15 Fun Things to Do for Families in Calgary in December

Kayla Young December 2, 2021
Things to Do in Calgary in December - SavvyMom

Calgary in December 2021 has all kinds of wonderful events in store for Calgarians looking for ways to celebrate the spirit of the season. Whether you’re in the mood to shop local at a Christmas Market, want to take in some theatre, sports, or twinkling lights, are on the search for Santa, or want to make memories to last a lifetime, there are plenty of fun activities in and around YYC to mark on your calendar this month!

(Psssst. Order take out for your holiday dinner this year and you’ll have time for even more fun!)

15 Fun Things for Families in Calgary in December

The Polar Express Train Ride | aspencrossing.com

December 3-5, 10-12 & 17-24

If you’re looking for a truly magical way to celebrate the holiday season in Calgary in December, put on your coziest pajamas and hop aboard The Polar Express train ride hosted by Aspen Crossing. ​With your ticket, you’ll get a one hour train ride, complete with hot chocolate in a ceramic Polar Express collector’s mug, a delicious cookie, and your first gift of Christmas – a silver bell. On your ride, enjoy the sounds of the Polar Express soundtrack, entertainment from many of the characters from the movie, a reading of The Polar Express book, and a meet and greet with Santa upon arrival at the North Pole!

Authentically Indigenous Craft Show | authenticallyindig.com

December 11 & 12

Authentically Indigenous is a grassroots market created to support local Indigenous creativity, arts, and culture. Vendors at the Authentically Indigenous Craft Show are artists, creators and makers from the Calgary and Treaty areas 7, 6 and 8, and will have unique, handcrafted goods, crafts, art, jewelry, beadwork and more up for sale!

Little Modern Market | littlemodernmarket.com

December 11 & 18

Can’t get enough Christmas Markets? Little Modern Market has a fantastic collection of local vendors selling all kinds of goodies, including clothing, accessories, jewelry, home and decor items, children and baby gear, paper goods, health and beauty treats, art, food and beverage items, and even gifts for your pets! Check out the website to see which vendors you can expect to find at the market each weekend!

Market Collective | marketcollective.ca

December 10-12 and 17-19

Shopping local is more important than ever, and what better way to support small businesses than checking out one of Calgary’s favourite Christmas markets? Market Collective will be taking place over 2 weekends in December. In addition to over 150 local vendors, guests can also enjoy live music, interactive workshops, galleries, food, and beverages. Admission is $6 for the weekend, and kids 12 and under are free!

Okotoks Film Festival | oktoksfilmfestival.ca

Live Screening: December 17; Online Streaming: December 17 – 31

Is your family looking for some new favourite films to snuggle up and watch this holiday season? If you’ve seen the classics more times than you can count and you’re looking for some new movies to add to your repertoire, the Okotoks Film Festival has 10 shorts for you to view live in-theatre, and then stream on demand at home! Tickets start at $10.

Grinchmas at the Calgary Farmer’s Market | calgaryfarmersmarket.ca

December 18-19 at 10am

The green guy with the heart two sizes two small will be slithering and slunking around the Calgary Farmer’s Market on December 18th and 19th! Stock up on one of a kind treats and treasures from local vendors, and get a photo with the one and only Grinch while you’re at it. Just be sure to keep an eye on your Roast Beast!

Sleigh Rides at Horsin’ Around | horsinaround.ca

December 18, 19, 24, and 26

This is your chance to hear those sleigh bells jingling up close and in person! Horsin’ Around is offering 20 minute rides in a two horse open sleigh that’ll give you incredible views of the Calgary skyline, and memories to last through the festive season and beyond. When your ride is through, warm up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate before visiting the petting farm where you can get your snuggles in with goats, sheep, donkeys, and calves. Tickets are $15 per person, and kids under 2 ride free!

A Christmas to Remember at Granary Road | granaryroad.com

Weekends through December 19

Make your way through Granary Road’s market decorated with Christmas trees and beautiful lights while humming along to Christmas carols playing overhead. Stop at the local vendor stalls for sweet and savoury treats and special stocking stuffers that are guaranteed to thrill everyone on your list. When your shopping is done, hop on a wagon ride with a candy cane hot chocolate to keep you warm, or sign up for s’more making by the fire! Santa Claus will be on site ready for professionally-snapped photos and even a very special breakfast! For an extra special photo op, be sure to register for alpaca photos, and then head over to Santa’s Workshop to make magical reindeer food with Mrs. Claus and gingerbread houses with the elves! Registration is required for activities – visit Granary Road’s website for more information!

