November 14, 2017 12:00 pm
Updated: December 4, 2017 9:19 am

Christmas 2017 in Calgary: 15 family-friendly events to check out

WATCH: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Online reporter Melissa Gilligan joins Kris Laudien with details on some of the family-friendly events happening around Calgary in 2017.


Get into the Christmas spirit by enjoying a few of the following family-friendly events happening around Calgary this year.

CP Holiday Train

The CP Holiday Train is North America’s longest rolling food bank fundraiser. The program launched in 1999 and has since raised more than $13 million and four million pounds of food for communities along CP’s routes in Canada and the United States. Performers this year include Colin James, Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Band.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 9 from 6:45 -7:45 p.m.

WHERE: The Anderson CTrain Station – south parking lot

COST: Free – but attendees are encouraged to bring either a non-perishable food item or cash donation for the Calgary Food Bank.

WEBSITE: Holiday Train

Lions’ Festival of Lights

Organizers say the Lions’ Festival of Lights is Calgary’s largest free drive-by Christmas lights display. It’s comprised of over 300,000 lights. The festival is 99 per cent green, with over 300,000 LED light bulbs and almost three kilometres of power chords.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 2 until Friday, Jan. 8, from 6 p.m. until midnight

WHERE: Confederation Park. The display can be viewed on 14 Street N.W., north of 24 Avenue N.W.

COST: Free

WEBSITE: Lions Festival of Lights

International Christmas Market

Shop potential holiday presents from over 300 vendors at this event, which takes place over three different weekends.

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 17 until Sunday, Nov. 19, Friday, Nov. 24 until Sunday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Dec. 1 until Sunday, Dec. 3.

WHERE: Spruce Meadows

COST: $10

WEBSITE: Spruce Meadows

Christmas at Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows uses a quarter of a million lights to blanket their entire facility. Hop into your car and drive the two-kilometre route through the grounds to see their display, which includes Tournament Lane, The Courtyard, Traffic Circle, the Nations Flag Park, Congress Hall, Riders Chapel and the Pond.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 9 until Sunday, Jan. 7, between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., excluding Dec. 25.

WHERE: Spruce Meadows

COST: Free

WEBSITE: Spruce Meadows

Christmas at Spruce Meadows

Global News

The Nutcracker

A staple among numerous ballet companies, the Nutcracker tells the tale of Klara and her Nutcracker as they battle against the evil Rat Tsar and his army of mice, set to Tchaikovsky’s score.

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 15 until Sunday, Dec. 17 and Thursday, Dec. 21 until Sunday, Dec. 24.

WHERE: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

COST: $25 – $145

WEBSITE: Alberta Ballet

A Charlie Brown Christmas

The classic animated television special comes to life in this stage adaptation in which Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang discover the true meaning of Christmas

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 30 until Sunday, Dec. 17.

WHERE: Vertigo Studio Theatre

COST: $23 plus

WEBSITE: Storybook Theatre

A Christmas Carol

Watch Charles Dickens’ classic novel come to life at Theatre Calgary. The play tells the story of how a bitter Ebenezer Scrooge learns to open his heart and embrace the spirit of Christmas.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 23 until Friday, Dec. 24.

WHERE: Theatre Calgary

COST: $57 and up

WEBSITE: Theatre Calgary

The Santaland Diaries

Based on the book by David Sedaris, The Santaland Diaries tells the story of an out-of-work and broke actor in New York City who takes a job as an elf in Macy’s Santaland Village. The theatre describes the play as “a Christmas comedy for the little bit of humbug in all of us.”

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 27 until Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017

WHERE: Lunchbox Theatre

COST: $26 for adults and $21 for students and seniors

WEBSITE: Lunchbox Theatre

His name is Crumpet and he’ll tell you the truth about Santaland.


Head to the Calgary Zoo to view their annual Christmas light display. Over 1.5 million twinkling lights line pathways and twist around trees, forming animals, shapes and flashing to music. Dress warmly because this event is outside – but if you get cold there are fire pits to keep you warm, as well as hot chocolate. Entrance only accessible from North Gate.

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 24 until Saturday, Jan. 6 (excluding Dec. 25) from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. (gates closes at 8:30 p.m.)

WHERE: The Calgary Zoo

COST: General Admission (16+) $14.95 and child (3 to 15) $11.95, parking is $10

WEBSITE: Calgary Zoo

Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo

Facebook / Calgary Zoo

Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park

Take a trip to Heritage Park to experience Christmas from years gone by. You can enjoy a wagon ride with a loved-one or sing Christmas carols with the kids. Other activities include gingerbread cookie decorating, snow painting and a vintage photo parlor.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 25 – Dec. 17, 9:30 am to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22 and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23.

WHERE: Heritage Park

COST: General admission (16+) – $10.95, seniors (65+) – $8.75, youth (7 – 15) – $6.95, children (3 – 6) – $5.95, ages 2 and under – free.

WEBSITE: Heritage Park

Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park in Calgary.

Global News

Festival of Crafts

According to festival organizers, the Festival of Crafts is one of Canada’s biggest holiday handcrafted shopping events. For four days, the BMO Centre at Stampede Park transforms into a marketplace featuring over 250 Canadian artists, artisans, and designers.

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 7 until Sunday, Dec. 10.

WHERE: BMO Centre, Stampede Park

COST: Tickets are $7 for adults or free for those ages 17 and under

WEBSITE: Festival of Crafts

A Perfectly Frank Christmas

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra performs music made famous by Frank Sinatra, including some holiday favourites.

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

WHERE: River Park Church

COST: $21 to $28

WEBSITE: Calgary Jazz Orchestra

Santa Shuffle fun run & elf walk

Take part in a one-kilometre walk or a five-kilometre fun run. Money raised from the 2017 Santa Shuffle goes toward the Salvation Army to help support their programs and services. In 2016, the event had over 700 participants.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Eau Claire Market

COST: Registration fees vary from $20 for a single youth to $225 for a group of 10.

WEBSITE: Santa Shuffle

Have Yourself a Merry Little Murder

It’s murder mystery dinner theatre with a Christmas twist. During this interactive event, guests meet ‘Santa and Mrs. Claws’ who are preparing for visitors at the North Pole Enterprise amusement park.

WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 20 until Friday, Dec. 22

WHERE: Fort Calgary

COST: $85

WEBSITE: Fort Calgary

Dashing through the Glow

Grab your mittens and headlamps and join this five-kilometre walk and fun run through the Christmas lights at Spruce Meadows.

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 8

WHERE: Spruce Meadows

COST: $45 plus

WEBSITE: Running Room

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