Christmas around Calgary

christmas events in calgary

One of the many things that I love about Christmas are all the fun family activities that are on to attend during this season. From crafts to critters, there is something each weekend to choose from and you’ll never run out of fun things to do!

Many of them are free, while some charge a small admission fee to get in. I love that many of them are also outside, which I think is a great way to get the kids outside and help the entire family enjoy winter! (cause let’s be honest sometimes winter is not so enjoyable). These events provide different ways for you to enjoy the holiday season, celebrating and demonstrating that there is more to Christmas than just gift giving – which I feel is important to teach the kids too.

5 Fun Christmas Events in Calgary

Every year we attend at least one but usually hit 2 or 3. Our top five holiday events in Calgary are:




Held at the Calgary Zoo, view 1.5 million Christmas lights displayed in all shapes and forms, from animals to flowers. From late November to early January from 6 – 9 pm, children will be awed with the array of lights throughout the zoo. There are other activities for the kids as well such as snowman bowling, hay jumping (our favorite), as well as fire pits throughout to stop and warm up for a while. Hot chocolate is available for purchase, or bring a thermos of your own. There is an entrance fee for this event but it’s well worth it.

CP Christmas Train

This beautifully lighted Christmas Train rolls across Canada making stops along the way to the North Pole. It is a child’s dream come true as you watch the train pull into the station. There are crafts for the kids as well as an outdoor concert. We went for the first time a few years ago (yes it was minus 30 and yes I think we are crazy) and my kids absolutely loved it! In fact it is the only thing that they are asking specifically to go to again this year (I guess the weather did not deter them). It is a free event and a very magical experience – check the website for your local schedule (attendees are encouraged to bring a non perishable food donation).

Once Upon a Christmas

IMG_0771 - Version 2Enjoy an old fashioned Christmas at Heritage Park where you can enjoy a wagon ride, snow painting and a visit with Santa Claus. Shop the Heirloom Christmas Shoppe with unique finds at old fashioned prices! Children’s mazes, crafts and even a kids only store (that’s right no adults allowed) so your little ones can shop for you for Christmas. Our favorite here is the Christmas Train display, where you walk into a magical wonderland of model trains, zooming through Christmas villages and displays. Oh it is a sight to behold! My kids can spend hours in there watching the trains go round and round. Runs the 4 weekends before Christmas; there is paid admission to the park but you can find coupons at Safeway or First Calgary for discount on admission, which make it quite reasonable.

Christmas at the Hive


Making beeswax candles

This event takes you out of Calgary into the outlying areas of Okotoks. Hosted by the Chinook Honey Company this free family event includes making your own beeswax candles, honey toffee, visits with the donkey, a scavenger hunt and mead tasting. My kids love making candles in the snow and of course tasting all the honey! There is also a viewing area inside where kids can see the inner workings of an actual hive and try to find the queen bee. Just a short drive out of Calgary, this is a wonderful event that runs on Saturdays in early December starting at 10 am in a beautiful rural setting.

Lion’s Festival of Lights

Largest free drive by Christmas lights display, this 115,000 LED light display lights up Confederation Park. Set up completely by volunteers this light display will wow and awe everyone young and old. It can be seen along 14 St. NW, just south of 24 Ave.

These are just a few of our favorite Christmas event in Calgary (and around). There are many others that we have not been to before that I would like to check out, like Christmas in Kensington, Christmas Skate at the Olympic Oval (Calgary Olympic Park), Christmas in Canmore; all a variety of crafts, music and activities and each a little bit different (Canmore is showing outdoor movies – super fun!). And new this year The Polar Express Train Ride! Can we say I am super excited about this one?

There are also a number of community skates and events. Sadly, we do not have a Santa Claus Parade, which I really think should be reinstituted. Yes we used to have one, and I’ve been, way back before I had kids, my husband and I went. But apparently there has not been one in Calgary since 2007. Cochrane, Banff, Airdrie, and High River all have one, I think it’s time for Calgary to have one.

christmas events in calgaryBut even without a Santa Claus parade, there are tons of activities to choose from. From outdoor events to theater – I love it! Because each weekend in December it is not what will we do this weekend? It is which event should we go to this weekend (thankfully some of these events are on during the week as well).

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t run ourselves ragged getting to all the Christmas events. I am not a big believer in getting it all in until we are exhausted and never want to see anything Christmas again. But it is nice to have the choice and variety to go out and enjoy our beautiful city, the season and our wonderful winter weather, creating more wonderful memories for years to come (even when it is -30C, cause yes we did that one year and that is the one that my children remember).

