex Theatres throughout Calgary (Chinook Centre, Sunridge Spectrum, Crowfoot Crossing, CrossIron Mills)
Cost: $2.99
Family favourite movies continue every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. It's a fun and affordable way to enjoy time with your family and friends! A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting WE Charity. Enjoy some classic holiday films on the big screen that will put you in the Christmas spirit with laughter and whimsy. Movies in this series are: Puppy Star Christmas, Home Alone, Elf, Polar Express 3D More Info:

15. Granary Road Christmas

When: Fridays – Sundays from November 30 – December 23, 2018
Fridays – 11 am – 7 pm; Saturdays & Sundays – 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Address: Granary Road Market 226066 112th St West MD of Foothills, AB
Come down to Granary Road for the Christmas Market, running from November 30 until December 23, 2018. You’ll enjoy fun holiday activities for the whole family including fire pits, marshmallow roasting, hot chocolate, wagon rides, ice skating, snowman building, carolers, & more.
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16. Candy Cane Kids
When: December 8
Time: 12-1:15pm
Admission: $9-14
Address: Occasional Notes at INKubator
Candy Cane Kids! The sugar - coated, interactive Holiday Musical sprinkled with singing and dancing has added a show !
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17. Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
When: December 8, 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Where: ​Anderson C-Train Station, south C-Train parking lot
Cost: Free! Food and cash donations for community food banks are encouraged.
The Holiday Train is coming through town! The 1,000 foot long train has 14 rail cars brightly decorated with hundreds of thousands of lights and holiday designs.When the train stops, watch a performance of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs by country singer Kelly Prescott, Terri Clark, Sierra Noble. Can’t make it to the Calgary show? The train stops in Airdrie and numerous other towns in Southern Alberta, too.
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18. Free Holiday Movies
When: Saturdays
Where: Plaza Theatre 1133 Kensington Road NW
Cost: Free!
Going to the movies to enjoy the holiday releases can get expensive, especially when you’re bringing the entire family. At Kensington, you can get a break from those expensive movie ticket costs and get in the holiday spirit every Saturday afternoon during Christmas.

Doors open at 3:00 p.m. Movie starts at 3:30 p.m. Get there early, because the movies are sure to be popular and you’re going to want to get a great seat to enjoy the show.

Saturday, Dec. 3 – Miracle on 34th Street (This film is by donation to the Calgary Poppy Fund and Veterans Food Bank)
Saturday, Dec. 10 – Elf (Presented by our generous sponsor, Servus Credit Union)
Saturday, Dec. 17 – The Holiday
Saturday, Dec. 24 – Home Alone

19. Lugeapalooza!
When: December 7-8 1
Where: WinSport
Times: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Admission: $10.00
Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park will play host to the third stop on the World Cup luge circuit as more than 100 athletes, representing more than 20 countries, will blast down the Olympic Track at speeds of up to 130 km/h in men and women singles, doubles and team relay races.

Friday December 7th 2018
Activities: Free hot chocolate and popcorn (for the first 150 people), concession, luge racing

Saturday December 8th, 2018

Passport Activities: Santa, Cookie decorating, Balloon Artist, Airbrush, Try Luge.
Free Activities: Fire pits, sleigh ride to and from daylodge, music from artist Matt Blais during the break between races and after the competition

More info:

20. Servus Toonie Skate
When: Monday nights 6-8pm
Where: Olympic Oval
Cost: $2 per person, Servus Members free! Food Bank items appreciated.

Every Monday night you can glide on what is known as the fastest ice in the world—it’s used by many athletes for training. Don’t have your own skates? You can rent skates and a helmet
For the most festive time to skate, check out the Christmas Skate on December 21 from 2 pm – 8 pm and glide along to festive music.
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21. Splash and Swim City of Calgary

Want a weekend swim on the cheap? Select Calgary Parks and Recreation pools offer $2 admission for adults and $1 admission for seniors and kids every Sunday. Check the Parks and Rec website for specifics on discounted swim times and participating pools. If nothing else, you can warm up in the hot tub!

When: Sundays
Where: Select Calgary Parks and Recreation pools

Last Call – $3 admission.

  • Southland Leisure Centre
    Mondays and Wednesdays 9 – 10 pm
  • Village Square Leisure Centre
    Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 9 – 10 pm

Terrific Tuesdays – 50% off regular admission.

  • Southland Leisure Centre
    Tuesdays 4 – 10 pm (public skating excluded; lane pool is closed 4:30 – 7 pm for swim lessons)

Wednesdays – 50% off regular admission.

  • Village Square Leisure Centre
    Wednesdays: 4 – 10 pm

Saturday Night Swim – 50% off regular admission

  • Village Square Leisure Centre
    Saturdays: 7 – 10 pm

22. Calgary Carol Festival
When: December 1-3, 7-9 pm
Where: Knox United Church
Cost: Free! Non-perishable food item donations are accepted.
Get into the Christmas spirit and sing along with Calgary choirs as they perform festive holiday songs.
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23. Scandinavian Christmas Concert
When: December 7, 7 pm
Where: Scandinavian Centre
Cost: $10 Adult; Children are free admission
Experience Nordic festivities just like Anna and Elsa in Frozen with live music, dance performances, and Scandinavian Christmas treats.
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24. Movies at the Meadows

When: Friday, December 7, 2018
Time: Gates open at 6 pm and the movie will start at 7 pm.
Where: Spruce Meadows Equi-Plex 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, Calgary, AB
Admission: Ticket prices are $20/carload ($15/carload if purchased in advance online).

Head to Spruce Meadows on December 7, 2018, for a night of Christmas fun and the launch of the beautiful Christmas lights! The grounds will be closed for movie attendees to exclusively walk through to view the lights, enjoy entertainment for the kiddies, purchase food, and watch a movie, Home Alone, from the indoor warmth of the Equi-Plex.


25. Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss
When: December 9, 2:00 pm
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome
Cost: $4.99 adults, $9.99 youth

When the Calgary Hitmen score their first goal of the game against the Kamloops Blazers hundreds of teddy bears will be thrown from the stands onto the ice, and they’ll then be donated to charity. Bring a stuffed animal to the game to donate.