Admittedly, I may be the only person in Calgary, born before cell phones, VCRs and Hotmail, who STILL believes in Santa Claus (although I hope that's not the case)! I am fully aware the short, round, jolly old man with the full white beard, who wears a bright red suit adorned with white fur and generously delivers gifts to children on Christmas Eve, isn't actually a real person. His story is borne from legend ... an extraordinary myth.
I know this make-believe character (whether you know him as Santa Claus, Saint Nikolaas, St. Nick, or Kris Kringle) doesn't REALLY live in the North Pole, or have a team of elves who help him make toys for all the deserving children around the world. I am also aware that this man does not have a team of flying reindeer with the names Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen. I just know that when I see the first Santa Claus sightings after Remembrance Day ... it makes me smile from ear to ear!
Regardless of the temperature outside, which typically drops well below zero in Calgary, the season brings a warmth and comfort that makes us all believe the world is a better place. The "idea" of Santa Claus brings so much joy, happiness and hope to millions of children around the world (even us "older" ones) as we remember what it's like to get excited about friends, family and adventures out in the snow. We get out of our heads for a little while, see the world in a different light, focus on the little things that make life "meaningful" and enjoy quality time with the people we ultimately love.
I believe Santa Claus is very much alive and well in the YYC this year ... spreading Christmas cheer and bringing loved ones together to celebrate the season!
GETTING INTO THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
If you're looking for ways to make this holiday season special, and are looking for new ways to get to know the city, I recommend some of my favourite destination locations and events (some I've been to and some I have on my list)!
CHRISTMAS MARKETS & CRAFT SHOWS
Since I was young, a Christmas tradition was handmade stocking stuffers, homemade cookies and squares, and LOTS of chocolate! The craft fairs and shows throughout the city (and in surrounding areas) are an incredible display of homegrown talent and artistry. Check out some of these amazing artist gatherings and places for great food, beverages, and music, too!
- Festival of Crafts
- Little Modern Market - Holiday Edition
- Marda Loop Christmas Market
- Market Collective "Cheer"
- Spruce Meadows Christmas Market
SANTA SIGHTINGS IN CALGARY
How many strollers, diaper bags, and toddlers can you fit in a 800 square foot space (including a humungous tree and an oversized velvet covered chair)? More than you could possibly imagine! But ... after making it through the long wait and managing to keep the fussy kids calm, the pictures are priceless and the memories are with you forever (even the silly pictures that will remain forever embarrassing for years to come)! You can find Santa and his trusty elves at the following locations in the city:
- Chinook Centre
- CrossIron Mills (at Bass Pro Shops)
- Deerfoot City
- Market Mall
- Marlborough Mall
- Northland Village Mall
- Southcentre Mall
- Sunridge Mall
- Westbrook Mall
THE SPARKLE & SPECTACLE OF CHRISTMAS
I can't help but think about the Griswold family when I think of the thousands of Christmas lights here in the city. Here you will find some of the most spectacular light displays that will truly take your breath away! Like the water show at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, these light and decor installations are truly spectacular! Check out some of the destinations for a late night drive or stroll in the city:
- 100 Christmas Trees in the CORE
- Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows
- Legacy Christmas Light Parade
- Lions Festival of Lights
- Zoolights - Calgary Zoo
MORE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES IN CALGARY
If you're looking to try something new and different here in the city, why not call a few friends (or hijack your family) and go on an adventure! Set a few hours aside to participate in the following activities that will make this particular Christmas extra special:
- Christmas in Kensington
- Color Me Mine (to personalize something for a friend or hide on your mantle)
- Lougheed House Christmas
- The Nutcracker - Alberta Ballet
- Paint Nite (to create something special to put up on your walls or give to someone you love)
- The POLAR EXPRESS at Aspen Crossing
- Reindeer at Symons Valley Ranch
Although this is a fairly comprehensive list of things to do in the city (which I have yet to cross off every single one), this is barely scratching the surface! In each pocket of the city you'll find craft shows, art exhibits, singers and dancers, and gatherings that bring people together. We live in an amazing city ... SO GET OFF YOUR BUTT and go enjoy everything that Calgary has to offer!
Finally ... I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this article and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas shared with friends, family and loved ones. All the best to you and yours in the coming year!