What are some favorite holiday/ Christmas events that you attend?

How many Christmas Carols do you know?

Christmas-Carols-Origin-and-History-1Happy December 1st! Ok it is the second but it is the official kick off of the holiday season!

I get very excited for December 1st as usually I work hard in November to get gifts bought, cards written and baking done so that the kids and I can enjoy all the festive holiday events that are in December. There seems to be a multitude of them from Christmas parties to community events around the city. We never seem to be able to hit them all, though we try!, but at best hit at least one new one (we’re going to the Christmas train this year for the first time!) as well as attending some of our favorites; such as Zoolights and Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park.

We also have a little tradition at our house called December 1st gifts, which is something my Dad started years ago, which is just a small inexpensive gift that is given to enjoy the festivities a little more. Like a holiday coffee, festive candles, or a Santa hat. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also on December 1st we start a Christmas Carol Challenge at our house, which Matthew and I began 2 years ago. Starting December 1st we sing a different Christmas Carol each day until Christmas. The challenge is not sing the same song twice (and singing by a different artist same sone doesn’t count – ha ha); so though easy at first eventually requires some thought.

It’s fun though because we end up expanding our holiday song repetoire, looking up Christmas songs and learning the words. We even learn the words to some of the songs we think we know! Because as I am sure you can relate, there are some Christmas songs out there that are popular and well known but we only know the first verse.

So we print out the words for everybody and sing the song together and it’s lots of fun. We pick the same time each day to do it. The past couple of years being when we walked to the bus for school, but since Matthew walks on his own to school now, we have decided to do it at dinnertime. The twins love it too as they love singing and learning lots of songs lately.

Each year I invite my readers to join us in the challenge to see how many different Christmas Carols we can find. It is also a great way to share and learn some new songs we may not know. Plus you’ll have a blast doing it!

So I invite you to join the challenge with us this year and post each day on the Momma on the Move Facebook page what carol you sang that day. Hope to ‘see’ you there!

Happy Carolling!


Christmas Crafts for Kids

Over the past month the little ‘elves’ have been busy at our house making their Christmas crafts. Experimenting with googley eyes, glitter and cotton balls, they have created some wonderful wintery and Christmas crafts to add to the decor of our home.

Matthew’s Christmas Reindeer

Since Christmas is a holiday that most of us begin celebrating early in December (and for some even sooner in November -or the die hards right after Halloween :); it allows us lots of time to get ready and enjoy the season. Whether it be through games, activities, Christmas shopping and events or crafts, there is lots to do.

Luke and Chloe have really been enjoying making crafts this year and our nanny has created some wonderful crafts for them to make that use their developing skills and aid in their development of motor skills and creativity.

Chloe is very diligent and careful when she makes her crafts and though Luke is careful too, he tends to be a little ‘freer’ with his creations. One of the first crafts they made was a Santa Claus handprint, with googley eyes and sparkles that can be strung to hang on the tree as a Christmas ornament.

Another one was a snowman on a glittery snowy background complete with hat and scarf. They enjoyed them both and were very easy for them to do.

Santa Handprint Ornament

red foam sheet

white foam sheet

googley eyes

gold and red glitter glue



Trace child’s hand on red foam sheet and again on white foam sheet. Cut both pieces out (depending on the age of the child adult may need to cut out the handprints). Cut the white handprint in half and place on bottom half of red handprint to create beard. Cut out a white strip long enough to go across the top of the red hand between the thumb and the rest of the hand to make fur on hat. Cut out small circle for pom pom on hat and place at the end of the red thumb. Glue on googley eyes. Cut out small mouth out of red foam, Decorate with red and gold glitter glue. Put a string through the top of the red foam hand to  hang on tree.

Wintery Snowman

black, orange, green and white construction paper

silver glitter glue

pom poms




Cut one sheet of black construction paper in half. Cut 3 circles, the same size out of the white construction paper. Cut a small square out of the green construction paper (for hat). Glue the white circles sitting one on top of the other to build snowman on one of the halves of black construction paper. Glue on googley eyes on top circle to make face, add orange triangle from construction paper for nose. Use glitter glue to draw mouth. Use pieces of ribbon to make scarf for snowman and for brim on hat. Glue on. Use silver glitter glue on background of snowman (on black construction paper) to create ‘snow’. Add child’s name, if desired on right hand side of snowman.