Banff Gondola | banffjaspercollection.com

Christmas Events – Until December 24
Nightrise – December 2 – March 12, 2022

It wouldn’t be Calgary in December without a drive to Banff! And there are two magical ways to enjoy the wonder of the Banff Gondola this month. First, hop on the gondola and prepare to find Christmas magic at the top, where a winter wonderland complete with Santa Claus, ice sculptures, cookie decorating, craft creating, Christmas carolers, and holiday movies await. As an added bonus, kids receive one free admission with every paid adult admission if you visit before noon!

For another awe-inducing way to enjoy the top of the mountain as you step off of the gondola, you’ve gotta check out Nightrise. Nightrise is an immersive evening for the senses with vibrant lighting, multimedia effects, video projections and music. This breathtaking experience “honours the magic of these sacred mountains — a place of gathering for many, including the Îethkabi, the Stoney Nakoda People, since time immemorial.”

Zoolights | calgaryzoo.ca

Until January 2, 2022

2021 marks the 25th anniversary of Calgary Zoo’s Zoolights celebration. This year’s Zoolights will feature new themed areas and activities such as the Nutcracker in the ENMAX Conservatory, an all new “Tunnel of Light”, a holiday Zoo Market, a one of a kind “Dinos in the Dark” experience and more! Don’t forget to check out classic activities like the skating rink, fire pits, and Rival Axe throwing. For guests with sensory sensitivities, Sensory Bags with headphones, fidget spinners, and other tools to improve their Zoolights experience can be rented for free. The zoo has also added more on park signage ahead of flashing or moving lights and sounds so no one is caught off guard.

Calgary Flames Games | nhl.com

Got hockey fans in the family? Home games for the Flames this month will see them facing off against the Carolina Hurricanes (December 9), Boston Bruins (December 11), Toronto Maple Leafs (December 16), Columbus Blue Jackets (December 18), Anaheim Ducks (December 21), Seattle Kraken (December 23), Edmonton Oilers (December 27) and Winnipeg Jets (December 31). For cheaper ticket prices, be sure to check out Calgary Co-Op.

Calgary Hitmen Games | hitmenhockey.com

The Calgary Hitmen have plenty of home games lined up for December, but you definitely won’t want to miss the Teddy Bear Toss on December 4th at 2:00! Bring a stuffed toy and be prepared to throw it on the ice when the Hitmen score their first goal. 2021’s Teddy Bear Toss brought in over 17,000 bears to be donated to over 70 local agencies!

Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park | heritagepark.ca

Weekends in December

There is tons of festive fun to be had at Heritage Park during their Once Upon a Christmas celebration. Enjoy a delicious meal at their holiday breakfast buffet, join in on Christmas caroling and visits with Santa, warm up by a crackling fire while sipping hot chocolate and enjoying fresh baking, and make a special craft to take home! Take in a holiday performance and view the historical exhibits that are open and decorated for the season. There’s even a kids’ only store where kiddos can pick out the perfect gift for their parents – no peeking allowed! Heritage Park will also be hosting their Once Upon a Christmas Market on event days from 10 am to 4 pm.

Lions Festival of Lights | lionsfestivaloflights.ca

Nightly from 6 pm to Midnight

Calgary in December means the Lions Festival of Lights, which is back for its 35th year, bringing a walkable encounter with over 300,000 lights to Calgarians once again. 2020 found a scaled down version of the usual festival, in order to ensure the safety of viewers passing by. 2021 has restored the lights to their former glory, so be sure to bundle up and get down to Confederation Park for this very special display. Entrance is by donation.

Photos with Santa

If you’ve been on the hunt to find the man in red for holiday photos, below is a list of shopping centres that will be booking Santa photos for 2021. Be sure to book yours in advance, as slots are limited and fill up quickly!

What special activities does your family plan to attend in Calgary in December? Are there any missing from our list? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

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