Chloe gluing her bear puppet

When we went to Heritage Park for their Once Upon a Christmas event they had some great crafts there too. Matthew made a clothespin reindeer and the twins each made a puppet out of an old Christmas card. This was a really simple idea where they traced a pattern onto an old Christmas card (they chose a bear), then we cut it out and glued it onto a popsicle stick. Not only is this a great use for old Christmas cards but Luke and Chloe loved it! They picked the card they wanted to use and after I helped with the cutting, they glued on the stick. Chloe got a little over zealous and decided to eat the glue, not sure why kids do that, I never did – but she finished her craft in the end.

There are a plethora of creative ideas out there for Christmas crafts for all ages such as paperplate snowmen, handprint wreaths and reindeer puppets. The ideas are endless and it is easy to create your own crafts as well. Here are some of my favorite links for more Christmas crafts and ideas.

Make your own snowglobe

Pipecleaner Snowflakes

Enchanted Learning

DLTK crafts

Enjoy and happy crafting as you enjoy this holiday season!

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Once Upon a Christmas

One of the things that I love about Christmas is all the activities and events that surround the holiday. There are craft fairs, carol sings, Christmas parties and many community events that you can choose to participate in to celebrate the season. There is something for everyone, depending on what you like to do.

One of my favorite events is Heritage Park’s Once Upon a Christmas, that runs every weekend starting late November for the 4 weeks prior to Christmas. This is a wonderful family event that includes all kinds of activities for kids and adults alike. They offer kids crafts, visits with Santa, carolers, plays, wagon rides, mazes and a ‘Kids Only’ Store where parents are not allowed to enter with their children. This year they added firepits placed throughout the park, which are great places to cozy up and have a chat and warm up by the fire.

There is so much to do there that it is easy to spend the day. The challenge is that most of it is outside so you have to be to dress for the weather and be prepared to be outside. So for me I always choose a mild weekend to go with the kids. It is much more enjoyable for everyone and we can stay longer and enjoy what the park has to offer.

As this turned out to be a mild weekend, I decided to pack up the kids Sunday morning and head out. Though it was a bit of a challenge to get us all out the door (and I would have prefered to have left half an hour earlier than we did), we made it there with a packed lunch, hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, dressed and ready to go.

Luke and Chloe love Heritage Park so I had no trouble convincing them to go, in fact they chatted about it the day before hoping to see the “choo choo train”, which only runs in the summertime, but I told them we would ‘check’. Matthew enjoys the park as well and though he had mixed feelings about going easily went out the door.

I always hit the wagon rides first, as the line for that tends to get long as the day goes on. Plus Chloe loves horseys, so was looking forward to it. Chloe was beaming and smiling and pointing things out, while Luke was just taking it all in.

Matthew's Christmas Reindeer

We ventured to the kids crafts where Matthew made a clothespin reindeer and Luke and Chloe made little puppets out of old Christmas cards and popsicle sticks. This area is really well set up, as there is a selection of craft ‘kits’ that the kids can choose from to make their craft and there are lots of volunteers on hand to help the kids out. For the younger children they have coloring sheets and the puppets as options.

Matthew really wanted to hit the Kids Only Store as he went for the first time last year and really enjoyed the freedom of shopping on his own and spending some money 🙂 We also saw Santa and went to the petting zoo.

Luke petting the sheep

The highlight for me though was definitely the Christmas Model Railway, housed in the pool hall. It is one of those as soon as you walk in you go “Wow”; as it really is a Christmas wonderland. There are at least 3 or 4 trains going around this beautiful Christmas scene, villages and houses, lights and trees. I love it because I have always loved trains, and the magical Christmas scenes. I have no idea why I love trains so much, but I think they are cool, especially the model railways that go around and around all by themselves. Which is interesting cause that’s all it does is go around and around- but I could watch it for hours. The railway was really well done; on loan from some private collectors, it was a beautiful site.

The Christmas Railway

We chowed down on peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks on a bench outside Gunn’s Dairy Barn and enjoyed homemade hot chocolate, made with fresh almond milk (very easy to make your own), cacao, and spices, as well as homemade gingerbread cookies (sugar and dairy free of course). It was a bright sunny day with clear blue skies, a perfect wintery day, with the air of Christmas all around.

After walking and exploring we headed home, tired but satiated and satisfied with our Christmas adventures. Who knows where we’ll go next?